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Las Jefas

Are You Nourishing Your Soul?

By Marisa Rivera.

Javier Albert and Marisa Rivera rebuilding homes in Maunabo, PR.

When we talk about being healthy, we tend to talk about healthy foods, exercise, diets, body fat measurements, etc. but we often forget how important it is to feed and nourish our soul. I have found that my happiest moments in life are when I have balance of mind, body, and soul.

Recently, I traveled to Puerto Rico to volunteer with my son Javier in the re-building of some homes in Maunabo as part of a Fuller Center for Housing project. I felt what Gary Zukav so well described in his book, The Seat of the Soul, that when the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, when your activities and actions become gratifying and purposeful, when what you do serves both yourself and others, and you do not tire within but seek the sweet satisfaction of your life and your work, you are doing what you were meant to be doing. Being back in Puerto Rico sparked that feeling for me.

Ever since Hurricane Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico, I have been longing to do more for my beloved Island. I was devasted watching the natural and human disaster unfold during the hurricanes. The land was converted into rubbish and flooded, the electricity was gone for months, and many people were left without a home. After many fundraisers, supply deliveries, volunteering hours at Chef José Andrés World Central Kitchen and several other volunteering experiences, I still felt I needed to do more. I kept dreaming of a “New” Puerto Rico that was vibrant, beautiful, green, clean, and economically independent. A Puerto Rico that every Puerto Rican inside and outside of the island and any visitor could be proud of. I have found that while I was searching for ways to help Puerto Rico, its people and its natural beauty were helping me by nourishing my soul.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was recently back in Puerto Rico sharing Hamilton as a fundraiser, said “There’s nothing better for your soul than a trip to Puerto Rico! Come visit Puerto Rico, it is open for business.”

After 18 months of recovery, Puerto Rico is blossoming in many beautiful ways. The newly grown fertile soil, flora and fauna is a deeper green than ever, the ocean waters are clean and bluer than ever, the freshly painted communities show the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people, and the increase in tourism since the hurricane is a testament that the best days for tourism are ahead of us, together with economic development for small businesses.

here are many ways to nourish your soul. For me, helping others and coming home was extremely fulfilling. For you it might be to serve somebody in need, or learn to forgive someone – it will be the best gift you give yourself! You could take alone time in nature to connect with your thoughts and emotions. Maybe practice Yoga, or fuel your passion more often, listen to music, dance, enjoy the rhythm of the moment. Last but not least, DREAM BIG! Author Paulo Coelho in his book, The Alchemist writes, “Dreams provide nourishment for the soul just as a meal does for the body.” I had a dream for a “New Puerto Rico” better than ever, and it is unfolding as we speak.

As you search for your next chapter in life, search for your next big dream and a healthier lifestyle. Search deep inside of you for more, and realize that the true essence of yourself comes to light when your passion meets the personality of your soul. Stay healthy as you feed your body and nourish your soul.

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. [email protected].