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Summary

Inspiring hope, solace, and courage in living through our losses, author Martín Prechtel, trained in the Tzutujil Maya shamanic tradition, shares profound insights on the relationship between grief and praise in our culture - how the inability that many of us have to grieve and weep properly for the dead is deeply linked with the inability to give praise for living. In modern society, grief is something that we usually experience in private, alone, and without the support of a community. Yet, as Prechtel says, "Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses." 

Prechtel explains that the unexpressed grief prevalent in our society today is the reason for many of the social, cultural, and individual maladies that we are currently experiencing. According to Prechtel, "When you have two centuries of people who have not properly grieved the things that they have lost, the grief shows up as ghosts that inhabit their grandchildren." These "ghosts", he says, can also manifest as disease in the form of tumors, which the Maya refer to as "solidified tears", or in the form of behavioral issues and depression. He goes on to show how this collective, unexpressed energy is the long-held grief of our ancestors manifesting itself, and the work that can be done to liberate this energy so we can heal from the trauma of loss, war, and suffering.

At base, this "little book", as the author calls it, can be seen as a companion of encouragement, a little extra light for those deep and noble parts in all of us.

©2015 Martín Prechtel (P)2020 North Atlantic Books

Critic reviews

"Martin Prechtel's book is beautifully written and wise...he offers stories that are precious and life-sustaining. Read carefully, and listen deeply." (Mary Oliver)

"Here Martín Prechtel sends us an invitation to peace: to personal, village-level, and world peace.... Martín coaxes us through funny and quirky turns of the ordinary and the miraculous to leave us inspired to wake up singing to the beauty of our rising sun and live in praise of this complex and gracious world." (Inge Hindel, MD/PhD, family and integrated medicine doctor at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, Oregon) 

"Caring for animals is a sacred responsibility. To truly grieve and to weep deeply is something the animals really do help us with. And O they help us praise too, to accomplish that most marvelous art of turning the grief into praising. Martín tells us, 'Let the world jump up and live again,' and he makes that happen with his delicious sentences. Read this necessary, very beautiful book, and then read it again." (Coleman Barks, author of Rumi: Soul Fury)

What listeners say about The Smell of Rain on Dust

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Brilliant listening.

I find it brilliant to listen to this book in Martín’s voice. It was a life changing book to read on paper and it takes on a new depth to hear it read by the author. Especially the story about Little Wetzak and Big Thunder. Thank you Martín for recording your voice to reach us across the globe at a time when we are unable to travel to your school.

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The real meaning of soul food

I’ve never read a book and felt so nourished, it was as though I was eating every word and it was the most delicious meal

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  • Jer bear
  • 16-01-21

Inspiring

Listening to Martín read his own book almost makes missing out on in person classes almost bearable. Listening to Martín is almost better than reading. His inflections and rhythm is wonderful. Please record more.

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  • Ekko12
  • 30-12-20

Always beautiful work

I have always loved and related to Martín's writing and speaking. I was very Drawn to this book in particular because of a poem I wrote with the line "The smell of rain on dry rocks" so the title certainly called to me. A wonderful book and I appreciate that it is smaller than most others, so I can have room in my very very small home to have a few copies to gift people should the ocassion arise. The audio version is of course wonderful because it is read by the author with his full and expressive voice.

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  • Deborah Meyers
  • 12-11-20

I always knew there was something this beautiful

I always knew there was something this beautiful in the world... and it finally found me. a way to inhabit the world and life... Thank you!

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  • Martha B.
  • 07-11-20

A treasure!

I love that Martín has read this book to us. Having his voice and inflection adds to the knowledge he has expressed - for those who have already read the book themselves. Such a different perspective on life and how to navigate the inevitable losses and challenges. I have read this book to my children and now we are listening - so thankful this elder has contributed to our family’s education and formation. Thank you Martín!

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  • Caring
  • 25-10-20

wonderful perspectives!

loved this different and deeper perspective of grief and celebrating our lives and losses. the author/narrator seems a little unenthused in the beginning of the book, but by the end, he had me deeply entwined with the story and my own ❤️ heart

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  • S.C.
  • 17-10-20

a most valuable treasure

Prechtel's words are strung together in a way that reaches the core. redemptive and recollecting.

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  • matt branham
  • 14-10-20

Many thanks, big smiles

wonderful to hear Martin's warm and dusty voice give life to words once on paper.