How Awe and Wonder Heals – Ep #064 Fabiana Fondevila, Author & Transformation Teacher

Modern day living has us hyper focused on the material world. We’re encouraged to value how we look, our bodies, our possessions, what’s trending on social media etc. Over time this pre-occupation with the physical and mundane drains our life force. We are left feeling disillusioned and uninspired with ourselves and even life itself.

What’s missing is not readily found in yet another diet, cleanse, supplement or exercise routine. The remedy for the mundane and busyness is connecting with that which gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

Today’s special guest is Fabiana Fondevila a visionary writer, speaker and teacher whose passion and expertise is guiding people to step into their personal power by re-awakening to the mystery of life. For over a decade, she has led year-long courses challenging people to delve deep into their inner lives to rebuild a life ofpeace and connection. We discuss her latest book, “Where Wonder Lives. Practices for Cultivating the Sacred in Your Daily Life”.” Fabiana shares a beautiful map of our inner journey of healing and transformnation drawing insights from science, psychology, philosophy and myth for enlivening our lives.

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Podcast Transcript

0 (1s):
Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie.

Christine Okezie (22s):
Hello, and welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast. I’m Christine Okezie. . Thanks so much for listening. So living in these extraordinary times, so many of us are seeking a means to anchor in a space where we can feel more meaning, purpose and connection. Today. Special guest is Fabiana Fondevila, visionary writer, speaker and teacher whose passion and expertise is guiding people to step into their personal power by reawakening to the mystery of life. For over a decade, she has led year long courses, challenging people to delve deep into their inner lives, to rebuild a life of peace and connection.

Christine Okezie (1m 5s):
On today’s show, we discuss her latest book: Where Wonder Lives – Practices for Cultivating the Sacred In Your Daily Life.” Fabiana draws insights from science, psychology, philosophy, myth, and the arts, and shows us practical ways to overcome this hyper-focus on the material and a mundane thereby creating a life filled with spontaneity and lasting vitality. I can’t wait for you to listen in on this heartfelt conversation. And if you do enjoy it, I’d be grateful if you’d leave a rating and review. And of course, if you haven’t hit that subscribe button, please do so it helps me keep the podcast growing.

Christine Okezie (1m 47s):
Thanks so much again for listening and enjoy the episode. Hi Fabiana. Thanks so much for being here and welcome to the podcast today.

Fabiana Fondevila (1m 56s):
Thank you, Christine. So happy to be here.

Christine Okezie (1m 58s):
So I’d love if we could please start out. What inspired you to write this beautiful book of yours?

Fabiana Fondevila (2m 5s):
Well, actually what happened is that I teach these yearly courses, your long courses, and this was a course that I taught three years ago. And we went through all these different stations in a path that I, that I thought up to help us alive in our lives and get in touch with awe and wonder. And after the course was done, it was such a rich experience for us, all that I decided to make it into a book

Christine Okezie (2m 30s):
That very nice. Thank you. And what inspired you to believe or I’d want to share that we have a need for more all in wonder in our lives?

Fabiana Fondevila (2m 41s):
Well, I think we have, we all need to all as adults because as children, it comes pretty naturally to us. Everything is new. Everything causes us to look again and, and it gives us curiosity and wanting to know more, but as we grow older and especially after going through, which is not the best place to stoke are all curious. We tend to take things for granted and to feel like, you know, this again, seen it all done it all. So in a way, adults need to re spark their all. And at this time in humanity at this time for humanity, because we’re living through it, even though the book was written pre pandemic.

Fabiana Fondevila (3m 24s):
Now I can say that post pandemic or during the pandemic for, in many countries, it’s still going on. We are living such remote retired lives. So apart from each other and from the things that make sense to us, and matter to us that I think is especially urgent. Now that we reconnect to this sense of all which we can go into and explain what this emotion is about. One to that. Of course, please. Okay. So all is the perception of something that is so vast either in number or quality or characteristic that it forces us to look again, to rethink, to, to, to change our mental patterns.

Fabiana Fondevila (4m 5s):
Because from the first, the, the, from the first time we look at it, sorry, my English, I get stuck a little bit, sometimes that, for example, let’s give it a concrete example. You’re looking at a starry sky in the night and that huge, unfair unfathomable universe seems too much for you to understand with your small mind itself. So a different part of you has to come on lines, so to speak, and you have to think again. And what that is really is you are in touch. You’re suddenly thrown in, into mystery. You’re in touch with that vibrating pulsating mystery that is at the heart of life. Whether they’re looking at a starry sky or looking at somebody, do something incredibly kind or reading an amazing poem or so many different aspects of life, sort of herbalists into this other dimension.

Fabiana Fondevila (4m 55s):
So this happens spontaneously a lot of the time, and some of us are more prone than others, but it happens to everyone sometimes it’s, you know, for some people it’s just a once in a while kind of thing. And for others, it’s more of a daily occurrence, but if it happens spontaneously, not what the book is saying is, or proposing is we don’t need to wait for it to happen. We can cause it to happen. We can actively seek it out because that brings us to life. We, it, it, it makes it reminds us what this is all about, that this is not just about going through the motions and paying our taxes and, and, you know, making money to live and whatnot, but really getting to the juice of life.

