How do you Heal?

Exactly 6 months ago today my life took a turn for the worse after a gym session that shut my body down with no return. I kept putting blame on the training. On working too hard and not smart. Maybe I just didn’t know how to be an athlete. Or maybe my body wasn’t cut out for extreme sports.

It’s not like I grew up thinking I’d one day be interested in fighting professionally. When I stepped on the mat for the first time at 25 years old, I found my heartbeat again.

Now with 6 months without it and still no definitive diagnosis, I write tonight with fear and uncertainty of what’s next.

You see my symptoms keep getting worse instead of better. I don’t want to complain. I don’t want to feel helpless. But at the same token, I know that I must prepare myself mentally for what can happen next.

Prepare for the worse so that if it’s nothing serious, I can find relief, instead of crumbling from bad news.

I’m tired of googling what I might have. I analyze everyday what I’m feeling and compare it to prior days to make sure I understand my own body. It’s exhausting.

I thought I was easily going to work towards a better version of myself when I started changing my goals. Now I’m physically at my worse.

I can barely think and follow conversations. It’s a blur. My feet and hands are like heavy heated rocks just tensing up for no reason.

Sometimes I think I’m dreaming. And tomorrow I’ll be good as new, and I can continue my life like the world does.

But it’s not like that. I’m still living this nightmare. Only Arod knows what it’s like because he stands by my side and battles it with me. This “it”. Whatever it is.

I hope to just find an answer soon. As many people do when they are searching for a way to heal.

Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Any body experience that can help you make each day a happy one.

When all I want is to maybe have at least one day pain free. Walking without my body locking. Sitting without my legs drenched in pins and needles. And talking without having to avidly process what was just said by repeating it over and over again in my head so that I comprehend.

Yeah, this is my life at the moment. Fronts of strengths and dreams. Hiding the fact that I’m probably never going to be physically 100% again.

Unless I do this. Fake that I’m okay. And that I will be. And that I will move forward no matter what the outcome is this week after my EMG.

M.

Sex in the City and Me

6 seasons of Sex in the City and a hand full of job applications later . . .

It’s October and I’m in between the in between career change. Six months late to be exact. It’s taken me some time to understand that a full-time job with benefits does not define me. Neither should a part-time or independent work do the same. But somehow, it still affects my emotions.

I feel undervalued to my counterparts with happy homes and babies. But before throwing in the towel and giving up on building an empire, I’m pushing some last-minute strings to make it happen. Watching Sex in the City surprisingly enough has reminded me of my independent personality and drive to do my own thing as I see fit.

Yeah it’s a fake show. But there’s some truth to it.

Like the pressure as a woman to be a certain way just because she is X amount old. Or being in a relationship that then leads to the question where’s the ring? And how long have you been together? Only to disappoint them with the short not yet response so that they move on to another more hopefully important topic.  

Aside from that, I’ve come to the acceptance that some dreams require more effort than others. The rest of this year will be dedicated to rebooting my physical health, re-centering my inner being and rejuvenating my partner to his fullest potential.

Because in the end, we are the only constants in our life daily. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Writing new songs.

Building more clients for T.I.

A blueprint for MMA.

Some REAL contact with humans (enough of this closed American lifestyle).

And a whole lot of berry shots and coffee cups in the Morning.

That’s what the Sex in the City gal in me wants to feel proud to be.

M.

Gun Control in the United States of America – *OPINION*

I don’t like talking politics through social media. Mainly because it’s hard to mitigate RESPECT which I feel is priority in any conversation.

However, after listening to Andrew Ross Sorkin on NPR about two weeks ago, I’ve been gravitated more towards the issue we face on gun violence in America.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, NY Times Columnist

Back in the day, when I was a senior in high school during economics class, we were asked to write a law that we felt was important that could solve an issue in America.

I wrote a ban against guns. All I knew then is that I was against gun violence and felt that the simple solution was to ban guns from citizens’ use; that the responsibility of gun ownership belonged to trained Armed Forces and those who have jobs required to protect us.

Back then I thought it was reasonable and straight forward. Someone who doesn’t know how to use a gun or not mentally well has no access to a gun, therefore, gun violence reduces. When I presented the amended law, the backlash from the classroom was loud and unexpected. 95% of that classroom was angry yelling “it’s my right to protect my family!” 16-year old’s afraid to lose their right and scared for their life . . . I wonder where that behavior was learned . . .

I had no rebuttals prepared and sat down in disillusion.

I was baffled. Understandably ever since then, I follow civil and federal gun rights in the United Stated as well as the massive amounts of laws that have come into effect thanks to the NRA legislative Association.

