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We have soul gardening to do


As another school year rolls around, workloads increase and expectations from teachers and parents seem to grow exponentially, it is important to be reminded of the values that are native to our souls.

 What do we want? What would we have wanted were we not molded by the expectations of others? What do we truly love about ourselves? Where are we going and where are we from? 

“Daughter Drink This Water”, a self-help book by Jaiya John, poses these questions in a peaceful expression of inspiration, affirmation and sacred love.

As the title of this book suggests, “Daughter Drink This Water” contains some passages that are more geared towards a female audience. However, the messages are universal to anyone who is looking for soulful guidance and not afraid of flowery,(somewhat sappy) language.

The introduction, a vibrant diversion from the disembodied wisdom the rest of the book consists of, is a verdant and almost primitive matriarchal society. Girls and women of all ages gather in a meadow on a cloudless day, a place where the sky hangs low. 

The society is visited by an ageless, genderless prophet-like figure that John uses as a device to establish the book’s premise to his fictitious society of women. The prophet tells the women how he wishes to uplift them – or rather -teach them to uplift themselves.

The text that follows this introduction is formatted unlike any book I’ve read before. Its fusion of poetry and wisdom in each stanza allows the message to be impactful, while also remaining concise and digestible. I must admit, I haven’t finished the book yet myself, as I like to read only a few passages at a time so I can reflect on my personal connection to the material. 

The passages delve into topics such as love, appearance, parenthood, and spirituality, with each stanza-like subtopic offering gentle advice that can be interpreted a multitude of ways depending on your perspective and experience with the subject. What I find perhaps most compelling about John’s work is that it calls upon the reader to cultivate their own best version of themselves. 

This book will not tell you the secret to happiness, as happiness is not a one size fits all product. Readers are instead encouraged to seek those answers by unlocking what was always within them. 

“I am not telling you what you do not know. I am lifting it up for you. Your truth lives in you always.” 

Rather than grasp at external sources of validation like compliments and achievements, John invites readers to spread love straight to the core of their being and sustain their own hunger for acceptance. 

Reading passages of “Daughter Drink This Water” over the summer allowed me to take preventative action against work that was to come in the fall. Like many, I knew a year of busier schedules and harder classes was bound to make me question my own value and abilities. 

Furthermore, I strongly believe the culture of school devalues students for their character while holding in high esteem their abilities to absorb and produce. That is why it’s as good a time as any to examine ourselves as souls instead of bodies. 

By forging a layer of self assurance that allows us to recognize our value as people, we build resilience to a world that tries to diminish us to image or ability. Little do they know our abilities are limitless when we’re self sustained by love.

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