Fabiana Fondevila (5m 34s):
So all is the word. The word I use in the title of the book is wonder, but it’s very related to all the only differences that all also has a fearful aspect side to it. So for example, you know, a thunderstorm, if you are outside and the night, a thunderstorm or a tsunami or an earthquake, some natural phenomenon like that, or great acts of evil, those are all filled moments, but they have a negative or, or actually I would say a difficult component, which is fear metabolism, whereas wonder is only attached to two nice field things to two positive emotions.

Fabiana Fondevila (6m 15s):
Those have to do with facing the unknown, facing the mystery. And they’re both vital emotions and equally important. So

Christine Okezie (6m 24s):
Beautiful. Thank you. Yes. I like the way that you say causes us to look again, it’s such a beautiful phrase allergy. I’ve never heard it language quite that way, but causing us to look again is a pretty, you know, divine invitation in and of itself, you know, cause we believe we know everything, you know, and it’s that which gets in the way of that, what the Buddhist would call, you know, beginner’s mind. Right. I think we’re talking a little bit about that. And I also, yes, go ahead.

Fabiana Fondevila (6m 51s):
No, no, no, you, you want to try something else.

Christine Okezie (6m 54s):
Oh, and I just loved the way that you, you also help us understand that, you know, it’s that mystery of life. I think some, we all have that we all, you know, maybe some of us at more conscious levels than others, but we’re all seeking. Why are we all here? You know, what is this really all about? Right. And, and so, you know, the, you lay out a very beautiful map, you know, to explore these, this inner world of mystery of life. I’d love to dive into this inward journey and give a sense of how we can maybe create, I think what you’re saying, this spontaneity, this joy inside. So the first step along our way might be something called the jungle.

Christine Okezie (7m 38s):
And you talk about our modern life sort of disconnection with nature herself. Maybe we could go into why that’s an important place to begin.

Fabiana Fondevila (7m 48s):
Sure. Well basically, because we are nature, nature is not someplace to visit. There’s a wonderful line by Gary Snyder that says nature is not a place to visit. It is home, but we don’t feel that it is home. We feel, as you say, very disconnected. And also we tend to think that nature is some huge, amazing landscape, like a mountain or a river or a mountain seascape or anything. That’s like a very wild and very majestic. But in truth, the birds are outside our windows, the ones that visit our gardens and our homes and the weeds that grow in the pavement and the sun and the moment that we all get to see every day, they are the most mere expression of nature.

Fabiana Fondevila (8m 34s):
We find outside ourselves, because then again, our bodies are nature. Even if we were in a, in a cell, in a cell block, in a prison, we would not be able to be apart from nature because we would be feeling the temperature in the air and the light that comes in, if there’s even a small window and the processes in our own body and our own emotions and all of this is nature. So I think one way towards getting back in touch with the sense of being alive, because sometimes we think, and this is something wonderful that Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist said. He said, people think that it’s all about finding the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really after. I think we’re after the sense or the feeling of being alive, the rapture of being alive and nature is one of the most direct paths to that rapture.

Fabiana Fondevila (9m 22s):
At least it is for me. And I think it’s for all of us when we really surrender to it. So I proposed several very easy, simple, direct paths in that chapter, which are, for example, getting in touch with the birds in your area, which are the only wild animals that we come into touch with. The strange thing of birds is wild, but they are in fact wild. You know, they go about their business pretty much as if we weren’t there. So birds. And one thing that we could say about birds that drew my interest at first was when I started reading about them is that they’re not random creatures. We tend to think that the birds that you walk by on your blog every day are different birds that are just randomly passing by, but they’re not, they’re always the same birds.

Fabiana Fondevila (10m 8s):
They are their neighbors. Yes. That I found very fascinating when I first came across that.

Christine Okezie (10m 15s):
Wow, that’s amazing. And it’s amazing. I’m going to share a little personal story that really, you know what you’re saying really resonates. So my mom who has a lives in a condo, she has a little balcony for the past year, all throughout the pandemic, there, all the seasons that we have here, she has befriended this family of birds and they come on time. You can almost set a watch by them. She sets out food, she sets out water and know she calls them. They come, you know, and she’s able to observe, you know, as you just said, this very, actually very conscious behavior, not random at all, you know, but at what’s most striking, I think to your point is that it has infused her pandemic existence, essentially with so much joy and so much connection.

Christine Okezie (10m 60s):
I mean, just almost playfulness, you know, in that way. So I, it makes, yeah, what you’re saying completely resonates. So it’s

Fabiana Fondevila (11m 7s):
Beautiful, beautiful story. And then I’m so glad for her because nothing like there’s nothing like having relationships of any kind with animals other than humans, it really rounds out our daily existence. If it gives it a different depth, I think, and of course a likeness. So birds are one way and there’s so much to be explored and known about birds. Like how they, their days, aren’t, we, again, we tend to think they’re just out doing random things, but no, there’s certain things that they do at certain times of the days and a certain kind of song that they produce in the before know the one chorus before the sun comes up and then at the end of the day. So just getting into that rhythm of there’s a, there’s a wonderful author, John Young, who studies birds war.

