written by Priscilla Bianchi - from Guatemala 
I am a teacher, quilt artist, and Industrial psychologist from Guatemala and for most of my adult life, I led a very hectic life. Always busy working long hours, teaching, studying, multitasking, experimenting with a diverse range of arts and crafts, jumping from one thing to another, always in a hurry, without pause. For 14 years, I 
had my own Human Resources company. I traveled all around Central America and the Caribbean to teach mostly for big multinational companies, topics like Leadership, Human Relations, Assertive Communication, Team Building, Motivation, etc. at managerial and supervisory levels. I did not know it then, but I am aware now that I lived on auto-pilot for so many years... 
Around 1997 I was getting tired of the whole thing and wanted a change of scenery… I needed to reinvent myself. That is when a book on art quilting fell on my lap! I very quickly realized that art quilting had, all together in a beautiful package, absolutely everything that I love: the fabrics, the colors, sewing, working with my hands, creating original things, the art and design! I fell madly in love with it and knew then and there that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  
Six months later, I took a leap of faith and quit my day job because it was getting in the way of my creative pursuits. All I wanted to do was stay at home and sew all day. 
This was a surprisingly calming period in my life. For the first time in decades, I had time! Time to stop running around, to disengage the auto-pilot, time to feel, to smell the roses, to enjoy life as it was… in essence, I believe it was my first conscious meditative experience ever. After so much buzz, I discovered that I enjoyed the solitude of working on my own for days on end, frequently in silence. 
My artistic career took off and for the next 10 years, I traveled the world teaching about Mayan Guatemalan textiles and exhibiting my artwork in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, among other countries. I was devoted to my art full time, and could not be happier! 
Fast forward to 2011, when I was at one of the lowest points in my life, getting a divorce because of which I had suffered deeply for a couple of years… refusing to accept that life is the way it is, and not the way I want it to be… talk about the second dagger! Then, in 2013, rather by chance I found Suryacitta´s “Happiness and How It Happens” book, and what a Godsend it was! Reading it was a breakthrough for me, and I was finally able to begin healing. It taught me, amongst many other invaluable things, that the sun is always shining although at that moment I could only see black clouds. I have read it many times since, it has hardly any space left to highlight, and it is filled with footnotes and Post-its of my many, many aha moments! I take it on trips and it is always at hand, 
I began practicing Mindfulness then and in 2020, the pandemic gave me time to study more in-depth. I purchased Suryacitta´s "Mindfulness and Compassion made simple, plain and practical" online course from Udemy, and have participated in many of his live online events. At present, I am also taking the 12-month Teacher Training Course which is fantastic! All of this has strengthened my practice and the benefits I have experienced are many: I am a calmer person nowadays, I have found peace. My stress and anxiety have greatly diminished. I am joyful and savor the present moment instead of rushing into the next thing, and the next. I´m more understanding, compassionate, and tolerant, easier to get along with. I feel a connection with everybody and everything, which is very reassuring and gives me hope for the future. In essence, my happiness and quality of life have greatly improved. 
I am very grateful because finding Suryacitta has been life-changing! He is an excellent, generous teacher who explains difficult concepts with a practical, down-to-earth, elegant approach. He illustrates his teachings with metaphors and examples which make them so clear, easy to understand, and apply. His nickname, The Happy Buddha is right on! He has a happy disposition and good humor that make classes very enjoyable, something I highly appreciate. 
In the same way that finding the art of quilting has given my spirit a voice to express itself, finding Mindfulness has filled my spirit with peace, calm, and joy! And as with art quilting, it will also stay with me for the rest of my life. I now am aware, and stop and smell the flowers. I realize that THIS IS LIFE, as Surya says: “This is it!” and I strive to make the most of it! 
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