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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Zen of Dancing in the Rain: Becoming One with the Storm

Aurita Maldonado

Society has become a place where combat veterans would
rather commit suicide than live. Many who “have it all” are
discovering that they still feel miserable but can’t figure out
why. They feel powerless under the boredom of what society
deems important.

Aurita Maldonado is a Puerto Rican woman warrior and Afro
Latin dance instructor who chose a different path before and
after her two combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She received a Purple Heart for wounds received in
Afghanistan before leaving the Army to align her thoughts,
words, and actions. She adopted a new mission: cultivate
peace, happiness, and learn to become her own best friend. All
while learning to live as one with Mother Earth.

Aurita rejected lucrative government jobs, sold her
possessions, and moved to Haines, Alaska in 2010 to begin her
journey with PTSD and self-acceptance. An extreme athlete,
she used movement to help her navigate the storms with a grin
until she was suddenly paralyzed from the waste down in a
fight against a deadly rat lungworm infection.

The perspective shifts she adopted to continue to enjoy life
while learning to use her body again will make you reassess
your choices to settle for the status quo.

This is an inspirational memoir of an amazing woman’s journey
to stumble in style as she navigates seemingly insurmountable
tragedies early in life. It is a story of triumph and discipline.
Joy and sorrow. A portrait of a Lady Hurricane dancing, both
literally and figuratively as one with the storms of life.

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