Fabiana Fondevila (11m 52s):
I learned a lot from, and he says, first thing in the morning, I go out into the world to hear the news of the day or the day. And of course the news of the day is what are the birds doing? What are the trains doing? So that’s a different kind of news and it’s so much more nutritious to the soul,

Christine Okezie (12m 7s):
I would say. So I would say so. And I liked the way that you point that out is, is we are looking to feed our soul essentially, you know, defeat to feed that more sensitive or that more subtle part of, of our nature, right? Oh, Fabiana. The second step on your territory map is the garden. And I love this one because doing what the work that I do, it’s all about coming into that sensory awareness of the body, you know, that becomes such a gateway to healing, to health, to wellbeing. So please share what’s in the garden for us.

Fabiana Fondevila (12m 41s):
Well, as you said, it’s got to do with embodying our existence. We have this tendency that’s gone worse and worse than even though these new possibilities such as zoom calls are so amazing at the same time, they tend to also bring us into our heads so much like we’re talking heads because it seems like nobody has a body because all of all of eternity has taken us to an extreme of living in our, in our minds and our heads and forgetting the rest of us. And there’s a lot of life to be gained by going back to the five senses. There’s one sense that’s sort of over done or hyper atrophied, I think is the word, which is sight.

Fabiana Fondevila (13m 23s):
We tend to use the, and it’s very linked to rationality and to thinking. So there’s one experience. For example, in the book that I, with my students, which was very revealing, which is going into a room first, by looking at it, just looking around and then we use blind posts to go into the same room and sort of move around it by touch. And then we saw what was different when you walked around looking at it. And when you looked around touching it, and everybody said, things like intimacy, immediacy, connection, you know, just feeling the wood on the table and the, for in a carpet or whatever, whatever textures and smells. Because of course that one sentence other than sight tends to also make you more aware of the other senses because you don’t use them so much.

Fabiana Fondevila (14m 9s):
So they come serve in harmony. So when you can’t see, you will naturally tend to be more aware of sounds and smells and textures. So all of these experiences or adventures of the census that I propose in that chapter have to do with waking up the body and this most animal way of being in the world that we have, we forgotten we’re animals. We really think that we’re little robots living in our minds, and this has to be an embodied experience to be rich and full and everything it can be.

Christine Okezie (14m 39s):
I love that. Yeah. And you give you, you use, actually, I believe it’s in this chapter. When you go into the individual senses, you use an exercise that I often use in my practice, which is the raisin, you know, in the, of eating that reason with our full scope of senses. Right. And how it brings us so deeply into that, again, that more, a theoric part of what we really are, you know, ironic. Right. I’ve always thought that was an interesting irony. You bring this up in your work that here we have this physical vessel, but it really is such an instrument to getting in touch with so much more beyond the physical.

Fabiana Fondevila (15m 19s):
So exactly. In fact, I think I quote in the book a line that I love by James Hillman, who says we have lost the reaction of the heart to what the census bring in. So that connection is what it’s all about. It’s not being in the sense. It’s just as if we were, you know, sensing machines, it’s the connection between what the census, the information or the stimulus that comes from the census and what that does to the heart. You know, what does that sunlight on your skin, making your heart feel? What is it telling you about the warmth of living? What is it telling you about your need for connection, that smell that comes by, that reminds you of your grandmother’s perfume or, you know, the lilacs in your childhood garden that there’s worlds in each of these, since Sorial impressions, they’re not empty, they’re full and they’re evocative.

Fabiana Fondevila (16m 8s):
So when you sort of tune in again to what your senses are, are, are bringing you life becomes multi-dimensional, it’s not flat anymore. It’s a lived dimensional experience. And when we are alive in it to enjoy it and feel every bit of it. And I, I do think that’s what it’s all about. Absolutely.

Christine Okezie (16m 32s):
Absolutely. Oh my gosh. Thank you. The river imagination, and I love the quotes. You, you sprinkled them throughout the book where readers should know you draw from science, social science, philosophy poets. One of your quotes in there that captures is I think, from Einstein, which is, which talks about imagination. So please share kind of, you know, again where we are in modern living and what we’re trying to provide an antidote to in this book.

Fabiana Fondevila (17m 1s):
Right? Well, imagination has been very discredited, I guess, because it’s really people related to childhood and what is not true, there is a sense of when you say this is imaginary it’s, as if you were saying it’s illusory, it’s an illusion. It’s not true, very much the same. That happens with myths, but we can talk about that later. So imagination really is a way of knowing it’s a difference. It’s not, not, not an irrational, but a trans rational way of knowing of perceiving. And we are all endowed with it, not just children. And in fact, this is what’s behind all our creativity, all our creations. There is nothing that is surrounding us right now, where any of us are that it was not first imagined by somebody can be what it was imagined.

Fabiana Fondevila (17m 45s):
It was not yet there. So it’s a way of bringing into the world. That’s one part of it, but it’s also a way of connecting to what does not have physical form, and maybe we’ll never have physical form. And that does not mean it is less real, for example, love, which is the most real thing in our lives. And the most important thing is not a physical thing. We can touch. We can express it by touch, via touch, but it’s intangible in nature. And yet it’s the most important thing. Imagination is really the capacity to, to conjure up images, whether they are, they exist in the real world or they exist somewhere else, or you saw them once in your life, or you’ll never see them, you can conjure up an image. So I can say right now, giraffe, and you will control the draft.