Like you, I’ve also witnessed the many shootings that occur in our schools and public areas. Like that classroom back in the early 2000’s, people get angry and lash out. And then hold on to their guns a little tighter than the last time while gun violence and access to weaponry only rises.

I’m not here to take a side this time. A side should NOT EXIST because we are one people. One people slowly destroying ourselves just because we want to be right.

I’m not here to say guns are bad or to say I’m anti-gun. It’s irrelevant what my opinion is and so is yours.

The New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkins simply said it best. We have a problem of gun control that needs to be addressed. All I know is that CHILDREN and PARENTS should never have to worry about dropping their child off to school to learn. A teenager should not be worried about being killed and think they need a gun for protection.

The reality is that too many guns are being sold to uneducated, mentally ill, or straight forward domestic terrorists.

I’m planning to dig deep on the following question: Why has America fallen behind on gun control safety regulations?

It’s a continued project that will hopefully, in the end, answer that simple question with a simple answer.

Aside from that, I do hope that if you believe in the safety and protection of our country and its people, you look into the amazing things that Andrew Ross Sorkins has been pushing for. From writing to the CEO of Walmart to finding strategic ways on how to help resolve the death toll in schools such as involving the banks to regulate their contribution to it.

And as always, more to come.

M.

A quick link on how banks could control gun sales: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/02/20/how-banks-could-control-gun-sales-if-washington-wont.html

Recent NY Times articles: https://www.nytimes.com/by/andrew-ross-sorkin

Short and Sweet

         I’ve been injured from MMA and out of commission for a while now. It’s slowed a lot of projects down for me especially the ability to compete this year . . . something I have yet to come to terms with. But aside from that, it has also put a halt in some music aspirations I was hoping to accomplish (like performing). Feeling altogether defeated by what’s happened. With the same momentum, it’s helped me shift my entire focus on HEALTH. I realized how withdrawn and alone I’ve ended up over the summer.

I began thinking about how we go through life making friendships; based on what school we go to and then what job we end up in. It’s location and exposure vs anything else.

So, people come and go. And then there’s the close friendships that last no matter how long you go not speaking to each other.

In the end, I find it simpler to be respectful and understanding of “life” happening. Although my path has shifted, the idea is that it will still bring happiness and hope to those around me who wish for it.

Starting my work with high school students this week has also reminded me how much I love helping teenagers. That’s right, TEENAGERS! I had a student come up to me excited to see me again yelling “Hola Maestra Viveros!” Coming from a corporate world and pushing paperwork, that simple error (LOL) of calling me a teacher made me feel like I’m doing something meaningful.

Is teaching in my future? Who knows? What’s certain is that I’m happy to finally feel appreciated on a professional level and am excited for what the future can bring.

M.

The Music Industry

Why did it take me 10 years to dive into music?

I was part of the music “scene” at around 14 years old and found a lot of reasons why I thought I couldn’t be a part of it. To start, I hated performing in front of people. I always felt no one truly paid attention and my family wasn’t necessarily enthusiastic about my commitment to it. But aside from personal dilemmas and self-doubt, I also learned a great deal about how hard it is to make a living out of it. If you wanted to “make it” as an artist, I knew the only way to ever make REAL money was if you already had it to begin with. It’s a major investment. And it’s a risk. Because even then, if you are not the image people are attracted to or can connect with, that investment also can potentially go to waste.

Not only that, women in the industry are scarce. In the backend at least. The few I met when I first started had to be highly “sexual” in order to get some attention by others in the industry. I’d meet musicians and spark up conversations hoping to lead to “jamming out” or networking opportunities. Sadly, it would go south each time (no dirty pun intended). I started feeling like the only thing I could offer was a good time. Looks matter. Instead of understanding the works of it and finding other ways to network, I took it to mean I was not meant for it and was not a “worthy” musician.

2011 – Salamanca, Spain

I would also hear talk about how going to school was a waste of time. As a performer, you don’t need to be able to read music to be great at it. There was always this talk about natural talent vs. skill and ability to play. I let the backlash against education get to me and eventually gave that up as well. Which now seems ridiculous because being a first chair violinist and singing in choir was probably the most peaceful times I had growing up.

Looking back on the why’s are important. I started playing again to feel peace. I didn’t even know I was lost without it until I wrote “Mirror Thoughts” on a grey blissful night. When I stopped singing the chorus melody, I couldn’t remember why I had given up music to begin with.

You can never deny who you really are no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you make choices to please others. To fit an image, you think is right. None of that is real. What’s real is what you feel when you are doing something that allows you to be fully you. 
1999/2000 – could I have put the violin away for this picture at least? Guess not.

