Part prose, part poetry, “Piece of Planet or Planet of Peace” invites the reader on a poignant, deeply personal journey of letting go of the past. Spanning over ten years, it chronicles Lara De Ann’s trauma and heartbreak over the tragic death of her soul mate Ted, and her experiences to “let go of pieces” of herself and heal her past to eventually attain a profound sense of inner peace and spiritual awakening. Lara was utterly devastated by grief when her beloved Ted, in a fit of depression, committed suicide at the young age of twenty-four. Ted was a victim of adult-onset bipolar disorder. “A part of me died when he died,” says Lara; “I felt like a lone palm tree on a desolate beach on an undiscovered, uninhabited, often brutal island.” Desperately seeking distraction, she went traveling. “I pretended to be doing something that held meaning,” she says; “I hung on for things to improve, believing they really would one day, despite my descent into years of a dark night of the soul.” Starting from Agoura, in California, Lara journeyed through Guatemala, Texas, Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, England, Wales, and finally Ireland – Ted’s “genealogical roots.” Traveling provided her an opportunity to meet new people and hear their experiences. Her personal tragedy seemed to pale in comparison to their stories of survival- “I often thought, how could I feel like life’s victim when I heard the disasters of so many people that sat next to me.” Throughout her journeys, as part of her “letting go” ritual, Lara let go of various articles, including clothes, shoes, cards, books, sleeping bag, tent, Ted’s bicycle – anything that held memories. She even had her hair cut off as a “symbolic gesture in letting go of my past, in letting go of grief.” “Traveling on faith and prayer,” with barely any money to meet her basic needs, Lara often hitchhiked and depended on the kindness and generosity of strangers. “Every experience was a stitch in an intricate tapestry,” she says. Sometimes, she managed to earn money by reading tarot cards, faith healing, and massaging, but “Very seldom did I get enough money or food to last me for a longer time period. It was usually just the moment that was taken care of. There would be a major victory, a miracle, followed by another lesson in trust.” Thus, she learned to surrender unconditionally to the Universe. However, Lara does not “recommend this kind of traveling to anyone. I had to do it in order to experience trust. I had to feel what it was like to have nothing in order to realize how much I had.” The over one hundred and fifty poems written by Lara are emotionally charged and just as compelling as her personal story. The anguish and intense sorrow that pervade poems of loss and heartache are palpable. For example, in the poem “He Never Came Home,” Lara laments, “I rotted away in my cave-tavern /…Quietly in my despair / Loudly in my denial of my despair / Waiting, looking out the window for his return. /…He never came home, / I died knowing that.” There are also inspiring poems in this collection that bespeak of letting go, trusting God, and achieving peace. “Phoenix” is a stirring verse about overcoming grief and rising from the ashes to rebuild life-“I ripped my life up by shredding papers / I said goodbye by lighting it on fire / I watched, as what I thought was me / Went ablaze symbolically.”
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Lara De Ann has written a number of ebooks and a few soft covered books that are all self-published. She has been a writer since a very young age and uses the written word to express her sensitivity. She went on a trust walk travelling mostly without money and wrote about her adventures in Peace of Planet or Planet of Peace. She also writes short stories, poetry, parables, stage plays, etc.