Book Review by Martha O’Hehir
This trade book is marketed to children, but if you possess a child-like heart at any age, Jen Myzel’s sweet, clear voice will bring you from the “muck” to the sunlight. Yellow Lotus Flower is a parable for our day, with a teaching for reaching up and out, for moving along the spiral and reconnecting to Hope. Beautifully captured in the watercolor images of Hillary Mendoza, the message of this little book is a balm for the ear, the eye, and the soul.
Joanna Macy’s brief video endorsement, located at the bottom of the link given above, is also charming and a blessing to one’s spirit. She says it so well: In the American culture, where we all are expected to be ever optimistic, even children know times of unhappiness. We need help to navigate our way through the natural sadness, disappointment and grief that life sometimes brings. This beautifully sung and painted metaphor from nature offers guidance and a reminder that we, like the lotus, can shine in the sunlight while being rooted in the murky nutrients of the mud. Joanna is wise when she says this is more than a story. “It’s for this time. Other works will follow, I’m sure. We need them, like food.”
Yellow Lotus Flower
Written by Jen Myzel
Illustrated by Hillary Mendoza
Jen Myzel is a singer/songwriter and facilitator of the Work that Reconnects. Jen has two full-length albums, Family Tree and Silence Speak, that address topics including grief, love, climate change, social justice, activism and spirituality. She has performed at the Bioneers Conference, March Against Monsanto, and PLACE for Sustainable Living, and has collaborated with numerous musicians including ANML, Nimo (Empty Hands Music), Bolo, Octopretzel, and Ayla Nereo. Jen is also the vocal music teacher at Crocker Highlands Elementary School in Oakland, CA for grades K-5. In 2008, Jen co-founded Camp Kumquat, an urban farming camp for inner-city youth in St. Louis, MO, which still exists today on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
Martha O’Heir is an educator and writer and has served as an editor or contributing editor for several publications, including the The Music Practitioner,The Orff Echo, and Reverberations. She wrote curriculums, elementary music and math, religious studies, and music improvisation for healing musicians. She is a facilitator of the Work That Reconnects and gives retreats and workshops connecting the Great Turning with the spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin. Ordained to interfaith ministry as an Eco-Chaplain in 2017, Martha aspires to bring greater consciousness to Earth stewardship as an act of spirituality, through her writing, music, and spiritual direction.