Fabiana Fondevila (18m 27s):
But if I say roommate, you can also come up with a mermaid in your mind, even though it doesn’t exist in the, in the real world. So we imagine it’s going to have that desk capacity of flight. It can soar, it can take us to all kinds of experiences that may have a correlation in, in the physical world or not, but they’re equally real and important. And so imagination is a way towards creativity and we need to reinstate its importance because both in science, in science and philosophy and art, it’s the starting point. And we need to be able to even re-imagine our lines from a more fertile point of view.

Fabiana Fondevila (19m 10s):
If, if, well, there are sort of moving also into the next chapter.

Christine Okezie (19m 13s):
The answer is right. Yes. Yes. You can continue. You want to move into the mountain top or, okay.

Fabiana Fondevila (19m 19s):
There’s a nice bridge there. The other, so when I came to mountaintop, is it, it’s the visionary peak where the mountain talk is talks about our capacity to see with mythic eyes and also another word for it is the mythic imagination. That’s why I say there’s a, there’s a point of union between these two. Yeah. So this, this is mainly about how, what kinds of stories we tell ourselves about our lives about the world? So the world of myth, which is what we’re talking about is something that has accompanied mankind from the beginning. That’s our stories, the stories we told ourselves or each other around a campfire to, to help us understand what life was about, to help us understand what it was to live a good life, what it was to be a heroic person or over a noble person, what it was to have a friend or a partner, what it was to live, to die, how to face death.

Fabiana Fondevila (20m 12s):
All of these things were inscribed in these myths. We told each other. Now we don’t have monolithic universal myths anymore. Now we have personal myths because we missed up we’re express your religions or through, you know, in, in traditional cultures, perhaps there was one or two stories, a myth of origin that everybody shared, and it was the same for all. Now we don’t have that anymore. This gives us more freedom, but it also makes us more, feel less rooted, less pained by a story that is helping along. So we need to create our personal myths. Now, when the chapter does, is propose different ways to go about first uncovering, what is the myth you’re living now?

Fabiana Fondevila (20m 57s):
Because even though we may not think of it consciously, we are telling a story by the way we live. And maybe that’s an old story. Maybe it’s a small, maybe it’s a too small for you. Maybe it’s a story that you inherited from your parents or grandparents, and it’s no longer true for you. So we need to sort of make it transparent and say, okay, this is a stretch, a story about loss, or maybe I don’t want to live a story about loss anymore. Maybe I can, I have lived that story. And now I want to create a story about life and loving, and connection and dreaming to new Heights. So it’s an invitation to create stories that are relevant and alive and worth living.

Christine Okezie (21m 35s):
Oh, thank you. This is so beautiful. And, and this again is a big part of, of, you know, some of the practices that I work with, which is really looking at those self limiting beliefs, those, you know, kind of false narratives or unhealthy attitudes that we, you know, sometimes aren’t even aware of, but they’re playing out in our behaviors. They’re playing out in our biology, you know, and, and all of it. So thank you. And in fact, you have some really just so the reader knows that the end of each chapter in each territory, you provide such beautiful kind of practical exercises. So in this one for the mountain top, I was particularly drawn to the questions that the inquiry, the self inquiry that you invite, some of us to look at, you know, when we look at, we’re asking ourselves about our own journey, we’re asking what new myths as you put it want to be born.

Christine Okezie (22m 25s):
So really, really powerful place.

Fabiana Fondevila (22m 29s):
It’s a, it’s a spiritual path in itself in great. And we don’t usually take it. It’s not, it’s not very popular one, but it’s one that always, there’s a beautiful phrase. That’s quoted by Sam keen. I’m not sure it’s his originally. I don’t think it is, but he says always, always a beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question and questions really can open us up, you know, just asking, is this the story I want to live? It’s a story representing who I really am at the stage of my life that can open a whole world of changes. So, so yes, self inquiry is one of those practices that I propose in, in, in the mountain top.

Fabiana Fondevila (23m 13s):
And, and there are others, there are many ways going about finding what is the myth we’re living and what is the one we really want to be living like one that we wanted to give birth to. Right,

Christine Okezie (23m 22s):
Right. A choice to be more conscious, I think is the, is the big, an overriding invitation here. And to allow ourselves to, you know, peel away, you know, with, with compassion, you know, you know, all of the, the stuff that I like to say, kind of the stuff that gets in the way of us really seeing what is real and seeing what is really true about us and, and the world. Thank you. So healing such nourishing work. Okay. Now, there we go. We, we dovetail into going even deeper into the swamp and I love this. This is our shadow. Then please share, you know, some of the wisdom in this chapter,

Fabiana Fondevila (24m 2s):
Right? So this is probably going to be the least, the least popular chapter, right? So I’d say from the start it’s, it’s not a comfortable place to go, but it’s a place of growth and it’s a place of joy eventually when you get around to it. But the shadow from a psychological point of view refers to the parts of us, of our psyche or our personality that we can’t, or are not willing to see as our own to own up to, to realize that they are a part of us. And because we don’t recognize them as their own, but they are there. We tend to projection protect them. This is the main mechanism of shuttle projected onto other people. And we get either irritated. If it’s a negative shadow, when you see somebody else, I don’t know, talking too much about themselves or whatever it is that irritates you, that the word irritation is key, irritated, not disliking, but feeling that, that sense of irritation that is tends to be a sign of shadow.

