(Photo above by Lukáš Dlutko / Pexels)
Today we’re talking to Lorenna Garcia-Bochas, from Georgia, who grew up around the Buddhist community and chanting. Her own practice developed when she started college and faced some major challenges in her family and with her own mental health, which drove her to dig deep into her own heart to find a way forward.
We cover a lot today: how to grapple with multiple identities and feeling like you don’t fit anywhere; how to take care of your family when they are struggling; and how to find the courage to seek help for your mental health, if that’s what you need.
Ultimately, Lorenna’s story is an amazing example of how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo can be fuel for taking steady steps to respect your own life, which includes resolving doubt and pain, establishing a dream for the future and taking great care of yourself.
Note: No information on this episode should be considered medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for any questions related to treatment for mental health issues.
1:30 How Lorenna grew up
6:50 Why she started practicing Buddhism
8:30 The family challenges that drove her practice
11:59 What her day-to-day struggle looked like
21:46 How her expectations for herself started to change
25:25 How she changed her experience of school
30:28 What it took to believe in herself
33:46 How she found her dream career path
40:24 The challenges she faced being mixed-race
43:17 Transforming shame
45:34 Her favorite Buddhist concept
48:41 What it took to ask for help for her mental health
56:52 Advice for her younger self and anyone listening