Book Review: Raw My Journey from Anxiety to Joy

In some ways we are always preparing for the cure, procuring the perfect ingredients, but inadvertently never bring it all together and actually taking the cure in—to the core where all the unsung songs are simmering, in perfect harmony, for us to be brave enough and breath deep enough to hit that note.

 

By Kathleen Willis

Amid a lovely recollected scene in which a healer that Mahaya Carter has gone to see tenderly turned her in each direction to pray and gather blessings, she quotes the Indian poet Tagore, “For years I have been stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

I think this sentiment of doing and undoing our own best interests, especially when it comes to our health and happiness, is something that most readers can all relate.

Looking for healing in every direction, praying for the happy ending of our dreams, wishing for an exacting recipe from someone else that will make all that ails us better. In some ways we are always preparing for the cure, procuring the perfect ingredients, but inadvertently never bring it all together and actually taking the cure in—to the core where all the unsung songs are simmering, in perfect harmony, for us to be brave enough and breath deep enough to hit that note.

It isn’t usually till we are looking back that we realize we are simultaneously healing and growing on every scale of being, and Mahaya Carter tells us that with this layered memoir.

The symphony in our belly has been rumbling and running the scales for years in preparation for the time we are asked by our innermost selves to step up and imagine ourselves into the role we asked to play at our birth, but since then have been too shy to own the part.

In Raw, Mahaya Carter, searches every aspect of her life; mind, body, and spirit sharing the minutia of her daily life that is relatable to many—the ordinary goings-on that build a nourishing life, that plate-up for us to devour a rhythm of a life well lived—full of dance, and death, trial and error, and eating the most deliciously described foods—and finally serving up a solution to what ails her. She ultimately takes ownership of the role she has in her own healing, overall well-being, and doing the work she has always dreamed of doing.

She honestly chronicles her journey and conversion to eating raw, getting to the raw spiritual and mental core of herself, and subsequently curing long standing physically and emotionally health problems.

While the chronicle of events in Raw is relatable, at times fantastic, exotic, and wondrous the writing at times lacks lyricism and overall discernment. In music, the notes not played create important space. In cooking, the ingredient you decided to leave out of the pot may be just the thing to make the dish everything it was supposed to be when you first composed the recipe.

Despite being at times overwritten it is a satisfying read. Ultimately, Raw is a rich and hearty narrative which demonstrates that what we do with our bodies on all levels, physical, mental, and spiritually—how, and not just what we eat, think, and breathe life into from our dreams—either helps or hinders us from living a life that is as abundant, nourishing, and as joyful as it can be.

Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy is a medicinal memoir to be savored.

 

Photo: source

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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Kathleen Willis

Columnist & Featured Writer at The Tattooed Buddha
Kathleen Willis, author of The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed; a Mother’s Story of Loss and Hope(Wisdom Publications, 2009) is, in addition to being a writing instructor for Grub St. in Boston, launching Dakinis Ascending Writing Adventures, with its maiden voyage to Bali in Oct. for the Dakini Wisdom Writing/Meditation Retreat. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She is also a Buddhist Hospice Chaplain caring for the dying and their families in the Boston area. She holds an M.Div in Theological Studies. She is authorized by Khen Rinpoche Lama Migmar Tseten of the Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies to guide and transmit Green Tara practice and mantra. She has been a longtime student of Her Eminence Jetsün Chimey Luding Rinpoche and also a student of Lama Tsultrim Allione among other preeminent Tibetan Lamas. She is the mother of two teenagers and lives in Medford, MA. As, “Lhamo’s Log: Living and Dying in Dharma”, a featured writer for Tattooed Buddha she writes essays about end of life, art, travel, parenting, and occasional art/food/book reviews.
Kathleen Willis
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