Fabiana Fondevila (24m 59s):
There is something there that is mine that I need to look at and own. The shadow goes both ways you can also have in your shadow light elements or, or luminous qualities that one reason or another, you were not able to, to accept as your own as you were growing up. This has to do with the qualities that are accepted and nurtured in each particular family and culture. And so in, I dunno, very chauvinistically cultures. You might have qualities such as strengths or courage or assertiveness not allowed or not seen as proper in women. So women might grow with their courage very far away from them.

Fabiana Fondevila (25m 39s):
And so they might choose very courageous partners or very affirmative or partners until at one point in their lives, because this is how the psyche grows by taking back. What was it’s it’s what was it belonged to it in the first place? At one point, this quality of assertiveness in your husband’s saying, just to continue with that example, which was something that you fell in love with suddenly becomes oppressive. And you think, why is he such a bully? I want to, I want to speak my mind. I want to say what I want and what I think. So this is your shadow coming to knock on your door. And at first you might find it as irritation with somebody, your husband, or whoever, but then eventually, if you can realize that what’s really behind that irritation is a need to own your own assertiveness, your own sense of self, your own sense of strength, and to stand on your own feet.

Fabiana Fondevila (26m 33s):
Then when you go beyond that repression, which is another mechanism, when you can’t accept something like that belongs, do you press it? And there’s a whole lot of energy that goes into repressing. What you don’t want is when you finally get it out into the open, when you pull it out of the swampy waters and you see it for what it is, it’s usually something very innocent and very nurturing. And when, once you beat you, you bring it back into your life. You let yourself express that assertiveness. Then you don’t need to be angry at your husband anymore because you can cover that quality for yourself. And there’s a whole lot of energy that is liberated when you no longer were pressing something.

Fabiana Fondevila (27m 13s):
And that is free for more creative pursuits. So digging up what’s in your shadow and accepting it and embracing it and living it as much as you can is a life-giving practice. Absolutely.

Christine Okezie (27m 29s):
Yeah, life-giving life-changing and I like the way that you clarify that it actually does. That’s what drains our life force that strains our life energy is that repression of not being able to reclaim what is rightfully ours and what has, and was taken away because we put it away or, or what have you. It’s such a beautiful journey again, to reclaim, right? And it’s not, I’ve heard other folks make the same distinction that’s coming to my now, which is it’s not about reinventing ourselves or even quote unquote finding the better version of ourselves, but really almost coming just back to our authentic and original sounds, right?

Fabiana Fondevila (28m 10s):
Yes. To, to reclaiming what is, what is truly yours. And as I said, a lot of these qualities are very positive and luminous, for example, if you were told that you didn’t have an artistic talent as a child, or maybe they are simply a sister or brother that was guardian artistic. So you does this, it happens that way. Sometimes it’s not somebody actually comes and tells you, you can’t do art, but maybe you get it into your head that he or she is the artsy one. So you will be, I don’t know, the intellectual one that’s right. Who forbid yourself, or you just don’t even look at arts as a possibility in your life, right? The moment that you can find back that to, to reclaim, or to allow yourself to try your hand at painting or singing or whatever it is, you’ll find parts of you that were completely cut off.

Fabiana Fondevila (28m 58s):
And just to mention one more way, in which shadow shows up the luminous, what you called the golden shadow, it comes in the form of admiration. So just, just irritation is a clue that there’s something there that you are not seeing something that you find negative, but that probably is not negative either, but that you don’t like about yourself, that admiration, when you feel an excessive than ration of a certain kind of people, that is something of yours that you need to play.

Christine Okezie (29m 28s):
I love that. I love that. And again, that, that mirror quality that exists really, as we move through our relationships and our experiences, you know, what is in front of us, oftentimes really very useful. If we can, you know, take this curious approach to it, you know, why am I so triggered by that? Why am I so attracted to that? You know, w what is it about that in me that maybe needs more attention and more exploration? So thank you. I love this, the village, speaking of relationships. So, yeah, please share about how these are vehicles for personal healing and exploration,

Fabiana Fondevila (30m 9s):
Right? Th there’s kind of a paradox when it comes to our relationships, which is on the one hand, it’s what we most value and treasure. Anybody you ask will tell you, you know, my kids, my friends, my, my partner, it’s, nothing is more important than that. And at the same time, it’s what we stumbled the most. It’s where we have more trouble. Probably a lot of people have find it easier to do, you know, their jobs are or go along in their careers or their hobbies or their locations and the place where they have more trouble is in relationships. And this is not because there’s anything wrong with them. This is kind of part of the design because we are so to speak because we are here being at the same time, individuals for all have their specific characteristics and qualities and needs and likes and dislikes.

