Literature is more than partaking in one’s share of entertainment and lessons learned. In fact, it is an entry way into the wonders where fiction become reality, and reality mirrors fiction. Not only that, but the characters become present in your very reading of them. In fact, once you decide to read a piece of literature, you are made aware of the similar paths between you, the characters, and the settings, themselves. And no, I don’t mean simply finding a book, and making it relatable. Or selecting what’s popular and applying it to your current circumstances, journey, or travels. I mean there being a spiritual wonder, where the Universe guides you to have read one book 📚📚, only to be led to others, who are intertwined with it. That’s the power of literature. Books that seem unrelatable end up becoming linked with each other, due to their description of your journey and path.
When you travel and experience this wonder in another country, you begin to understand the meaning of travel wellness, and travel aesthetics. When it happens in a nation such as Egypt, there is a particular element in the atmosphere, where you have experienced the ancient treasures of knowledge; foretold to you in the written, and non-written word of her/history. Let it be known that the journey selects you. Once you make the decision in going down that path, you are in for meeting a wonderful surprise and those special Beings, along the way.
Losing family members, while you are in Egypt (and on a sacred journey) forces you to take a different outlook into the meaning of time. The passing of my grandfather, James Howell, from lung cancer, gave me a new awakening, as to why I had come here. The transition of other elders while in this sacred spacing, filled me with a new perspective of what it means to return into the Heavens. Their visibility would be felt on a higher, spiritual conscious. Furthermore, the Creator has a way of sending people to remind us of their presence. Heaven and Earth work hand-in-hand.
Even during my many visits to the pyramids, I experienced Earth’s marriage to Heaven’s Universal. Such too, was an atmosphere of my courtship with love; and spending time with a love, who had traveled from afar. We met in a space, which also showcased the prevalence of pyramidal artistry. A silent whisper would color and protect our steps.
In Egypt, literature surrounded me. Living, working, and studying in Cairo, Egypt, I had come to understand how literature is interlinked with time. Selecting a book, during a certain time, is by no accident. There were different books I had read, while on particular journeys in Cairo. What was even more fascinating is how they detailed the journeys I was experiencing with life, love, friendships, and healing. A re-awakening, re-birthing, and re-experiencing of my womanhood was up for the fantasy of reality’s timing. Whether these books were fiction or non-fiction, somehow time allowed their movements to flow into my journey in Cairo. Residing in the neighborhood of Zamalek had initiated that first phase. My reading of notable literary, travel tales such as Eat. Pray. Love, following the sequel, Committed, guided me through the reflections of one love story with a former boyfriend (half-Ugandan/half-South Sudanese); a 2-year relationship, which had come to an end. A prior reading of Isabel Allende’s, Island Beneath The Sea, aligned me with the Spirit of New Orleans, and how it moved me through another realm of love. Living close by Diwan Bookstore granted me access to the work of this, famed Chilean writer.
In my living, love stories and friendships in Cairo, Egypt, each man had entered into my life to teach me a lesson. It was as if they were cleansing and preparing me for the next step in my journey. Of course, all of such intricacies require more than one article of writing. On an even greater level, it will require novels of my own crafting to paint them properly. Nevertheless, they were there, and they were real. What became important about these relationships and love interests, is how they always directed me back to the feminine. Motherhood became one of the prominent themes. And no, I don’t mean the use of the femininity, motherhood or pregnancy, as a source of trapping, or exploiting, a man; or deluding one’s entrapments as love. I mean the power in how the very experiences with these men propelled me forward into holistic, feminine nurture. Crafting and nourishing the land (and the feminine Beings within), that she would always return love, affection, and companionship back to me. Soon, I would meet women of their lands, if I had not already. And, I would be introduced to these sacred teachings. As usual, such details are for another time.
I had read this personal, literary journey in a particular order. I did not choose them. In fact they had chosen me, and I was ever more humbled by this captivating experience.
Eleven Minutes. By The River Piedra I Sat and Wept. The Alchemist. Brida. The Fifth Mountain. 🗻.
By the time I entered into famed Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho’s, literary workings, I was already in a different chapter of my life in Cairo, Egypt. Even living in a different place-Mohandessin, to be exact. Reading this collection of works, in described order, gave me further incite into the true reason for one’s popularity over the others. The Alchemist is what Coelho is most known for. Yet, it is not where all the riches lay. On a deeper note the book is a map and healing guide into what it means to use one’s movement patterns, in order to create the desired recipes for our lives. Using the right ingredients, spices, and others, a person comes to manifest the ways in which we use our environments. Sometimes, we have to be broken for some time, in order to be re-born. Yet, that’s the nature of Egypt. She shakes you, breaks you, and builds you back all over again. Only if you allow her to work her alchemy. And, in this series, The Alchemist was the middle of the other books. In fact, it had kept traces of balance and harmony among them. It was like the characters within those tales could always re-center their foundation through The Alchemist should they lose their way. Returning to why you selected a certain journey, and to stay on it; no matter how difficult it gets.
