In Search of Duende


DUENDE ~ “A mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher can explain.” — Goethe

Change is the only constant in our lives, yet it has such negative connotations. It’s disruptive; it’s scary, it’s uncomfortable. That’s why I hate change. I prefer the comfort of the predictable. I suppose it is because of past traumas that I opt for a normal existence, a prudent lifestyle, a safe career, and somewhat colorless passivity. At the same time, when I feel the salt air, the call of the wild ocean, the pull of the mystic moon, my soul stirs for some adventure, for the risky, for the “duende”. It makes me a little schizophrenic.

At the moment, I have a stable career with very good benefits and health insurance. My home is located in a desirable area of affluent Orange County. Where ever I go, people know my name. I get free shoes at Ocean Minded. I walk into Juice It Up and my students greet me cheerfully; I run on the beach and kids stop me to say hello and talk about life and all the amazing things they’ve learned; my family is here; I am loved and my daughter is loved. Everything is just about right. But… I am getting up, packing up, selling everything, and leaving it all, anyway. WHY? Why change? I ask myself that question every day. And everyday I give myself a pretty quick answer.

Something in my spirit does not desire a complacent life. I have been a prisoner of my daydreams for the last two years, sitting behind a desk, surrounded by four walls, a mountain of papers, captured by visions of distant lands, visions of me with my daughter living and loving in the moment… yet those visions are interrupted by the worries of the next day and our to-do lists; interrupted by the proverbial shaking finger chastising me, “you don’t assign enough homework!” “Why aren’t you done grading papers?” “Why haven’t you completed your IPGs?” “When are you going to enter that late work?”

“…. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”

I woke up to my existential reality. Blah!   Sure, my life is comfortable. Beyond comfortable… blessed!   But I am also stuck. I lost my passion. I don’t believe in what I am doing anymore. I don’t feel the work is worth sacrificing time with my daughter, and my time to EXPERIENCE life! The Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca developed the aesthetics of the term duende, which loosely means, “to have soul, or passion, or expression and authenticity”. What is your duende? What drives you? Makes your burn with dark, creative passion— not a destructive, chaotic creativity, but a controlled, channeled passion? It has been latent inside of me, and I have been longing to conjure it, but I had neither the time nor the energy. Now I have the opportunity to meet new people, create new experiences, challenge myself in new and dynamic ways. In all that, I will find my devilish muse.

One other thing: we were put on this earth to stir and to grow, to create, to change, to evolve, to teach and to learn, to care for each other, to love one another, to live out our passions and share our talents. This is the adventure. Everyday, each one of us is, in someway, living the hero’s journey. Whether it is buying a new house, changing careers, moving on from a relationship, trying to raise our children, or grow our business… we are being called to adventure. We can choose to refuse the call, and either nothing happens, or disaster happens. However when we accept the call, and step into the unknown, growth is inevitable. We meet mentors and guides, allies and challenges, we have setbacks and comebacks, and if we endure and are open to learn, our life will grow in spirit and strength; we will be giants in our world; in short, nothing will ever be the same.

Right now, duende is my holy grail, and  I have accepted the call.

About mrslana

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2 Responses to In Search of Duende

  1. Donna says:

    I have re read this a couple of times now because I really need it. I too have quit my job and am taking my family to the big island. I crave change and get there are so many people trying to pull me back, questioning me, admonishing me for leaving a good job. This transition period is tough- saying goodbye but not yet saying hello to the new people we will meet. Growth only comes with change.

    • mrslana says:

      Thank you for your comment; I applaud your bravery for wanting to shake things up. It is intense, and island life takes some getting used to. But it is a perfect place for the adventurous spirit! Blessings to you on your journey.

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