The book La Nonna captivated my soul and helped me move forward.
by Elena Bernabé
I travelled with my eldest son, Juan, to pursue the Italian citizenship for our family. The trip was TITANIC to say the least. However, if live brings you lemons, …. you know the answer!
After reading and discovering new Italian authors, I found this incredibly inspirational author. And this is my interview to Elena Bernabé, and one her books called La Nonna, a book I heartily recommend you to read. Hope you enjoy it!
Hi Elena! Thanks a lot for the opportunity to chat with you! Please tell us how you thought of a book about the figure of the grandmother, our Nonnas?
The story touched my heart. Many Nonnas came from Italy to Argentina. More than 70% of the Argentinean population are Italian immigrants, I am one :))
So, tell us about the purpose of La Nonna and why you wrote it.
Elena: This is a book about the grandmother figure. As I also wrote in my book, in recent years I have embarked on a journey in search of my roots, my family tree and during this inner journey the figure of my grandmothers captured me.
I really perceived in them the fulcrum of everything, the life sources of my family history and to pay homage to these women I wanted to write about them, enclosing them in a single figure, precisely the grandmother, who represents a bit the archetype , the symbol of all the grandmothers of the world.
The book is a celebration of them, a bow to their wisdom, a thread that unites the past with the present, a link in the same chain! Long live grandma!
Dolores: As a big fan of my own Nonna, Elsa, all your words, the words from the book La Nonna resonated deeply.
How can we bond more with our Nonna if we do not have them with us anymore? what is your advice for us to remember or try to imitate?
Elena: Our grandmothers are symbols, they represent the images of our life story. Even if we have never known them we can meet them through the stories of those who have lived them, through their photographs, the letters they have left. Going in search of our grandmothers is a wonderful journey within our family tree, it allows us to get in touch with our family roots, which are nothing more than our inner roots. Meeting our grandmothers means meeting the wisest part of us.
Dolores: Can you explain to us what family, origin, and our own culture mean to you?
Elena: The family is the mirror of our interiority. By lovingly observing the dynamics of each family, one can perceive the story of each individual’s life. And the same goes for society as well. Everything around us, even the events that happen to us, are parts of the puzzle of our history. We came to this Earth to read this novel, to become active in its composition, to overcome the trials that the Universe has set before us.
Dolores: How can we be protected from the complex and merciless world outside?
Elena: The world confronts us with often difficult and tiring trials. The goal, however, is not to make us suffer without any purpose: the meaning is instead to awaken us, to make us stand at attention, to force us to act constructively. We can live everything we live in two ways: as a victim or as a warrior in search of the truth, of one’s own truth. In the first case we will live sad, afraid, motionless. In the second case, an inner strength will emerge that can move everything, inside and outside of us.
Excerpt from the book:
“Grandma, what do you do when you’re in an obstacle?” “
“I’m holding your hand, darling. And I’m trying not to let her go until I’ve understood the gift she came to bring me. “Elena Bernabé
“How do you figure it out? “
“There is only one way to understand: through the intersection. For real! When an obstacle comes to you weave with it: smell it, touch it, brush it, grab it, look at it. With the senses of the soul. Ain’t that how lovers do it? They intertwine to meet, to understand each other, to really see each other. “
“Should I make love to my obstacle? “
“Just like that, my little girl. It’s the only way to transform him from enemy to ally, from enemy to accomplice, from fear to love. And then nothing and no one will be able to stop you in your way: you will divert the queen of your life and the obstacles will be your guiding spirits, they will show you the way, you will no longer be able to live without their presence, you will wait for them with trepidation, you will have fun with them. “Elena Bernabé
“Can you really live like this? “
“It’s the only way of living I know. The rest is a slow and painful death. Of our own soul.”
“Grandma, I’m afraid I can’t make it… “
“My child, your fear is not to fail, but the fear of seeing your dreams come true. We were taught to question our abilities, to not want too much, to settle. And that’s why we fear we’ll actually succeed. Finally letting our inner light shine!
