Beginning with her family’s origins as tenant farmers in the mountains of Puerto Rico at the turn of the nineteenth century, Victoria Rivera Mckinley leads readers through dramatic and painful events, which in spite of psychological explanations, add up to experiences that are much larger. Against a historical backdrop of Puerto Rico’s changing culture, she shows how a family of ten children survive and learn to look out for one another. This is a success story, but not simply because the author leaves Puerto Rico and becomes a psychotherapist in America. Rivera McKinley offers an extraordinary perspective that finds truth in how each person lives experience in his or her own way. Her own journey ends in the Rocky Mountains, where Buddhist teachings offer her a spiritual and philosophical framework with which to understand her life. In Search of the Luminous Heart is a deep and unusual look at adversity and belies terms like “dysfunctional” for family. Here, generosity of spirit is the key to survival. The family endures by using intelligence, compassion, and accepting lives that have the real taste of tears, blood, songs, and prayers.
About the Author: Victoria Rivera McKinley
Victoria Rivera McKinley is a 75 year-old Puerto Rican mother of two married daughters. She is a practicing psychotherapist in NYC. From her early youth she was her family’s scribe and longed to one day write their story for the benefit of future generations. “My birth and early childhood took place in a landscape of remote, isolated mountains in a district of Naranjito, a small cordillera town on north central of Puerto Rico. I was born in 1940, and the decade that followed was one of severe socio-economic hardships on the island. Our mountains were in my view a source of divine inspiration. Their standing tall in all kinds of weather was an example of how to bear the traumatic turns and turbulence of our times. The hardships and struggles became the fodder, or the inescapable foundation for a relentless, and ultimately rewarding quest, for purpose and meaning. An underlying theme of my story is a desire to unlock and understand the workings of the human heart, a heart mostly hidden behind thick protective walls against suffering, but one that holds for all of us, a promise of liberation.”
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