Fabiana Fondevila (30m 57s):
And then at the same time, if you look deeper, we’re all connected. And this is not just a spiritual reality, but a biological one. We are all connected all the time, whether we want to or not. And we form, there’s an image that I like to use, which is the idea of a forest. If you look at trees as individual trees, they will be, you know, a maple and a beach or whatever, different, different species, different trees. But if you look underneath the ground, there’s a web of roots and they’re really just one organism on organisms. So what we need to traverse, we need to negotiate those two realities. And that is not a simple thing to do. We need to be able to be individuals and to say what we need and what we want and how we feel about things.

Fabiana Fondevila (31m 39s):
And at the same time to accommodate or make room for somebody else that calls up whose views and ideas and needs are different from my own, but we need to be able to meet across differences. And that makes us very vulnerable. And that is an enormous challenge. And it’s the most important challenge for us to, I think, to take on the most important and most rewarding challenge to master yes, the vulnerable, how do we connect from that vulnerability and accept that we will be hurt because that is sort of the price to the mission of love. And we’ll find to have difficulties and we will lose each other only to find each other again.

Fabiana Fondevila (32m 23s):
And so the practices in the village are all about how to work those relationships so that they become a path. And this is also another important aspect. We tend to think that once you’ve made a friend, that’s it, he’s your friend, she’s your friend. You don’t need to do anything else. Just enjoy that relationship. But I think that it’s more like what personal look, book wine. I think it’s called her name is in English science. The fantasy writer, she says, love is not like, love is like bread. It must be made fresh every day. It’s not like a stone. It doesn’t sit there. You have to make it a new everyday. And I think that’s the way it is for our relationships. We can’t take any of them for granted and say, you know, I already know this person.

Fabiana Fondevila (33m 7s):
There’s nothing new there to find out. I just, I can just go through the motions that is missing out on what a relationship really is, which is an invitation to deepen and deep and deep. And to get to know more of that person as time goes on and to become a better friend or lover or parent to that person, while at the same time, always respecting that bit of mystery that the person is that you will never completely know. And that’s what fresh and exciting and new every day.

Christine Okezie (33m 37s):
Thank you for that such. Yeah. And it, and it’s, it’s, it is a beautiful invitation to accept vulnerability, you know, in, in, as part of the price for that path. And yeah, very, very expansive makes us, again, that much more conscious about, you know, what we’re feeling and what we’re believing, you know, in our day to day. Right?

Fabiana Fondevila (34m 0s):
Yes. And knowing that exactly, knowing that if something happened with your partner or your friend or your children, and it hurts you, or you got angry, or you felt any kind of emotions that we feel every day in our relationships, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. It means that we’re being human with another human and you’re negotiating your way towards each other and learning from the experiences. Because of course, it’s not that we are forced to repeat them exactly the same every, every time, but we will step on each other’s toes. We will say the wrong thing. And you can always come back from that deepen because the love is stronger. And the love includes all of these challenges, all of these difficulties.

Fabiana Fondevila (34m 45s):
And the ultimate challenge is knowing that that’s, that someday we will part that you will not be together with that person forever for eternity, unless you consider it. Of course, transpersonal, you know, life beyond death and life in this life. We know that it is transitory. So that is also the price of admission loss. And grief is the price of admission.

Christine Okezie (35m 11s):
Thank you. Going back to the, again, allowing the emotions on, you know, just allowing, having that deeper experience of reality, right. You know, moving beyond the fear and moving beyond the grasping, almost that you’re talking about just really being present for this experience. I love it. Now. This is actually one of my favorites, I think, is the fire and rituals and rights. And the way that you explain how, you know, symbols and our use of symbols and rituals is a way to connect with our soul as a way to connect with the unconscious, the under, you know, undenying everything physical, please share.

Christine Okezie (35m 53s):
Why do we need ceremonies and rituals in our lives? What does that

Fabiana Fondevila (35m 57s):
Mean? Well, I think we need them. I think we’re a ritual making animals. In fact, animals are making animals, elephants very they’re dead and have a little ceremonies, very simple salmon from there. When one of that, there are several animals that do birds too. So the, of course our way of symbolizing, it’s much more complex and sophisticated, but there are instances of this in nature and I mean in non human animals. So I think what it’s about is making the intangible, tangible, making the invisible world visible, as we thought about love, the most important things are invisible to the eye and their emotions, their perceptions, their intuitions, their mystery, and they’re ungraspable.

Fabiana Fondevila (36m 44s):
But nevertheless, we need to be able to talk about them and to make them a part of our lives in a very tangible way, because we are embodied beings. If not, we wouldn’t have wedding ceremonies and exchanging of rings and poems and writing and all of these things that not only celebrate and honor, but also make room and make it very clear and obvious to everyone. Because again, rituals are a community affairs or a word originally. So what it does is it’s sort of stops time and stops the everyday ness of things, the, the ordinariness of life, you know, just cutting the woods, talking about traditional communities and make it quiet.

Fabiana Fondevila (37m 27s):
It’s a moment where the whole community stops to honor something that is beyond the ordinary. That is extraordinary, even though it’s very ordinary at the same time. And that is what a ritual does. It sanctifies, it makes sacred something that you are considering to be of ultimate importance. So whether it’s cause it’s, we have all kinds of rituals for almost everything important in our lives. It’s not just commitments ceremonies, but moving away, leaving an old home, moving into a new one, the child transitions are especially ripe for rituals because they’re very disquieting moments when you’re transitioning from one time of your life or area of life to another.

