CinnamonTeal Publishing (CT): What makes your ‘Think from the Heart’ stands out in the crowd?
Leticia Afonso (LA): Well, ‘Think from the Heart’ is not a novel that you have to finish as soon as possible. It is not a rule book that will tell you what to do step-by-step.
It is something that will refresh your mind. Something that will make you happy. And how better to start your day, if not with a good thought. For good things to happen to us, we have to surround ourselves with positive thought. If we think of good, good is bound to happen to us. And if we think of bad, ‘Think from the Heart’ will let you live your lives better. It will help you understand life.
CT: How did the concept of your book come about?
LA: I used to write these inspiring messages on my company’s blog. All my colleagues really liked them. During one of the tea breaks, I had my colleague Divya Mittal come up to me and say “Hey, why don’t you write a book? It will be a great one, if only you could put a few thoughts together.” And that’s when it all began. An idea was born, and I just worked on it further. And here we are today. I have a published book. It all began all over tea.
CT: How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
LA: The thoughts in “Think from the Heart” are the same that I personally follow. I do believe I can achieve anything that I want to, provided I put my mind to it.
Happiness doesn’t come from money or the things that we own, rather from the people in our lives.
I, and I alone, am responsible for my life’s path, and that only I can set it right, if I am willing to at any point of time. It is no good blaming others. I tell everyone to live their dreams, put their talents to good use. I am living my life. I do not want to have any regrets later. I am giving my dreams a chance, I just wish everyone did the same.
CT: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and to what extent do you feel you have achieved them?
LA: My goal is to spread happiness around, to inspire people to live better lives, and to let them know that they are not alone. Most of us go through the same feelings and emotions at some point of time in life. It is okay to feel so sometimes. The purpose behind the book is to convey the message that these improving our lives is in our hands itself. Even if ‘Think from the Heart’ inspires a single person, I would consider my objective is fulfilled.
I get calls and messages everyday from various sources, saying that they love my writing. It truly refreshes them. Each day, when they feel low and they read a thought, it brightens up their day. They are filled with new delight and happiness. And they urge me to keep writing more. What more would I want.
CT: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
LA: I never came across any stumbling block, in my journey of this book. Once I had started with it, it all went smoothly well. To begin writing was the crucial part. As my training is in IT, I am expected to write code, to solve any software-related query that people pose to me. So going into writing was heading in a complete different direction. It wasn’t well accepted initially. I faced some issues there, but things went on fine. My colleagues believed in me. They constantly prodded me, saying that I could write a book and that indeed I should write one. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have started writing.
CT: Can you share some stories about the people you met while researching this book?
LA: This book is about the experiences I had, things that I observed, emotions, feelings that I have been through, Things that I have seen.
My mama passed away 2 and half years back. I loved her a lot; she knew that although I had never told her as much. That’s something that will always be in my heart. That’s why I say: tell your loved ones you love them, while you still can.
In my office, I see so many people good at other things. We have some excellent bakers, singers, dancers, artists, cooks, writers, yet all of them are stuck in the IT industry, all are sadly engineers by profession, and think that it is the only thing that they can do. They don’t realise their potential, or the heights they can achieve if only they are willing to. From this my thought comes: I see so much talent around, it should be put to good use.
I never wanted to study science, I wanted to study arts, perhaps literature or psychology. And we have this perception in Goa, that if a child scores good marks in the X standard, they should opt for further studies in Science. But then I met my best friend there, in the 11th standard Science class. If I had actually sat at home and cried because I wasn’t allowed to study Arts, I would have missed meeting such a wonderful person. She was the first person I could share my poems with, until then I had kept them to self. The poems had made us friends, the only thing that was common between us. And it’s been 8 years since that friendship began. In the same way, if I hadn’t joined my company, I wouldn’t have met my colleagues, especially Divya Mittal, who encouraged me to write a book. It was a suggestion that came from her. And I wouldn’t have been at this point in my life.
From here I say: whatever happens, happens for our own good.
In the short term we can’t see it, but in a long run it does work in our favour. And see, I’m back to my love of writing, which I had left behind 8 years back. This also tells me that no matter how old you are, no matter where you are in your life, it’s never late to start.
I meet a lot of people who have lots of plans and ideas. Lots of things they want to do, but never gather enough courage to plow further. They later regret not working on their ideas. You should have no regrets later. If you want to do something, do it. Once time flies by, it never comes back.
CT: What do your plans for future projects include?
LA: I want to write poem, inspiring poetry that convey the same thoughts as those in ‘Think from the Heart’. I am currently working on it.
Poetry was my first love after all, since childhood. I still remember, at the beginning of the new academic year when new textbooks would come home, the first thing I would do is go through all the poems in the book. Poetry gave me my best friend, So my next book is going to be one with inspiring poetry.