Chicana/o studies professor Diana Contreras is teaching college women a lesson in identity in her book titled “Meditations of a Warrior Goddess Diva.”
Contreras writes that all women possess within themselves the three traits mentioned in the title, yet they remain dormant.
She elaborates on the roles that all three concepts play in the female experience once they are realized and unleashed, using some of her own experiences as a reference. The result is a brave manuscript that takes readers on an insightful and sometimes uncomfortable ride into the female spirit.
Contreras writes, “A woman’s full potential comes when the three powers (warrior, goddess, diva) are put to use, in harmony with each other, and in sync with the laws and rhythms of the universe.”
The book has an appropriate target audience, as the content focuses on elements like identity and self reflection, which are often confronted in college years.
Contreras’ first published manuscript acts as a guide with designated journal sections that include questions and exercises for the reader.
Readers will find themselves in unfamiliar and somewhat awkward territory, writing letters to their parents and doing an internal body cleanse that requires consuming a tablespoon of olive oil every morning for a week.
The book, which is divided into three sections dedicated to the title’s concepts, challenges women to put aside their stiletto heels and designer bags and explore a more raw aspect of themselves.
Contreras’ warrior concept encourages the female reader to be more independent in words and actions.
Contreras defines a female warrior as a woman who “uses the power of her voice to defend herself and the people for whom she cares.”
The writer instructs the reader to live on their own for a year, and to take some time off from dating. She writes that often a woman’s “lovey-dovey” energy invested in a relationship can hinder self development.
Contreras also challenges readers to connect with their inner goddess by focusing on building and restoring positive relationships and loving their bodies.
She writes, “A goddess nurtures her body, understands and cares for it like a sacred temple; she is aware of her emotions, heals them when needed and enjoys life to the fullest.”
This includes tackling issues that are normally considered awkward and taboo, such as the act of forgiving your parents.
“It is crucial you learn to heal any wounds of negativity in your relationships with your parents, otherwise you will drag these feelings into your future relationship,” Contreras writes.
This portion of the book also confronts the topic of female body image, a common issue among women. The author discourages the unhealthy eating habits plaguing the country, repeatedly insisting that “we are using our bodies as a trashcan.”
Contreras urges readers to “embrace your body as a sacred temple, by simply respecting and treating it with love, and realizing that organs inside your body are working tirelessly to keep you alive.”
Contreras redefines the diva concept in the final section, encouraging readers to dismantle the common themes associated with the term.
These days, the concept of being a diva is often associated with self-absorbed celebrities taking part in excessive lifestyles and behavior.
“(Diva) is a force centered around women’s sexuality,” Contreras writes. “If only women knew the power of their sexuality, we would have a completely different world.”
This section is perhaps the most frank and compelling. The chapters instruct readers on how to pick the perfect mate, career path and lifestyle, and master the art of managing their finances.
It concludes with an exercise in which the reader devotes an entire day to channeling her true diva essence. In a fun twist, readers are encouraged to dress to impress and to maintain their diva walk.
Each chapter ends with journal questions and exercises that are meant to put the book’s concepts into practice. It also offers the reader reflection time to allow the information and concepts to sink in.
“Warrior Goddess Diva” is not one of those books breezed through on a long car ride or during a day at the beach. It’s not a book to retire to an empty space on the bookshelf.
The book’s concepts are meant to change the way a woman looks at her life and herself.
Contreras writes, “In the process, you are creating a healthier, stronger, and more beautiful you.”