Kick your fear, my daughter, and run carefree in the grass of a thousand possibilities! “La Nonna
“Why would I ever be afraid to see my plans realized?” “
Dolores: Here, Nonnas play a big part in the family. They are really wise. As we grow older, and in the future we may also be Nonnas, what would you suggest we focus on? So as to try to reflect all the wisdom our Nonnas gave us when we were younger.
Elena: Old age is a golden age. In our society it is instead considered a decadent, ugly, useless phase. In reality, those who manage to age consciously can finally fully enjoy life, having already faced so many trials, so many sacrifices, so many pains. A woman who becomes a grandmother finds herself in a sacred moment of her life: she is the bearer of secrets, of stories, she is a bridge between the past and the future, she is the queen of the present. If she has done a great job on herself, she has managed to strip herself of duties, of useless things, of extra words.
She managed to bring out her wisest part while also bringing out her childish part.
What a grandmother can do is simply and finally be herself and prepare with joy and not with fear for the opening of the door into the invisible world. Her very being is the greatest teaching she can give to future generations.Elena Bernabe
“I have created a different world in my mind. In this special space, illnesses transform into powerful stories to be listened to, problems become teachers to follow, and unexpected events become divine jokes that always make my heart smile. In this inner narration of mine, everything is theater, everything is dialogue, and every small happening is a signal from the soul that wants me awake, participative, never dull. At night, the most incredible scenarios of life occur. It’s all a hunt for symbols, emotions, and intuition. I love to stay in this magical dimension as much as possible, where there are no judgments, twisted thoughts, or worries. There is only the joy of embroidering earthly life with a suitable thread created specifically for us. They often tell me that I should leave this world, not stay in it too much, and that I risk losing myself. But I know that, instead, it’s the only way to find myself. I don’t want to cancel myself in other people’s worlds; I want to truly know myself every day of my life. So, may all the creators of special worlds be blessed, true artists of existence, still capable of protecting themselves from disturbing external noises. Long live the different, the misunderstood, the pure of heart, those who refuse to inhabit worlds that are not theirs, and those who believe in the power of their own narrative. Finally, it’s time for each of us to dictate the only law that counts, that of the heart.”
Ho creato nella mia mente un mondo diverso. In questo spazio particolare le malattie si trasformano, in potenti storie da ascoltare, i problemi in maestri da seguire, gli imprevisti in scherzi divini, che mi fanno sempre sorridere il cuore.
In questa mia narrazione interiore tutto è teatro, tutto è dialogo, ogni piccolo accadimento è un segnale dell’anima, che mi vuole desta, partecipativa, mai spenta. Di notte, poi, accadono i più incredibili scenari di vita. E’ tutto una caccia al simbolo, all’emozione, all’intuizione.
Amo stare il più possibile in questa dimensione magica, dove non abitano giudizi, pensieri contorti, preoccupazioni. Esiste solo la gioia di ricamare la vita terrena con un filo adatto creato apposta per noi. Mi dicono spesso che dovrei uscire da questo mondo, di non starci troppo, che rischio di perdermi.
Ma io so che invece è l’unico modo per ritrovarmi. Non voglio annullarmi nel mondo degli altri: desidero conoscermi, per davvero, ogni giorno della mia vita. Che siano allora benedetti tutti i creatori di mondi speciali, veri artisti dell’esistenza, capaci ancora di proteggersi dai perturbanti rumori esteriori.
Lunga vita ai diversi, agli incompresi, ai puri di cuore, a chi non ci sta ad abitare mondi non suoi, a chi crede nella potenza della propria narrazione. E’ giunta finalmente l’ora per ognuno di noi di dettare l’unica legge che conta, quella del cuore.
Do you have a an endless bond with your Nonna? Would you like to share some thoughts with us?
Thanks, Elena for this interview, for your words and for your amazing book celebrating the endless, eternal legacy of our fabulous, unique Nonnas!
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