Fabiana Fondevila (38m 10s):
So you left something behind you are not entirely comfortable with the new and that in between time is so they call it the liminal anthropologists, call it the liminal time. It’s very uncertain. So we especially take care to create rituals for those times. So basically what I’m saying in this chapter is this is something we will never transcend. I think we need to make these, to make these intangible aspects of our life most important, and to share them with our communities. And what I’m basically saying is let’s get creative about this. We don’t need to continue unless they work for you, unless you have, you know, a tradition, whether religious or otherwise that is, is relevant alive for you.

Fabiana Fondevila (38m 54s):
Then by all means continue using those rituals. But if you don’t have them, which was my case, cause I don’t come from a religious family, make them up. They’re just as valid as any other ritual because they all come from the same source. Hmm.

Christine Okezie (39m 8s):
And way to elevate are put forth in our primary field of awareness. The intangible. I love that. The way to honor emotion, feeling heart wisdom almost are, you know, like you said to something, exceeding the mundane. I love that. What’s a favorite ritual that you’ve you’ve developed or come to know in your life helps you connect to the sacred in your life.

Fabiana Fondevila (39m 38s):
That that’s difficult to say there’s so many, but I like blessing things. I’m a blesser. I like blessing. So I do that in many, many ways. And to be honest, as I’ve grown older, they become much simpler. My rituals and less elaborate. At first, I felt I needed so much for ritual to be important and shared by community. So there was all kinds of sense and candles and this and that and adornments. And now basically it’s just a gesture. Sometimes it’s making a soup in a special way for someone and sort of bless it as I make it. And that’s a ritual. That’s enough for me because I know what’s going into that soup. And I’m sure if I think a little, I could come up with specific rituals, but what I’m saying is that any, if you make any kind of a symbolic, intentional gesture, that is not part of the utilitarian aspect, you know, you, you stay, if you stay with a soup making example to use, you know, vegetables and stock and water, and that part of it is the utilitarian aspect.

Fabiana Fondevila (40m 41s):
That’s what you need to make a soup. Then there’s this extra thing that goes into it. And you might wave your hand over it. Or you might just hold that cup in your hands and say a silent wish or prayer. And that to me is ritual enough because I’m connecting with that invisible dimension.

Christine Okezie (40m 59s):
Thank you. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. Yes. It’s such a beautiful and I love the way you just make it very practical. You know, we know how to do this is another way to say that. Right? Well, we know

Fabiana Fondevila (41m 10s):
We all, we definitely know how to do this. And let me say that, just to extend that same example of a little more. If something happens to somebody, somebody loses somebody or they lost their morning. We spontaneously spontaneously do these things. If we take an herbal tea or a soup or something, we made ourselves, it’s not because we feel that person needs soup because they make it themselves. Right. This symbol here is my heart going out to you. And the soup is merely the symbol for that intangible quality that I want to give to you. It’s my heart really? That I’m giving you. That’s

Christine Okezie (41m 47s):
Right. That’s right. Thank you. Thank you. And so I think we’ve, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve taken tiptoes around the lighthouse and the ocean already, but the lighthouse again, kind of, you know, all of these very, very important parts of our journey, but it’s the mind, hello? Self-awareness, you know, which kind of moves through all of them. That’s

Fabiana Fondevila (42m 8s):
Fine because the lighthouse I thought was an after metaphor because it’s that light that shines on things and sort of gives you perspective and shows you what is real. And basically this chapter is about practices, contemplative practices, practices about tension practice, quieting the, the noisy monkey mind as the Buddhists, call it and helping us to see more clearly to what is at the bottom or what is beyond behind the, the, the noise and the clutter of our minds. So meditation of course, is the most well-known one, but there are many ways to quiet the mind that is not the only, I, I, in fact, I tend to embrace more movement, movement, inspired meditation, such as dancing.

Fabiana Fondevila (42m 54s):
That’s what my mind, the best, rather than, than sitting still I do both, but my favorites are, are walking and, you know, contemplating nature and dancing or singing so many ways to quiet the mind, but quiet the mind we must. Otherwise the rest of the journey becomes kind of impossible because we have very busy minds, very busy

Christine Okezie (43m 18s):
Minds. So thank you. Yes. And, and, and of course, you know, meditation can really put people off and when they think they have to actually quiet the mind, which I know is the exact opposite of what you’re talking about, which is why just to get present and, and, you know, go beyond again, another invitation to go beyond our external world, right? In whatever way resonates with, with folks. So I’ve

Fabiana Fondevila (43m 41s):
Done letting and letting what is true and real shines through all that, all that man.

Christine Okezie (43m 46s):
Yes. Thank you. And now the heart is the ocean. That’s, that’s really beautiful. What are essential emotions? You talked about

Fabiana Fondevila (43m 55s):
Essential. It’s true that I, I created impact because I felt, I feel that there are emotions, even though all our emotions are important and all of them are intelligent. And I don’t believe there’s negative emotions, but just pleasant emotions or positive emotions and afflictive emotions. Nevertheless, there is like a subset of those positive emotions that I like to call essential because they do seem to be closer to the heart. They touch our essence. And once you feel them, you can’t be in your small self, small NIGO anymore. They’re expensive by nature. So gratitude and awe and passion and forgiveness.