I found myself reading and experiencing traces of the characters within all 5 books. Somehow in reading them, their journey came alive in my personal one. It was the living proof that words are dynamic and hold a sacred bonding with the Universe. That’s why what we speak, and what we entrap onto paper, must be handled with care.
The significance of Eleven Minutes is how it moved me back into understanding one form of marginalized womanhood. The book is based on a Brazilian woman named Maria, who comes from a poor village, leaves for Switzerland, and ends up working as a prostitute. During a cold night in walking to catch a bus in Dokki (2015), while heading back to my residency, I was introduced to my own, Egyptian Maria. One who came to protect me, and asserted her place as a sacred protector of woman for that time and night. 🌃 Her story deserves another platform. And yet, I was reading about her prior, but only in a different place. That night, and experience, further affirmed that feminine energies were protecting me, while in Egyptian landscapes. Spiritual awakenings started with 11, and ended with 5. Five mountains had sealed the deal. The other forms of literature would nourish what was in between. For that, I was forever grateful.
The reading of this personal collection of books, by Paulo Coelho, was a cleansing in my movement towards love. There were explanations into why I was romantically involved with a certain person, for a particular time. The fact that these individuals came from different nations meant that the world was coming to assist a Black American maiden (birthed from those authentic, cultural soils of Deep South Black Church culture)on her travel journey and teachings of love. Even for prior introductions to love’s travels, as an undergraduate student studying abroad, my purpose for having entered such spaces, was being clarified, right in Egypt. It was part of the work, as to why I had come to Egypt to begin with. There was clearly a bigger purpose than simply studying and working at the American University In Cairo; in addition to my volunteer work-teaching English to Egyptian and migrant/refugee communities, and private teaching work. And those were adventures and spiritual cleansings, in their own right. I was there to understand the realm of love, to heal from brokened love, and to return in being open to love.
It was said earlier, but it must be spoken, again. Land was the initial teacher. Other maidens from these lands comforted me in these findings, for I had blessed them in their Being. Cutting other women, or mistreating other women, to get a man was not part of this sacred world. In fact, it was not permitted. Even with past boyfriends and love relationships, adventures, and dates, I was being propelled back to the very foundation of woman and land. In addition, all five pieces of literature, in my reading of Paulo Coelho, alluded to this. Somewhere, Mother became the theme of such. Even in my relationships, Mother popped up, somewhere. When traveling to the pyramids, Mother’s essence too, arrived, there.
When it came to Black Love in Cairo, Egypt, I had felt myself going through the ancient love stories of this land; just in a modern form. One of such, mirrored the sacred trinity of father, mother, and child. Again, that’s for another telling. What I will state is that with each entrance into my life, any toxic aura (within my psyche), preventing me from experiencing love, was being cleansed. Not all love stories are permanent. Some come to prepare you for, the One. My personal, Black Love (and stories (courtships or dating moments) in Egypt, as perfect or imperfect as they may have been, stemmed from the basis of healing. There were those love stories of other coloring, as well. Let that be known. Yet, in Black Love’s movement together, spaces surrounding us became balanced. Others around our Being became challenged and questioned their own state of healing. Some accepted healing, while others rejected it. Those of the latter, went into attack mode; trying to harm the essence of Blackness in love, and the very performance (and reflection) of it. More stories for future tellings.
In Egypt, and as elsewhere, love comes from the land. And when you cultivate it properly, as a woman, you don’t have to run after it, seduce it, or hunt for it. No! It will naturally recognize you, and come to you. When you have created and nourished your own gardens-as a woman-and have not stolen or raped from someone else’s, the love naturally flows to you. You don’t have to force it to see you. There is an immediate connection. Even more importantly, as with my literary relationship with the women characters in those books, you always seek first the creativity of woman. Seek women artists and artistic Beings. Acknowledge their presence, consistently, and their talents will propel love to you. This is the holistic way of woman, and her finding of love.
It started with Maria, and alchemy was the foundation. Mother nature moved her mountains 🗻 to complete the deal. In experiencing The Alchemist as the foundation, I had entered into the other pieces of literature; observing my own inner workings of alchemy. The power in bringing balance and healing with my words, movement, song, and dance. I had journeyed to Egypt to be healed, and also. . . heal. I had received, and was therefore responsible to give. The journey of meeting fellow women healers, on an international realm, is also for another telling. Yet, there is one thing left for certain, imprints of my journey were left in literature. Mr. Coelho, himself, was giving me the lessons. It was nourishing and fruitious. Each literary tale was shedding outdated and lifeless auras from my mind, body, and Spirit. This genre of travel wellness, healing, and rebirth was moving me into a new direction. A new understanding of self. And at the end of this journey, I would recognize my womanhood in more ways, than before; ever awakened to the destiny, laying ahead. From that point on, I was no longer the same. Travel was never the same. And I would see travel in a greater wonder, than it had ever been, prior to. This time, it would be through the alchemy of healing; in a more natural and fluid way!