Cold Spring author draws on Mexican traditions

When Robyn Moreno, a media executive and mother of two young children, detected she was burning out, she was unsure how to remedy the situation.

Robyn MorenoPhoto provided
Robyn Moreno (Photo provided)

Moreno, who moved to Cold Spring with her family in 2014, felt an adjustment in her work-life balance was needed. Once that was accomplished, however, she still felt lacking in her pursuit of “peace and purpose.”

She found herself turning toward ancestral paths, specifically her own, in Mexico. She went on a 260-day spiritual journey (based on an ancient Mexica, or Aztec, calendar), then “kept writing and writing. I felt like ‘I have a story here,’ partly because there was not enough self-help for people of color.”

The result was Get Rooted: Reclaim Your Soul, Serenity and Sisterhood Through the Healing Medicine of the Grandmothers, published this summer by Hachette, followed by a cross-country  tour by the author to promote it.

Moreno describes the book as part memoir, part self-help, with techniques used by her foremothers to relieve stress and address a “crisis of spirit.” She learned about sustos (soul losses) and ser (true essence). She reconnected with family members, took cooking lessons from a demanding Mexican chef, found joy in hiking, visited the jungle in Belize.

“It’s a book I wish that I had,” she says. “I looked at all my self-help books, from silent retreats to food groups. At the same time, the traditions of my Mexican grandmothers came to me. Their traditional medicine, called curanderismo, or ‘the ways of healing,’ spoke to me in a way that nothing else had.”

Moreno envisioned Get Rooted speaking to people with a Latino background but says she’s heard from people of other heritages who connected through “wanting to go back to ways that are slower, more enchanting.” The San Antonio, Texas, native says she has seen that in Philipstown. “One sees so many people changing, like they used to be a lawyer and now they run a coffee shop,” she says. “Like me, they’ve taken non-linear paths.”

get rooted book coverWhile writing the book, she says “one theme emerged naturally, and that is self-trust — the trust which encourages you to walk down a different path, honoring what you feel, see and trust. That helps me navigate a consumer-based world. All of our old ways have been disbanded, dismissed. We had to change them, hide them. Don’t do that ingrained-doubt thing to yourself.”

Moreno cites a passage from Get Rooted that she says is emblematic of the teaching of her ancestors and suggests a way of moving through the stresses of modern life:

“If we could approach the messy people and places in our lives with the humble willingness to support, instead of the obsessive need to fix, then we might find that the caring becomes the cure.”

Get Rooted is Moreno’s fourth book. Her first three, which came out during her self-described “media exec” years, include what she describes as “a Rizzoli coffee-table book on Latin male style; an anthology; and a mainstream lifestyle guide. This is a very different type of thing.”

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Rooney has been writing for The Current since its founding in 2010. A playwright, she has lived in Cold Spring since 1999. She is a graduate of Binghamton University, where she majored in history. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: Arts