Fabiana Fondevila (44m 36s):
These are emotions in generosity. They’re emotions that once you’re feeling them, they’re not compatible with other states of being or of mind. You can’t be feeling grateful and anxious at the same time. You can’t be, you can’t be feeling uncompassionate and hating at the same time there are compatible. So what I, the way I like to think of it, and of course, this is metaphor. Again, if you think of the hardest the ocean, you know, that all rivers, what’s the word in English flow towards the ocean, or, or give their waters to the ocean. And some of these emotions to me feel like rivers that are directly connected, connected to the ocean. For example, the ocean would be love.

Fabiana Fondevila (45m 17s):
The heart, love the essence of life and gratitude flows right into it. And so just wondering, compassionate, there are different forms of love in mind, but then anger and fear and jealousy. They’re also connected to love. They’re more indirect they’re rivers that are, that, that takes several, the meander all over the place until they get to love. So you have to work to get to it, but then they’re all connected to it. In any case. What I, what I’d like to say in this last chapter is these emotions, the heartful emotions. We need to have them every day. There are like our vitamins and minerals. The other emotions will come on their own, whether we seek them out or not fear and anger.

Fabiana Fondevila (45m 58s):
And, and they, they, there’s a very good reason for them to be there. Yes. Talk about that too, but we don’t need to go out and actively court them. They will come on own. They will come on their own and they will leave hopefully on their own, because they’re not meant to stick around all the time. They’re not the lens through which to look at life. They are short-lived emotions in their essence, whereas gratitude. We can have pretty much every moment of our lives, not as intensely all of the time, but we can return to it again and again, throughout our day. Just as with wonder, you can’t have too much wonder too much gratitude or too much compassion. Some authors say you can. I don’t agree. I think that’s like saying, okay, you’re eating too much vitamin right.

Fabiana Fondevila (46m 39s):
Too much. Love

Christine Okezie (46m 39s):
Too much love going on here too much happiness.

Fabiana Fondevila (46m 45s):
If it’s too much. It’s because it’s not, it’s something that looks like love and it’s not love. But if it’s really love, there’s not too much about it. Not too much, that there’s no risk of having too much of it in your life. So that’s why I like to end the, I wanted to end the book there with this invitation to visit those emotions every day, as much as you can, in as many ways as you can be sharing them. Beautiful.

Christine Okezie (47m 9s):
Thank you so much. And if I could ask you Fabiana, I asked this question a lot to folks on the podcast 2020 was quite the extraordinary year. What was your biggest personal lesson?

Fabiana Fondevila (47m 23s):
How much we need each other? Oh my God, how much we need each other physically, because again, I’m so grateful we get to do this. And in my classes have grown exponentially because I have students from all over the world now. So I’ll be the last person to complain, but when we can get together just the other day, you know, we’re making us part of the course I’m teaching, which is called, be the light. Yes. And people can seek it out in my website. If they think they’re interested. One of the things we’re doing is I’m inviting all of us to, to create things with our hands that we can give away. I think we need to do this right now, more than ever to reconnect with love as an embodied emotion. So the few of us are the ones that are in Argentina, which is where I live. And when say is actually my city, we were all making knit squares for, for covers, for, for blankets and the work that we’re actually living close by.

Fabiana Fondevila (48m 11s):
We got together the other day to make the actual blankets. Oh my goodness. It was such a joy. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to spend that day, knitting those squares together and symbolically again, recreating the web. And we shared the pictures of those finished blankets with a whole group, which is, you know, everyone in the world. And everybody was just rejoicing looking at them because we are, you know, we’re, we’re embodied creatures. We need to touch each other again. So hopefully it will become more and more possible, but we need to remember to do that as much as we can. And sometimes it’s, we can’t see each other, but we can send each other soup to go back to that.

Christine Okezie (48m 53s):
Oh, I love it. I love it. So many. Oh, healing wisdom, absolutely. How to stay connected to what really matters in our lives. Right. So is there anything else that you want to tell our listeners, but maybe haven’t had a chance. Is there, you mentioned you had a course, anything

Fabiana Fondevila (49m 10s):
Else? Yes, please. I’d love, I love free for anybody that wants to join. I’m writing another book that I’d like to have, but, but basically, you know, it’s just an invitation to try to return again and again, to this practice of all, which is not taking anything for granted. And I think 2020 has shown us how, how little we can take for granted. The most basic things were taken away from us and we never thought this could happen and it happened. And I think it’s a very poignant invitation to never take anything for granted. Again, really treasure and value each other and everything that is sacred in our lives.

Christine Okezie (49m 53s):
Thank you. He’s so much Fabiana. I love this and thank you for your time. And I look forward to all the beautiful, you know, things that you’re working on in the future. So thank you so much.

Fabiana Fondevila (50m 4s):
Thank you, Christine. So I hope we’ll stay in touch. Yes. Thank you so much. Take care. Take care. You too.

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