Interview with Gonzalo W Benard, author of The Sacred Book of G

photo credit G Benard – portrait with bulldog

Gonzalo W. Bénard is an artist, curator and published writer, “The Sacred Book of G” is his fourth published book, his previous books have all been about his passion of photography. This book is a collection of ‘memoirs and philosophy through an autistic mind.’ Gonzalo is on the autistic spectrum.

The information on Gonzalo’s website The Sacred Book of G reads as follows:

Gonzalo W. Bénard has been living between Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris. Doing his live as artist photographer and writer, he has his works being lectured in several universities around the globe, with more than 40 exhibitions worldwide, with his artworks in great art collections, private and public, from Sir Elton John to Museum of Serralves, Porto, and often featured in the main magazines like Eyemazing or published in Thames & Hudson. Gonzalo W. Bénard is High Functioning Autistic and has been tutor and teacher, storyteller and art curator. He was raised in a deep historical and cultural environment with his multiple European roots. He soon developed his taste and skills in writing, painting, photography, drawing and cooking. Natural healer and spiritual medium he’s a shaman who studied with masters in Africa and in the high mountains of Tibet for several years. Gonzalo Bénard went through brain death few years ago and came back to life 3 days afterwards with a loss of memory that he rebuilt, fixing the whole puzzle of his past. The Sacred Book of G of which he’s the author helped him on his own journey of life. To be alive.

We wanted to learn more about Gonzalo’s new book and why he decided to publish his memoirs. We therefore got in touch with him and he agreed to be interviewed. Below is our condensed version of the original article that can be read in the June edition of Autistic Spectrum Digest.

You have traveled widely and lived in many countries. Can you tell me a little about your love of traveling? Is this linked to needing to challenge yourself? For example you write, “I would have to live a life challenging myself.”

Photo credit G Benard, Eye - from Totem

Photo credit G Benard, Eye – from Totem

GB – Interesting that you ask that, as I did this question to myself few days ago. Now that I have some emotional distance I understood that this need came from the time when I was a young teenager: a need to fit. Once I never felt fitting in the society in which I was born and raised (very conservative catholic society/family/school), I always wondered how it would be living in other cultures. Traveling ignited – not an escape feeling – but a cultural curiosity to know more and deeper other cultures and philosophies, and the more we know them the more we respect others’ differentness as well. I also understood that when you don’t feel that you fit in, you travel to other cultures where everybody is stranger, so you feel that you fit in there better once you’re also a stranger.

When you travel alone even better, because you’re not carrying your own culture with you and you’re more open and eager to listen, to learn, to grow up emotionally, intellectually, etc. It is a challenge no doubt, as we need that safe place, but then, I learned how to carry the safe place within myself. In fact I feel that I’ve been a nomad for a long time. Without any safe place but the one I built within me. The home concept is in my own mind now. Otherwise I would have limited myself to the comfort of the safe/same place, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to free myself of the comfort zone.

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About Jo Worgan

Jo Worgan is a published author, writer and blogger. She has a degree in English Literature. She writes about life with her youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum. Jo tweets (@mummyworgan) and is also a freelance columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. ‘My Life with Tom, Living With Autism‘ is her second book and a culmination of her blog posts, and available on Kindle now, along with her first book, Life on the Spectrum. The Preschool years.