As an avid reader, I found the abundance of work there is in music that doesn’t require these linear paths that society paints it out to be. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who started in their teens, had a huge gap away from it, and is attempting a return in her almost 30s. You may be an already successful artist who can teach me a thing or two about what I’m getting myself back into. Which I encourage so please feel free to reach out!

With that said, here’s some tips and tricks for aspiring musicians that I know of, depending on what interests you the most.

For those who want to make it BIG (warning: I’m about to sound really snobby so skip ahead if you don’t want to see this side of me)

Fame is easily attained now that theirs YouTubers and IG influencers in the world etc. Just throw some cash into it, be consistent, have a target audience, include ads, have useful content and bam! You have yourself a good amount of online presence to say, “I’m famous!”.

Making it BIG however is another Beast. Especially in music. So, here’s the secret. The only way you can make it BIG is . . .

  • Know someone that can get you a major Record Deal

OR

  • Pay your own way into creating a Brand and Live Shows

**Notice how both require $$$$$?

Knowing the right people can get you the right deals but you also need to be aware of scammers and the potential of being taken advantage of. Always READ what you’re signing. Always understand who you are talking to and their agenda. If the right people come along and believe in you as an artist, you can find great opportunities in your career.

NAMM 2018 – non-profit music learning

Don’t trust record labels? Do it yourself.

Just so you know, big names aren’t as rich as you think they are. And they don’t get their somewhat funds from their music. The real money comes from live shows and the brand they sell. The bigger the shows you sell out, the better. In terms of brand, you’d have to come up with a unique USEFUL product you can sell to grow. I’ve heard talk about how YOU are your own brand. Sorry to tell you that’s BS. A new artist can’t be its own brand with 0 fans to begin with. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to look up three of your favorite famous artists on Google. Go to their official website. What’s most dominant? Their music or their MERCH and TOUR dates . . .

I hate talking like a business prick but it’s in hopes to help you see what it’s like and what it takes to get through it. I believe it’s very much possible. If you put in the work, you will eventually get where you want to be. I mean just ask Ed Sheeran. He can tell you . . .

For those who want to make a living out of it

Go to school! Take private lessons, invest in education. As part of Mark Daniels non-profit, time and time again, I ask them, “What’s your major?” 9/10 times its NOT music. Why?

Same concerns I had above. The starving musician myth. When in fact there’s so much work to be found in the industry. Here’s just some I can think of. Be a music teacher, professor, counselor, instructor, therapist, non-profit educator, solo performer, group performer, theater, songwriter, composition, film, TV, Netflix, audio engineer, producer, technician, publisher, manager, social media, promoter, cataloging libraries, music supervisor, music editor, mixer, voice overs, mastering, recording, music director, music coordinator, licensing . . . . and on and on! And they all pay livable wages.

Just because I love Gwen.

A much longer blog than I was hoping for, but I hope this helps artists see the industry much clearer. At the end of it, here’s what matters.

Play because you love it. Sing because you’re passionate. Practice every day because you enjoy it. That self-expression and emotional balance should begin at a young age. Music is a great way to channel invisible darkness and light. I think it’s essential for solving some of the problems we face today in the world, but that topic will be for another day…

Be happy for the ability to be  personal with the world around you through sound. That alone will take you to a wonderful state of being and the “following” will take notice and come to you.

M.

Chaos Within

Blogs don’t write themselves. Here’s the thing, I’m not a planner. There’s a plus and minus to it. Spontaneity can be exciting, but it can also cause some unexpected hurdles. This time it fell through the cracks.

I envisioned my summer to be full of mixed martial arts training, creative writing, freelance work and travel. Mostly training to compete this year. I thought I was ready and couldn’t wait for it.

And then I got injured.

Not a specific injury like I initially thought. It was more like a physical body shut down in its entirety type of injury.

Seriously?

Timing is just the weirdest thing. Why Now?! And what does it mean?

Nothing most likely. It just means that I pushed too hard and didn’t recover after each session the right way.

Art by
Kumi Yamashita

So now I’m stuck without my addiction and get to suffer for it. Pretty dramatic. But it has been the only activity that allows me to breathe and clear my mind daily. Without it, I’ve reverted to an unhappy self.

I’m indecisive and negative. There’s “cant’s” and “won’t” in my daily vocabulary again. I’m in dislike with my own presence.

Usually I run away when it gets this bad. Like a teenager who wants attention and storms out of a room.

Sometimes I think that if I were to just have children, I would be forced to suck it up and tend to them. They would be my world and worth the sacrifice to nurture and love. Remember love? Like my boyfriend, he is love.

But wait. You need to be mentally capable and financially stable in order to raise a human being.

So, what’s left is this lingering self-hatred that just needs to evaporate already. Shut up. Stop with the why me tyranny. And perhaps you might find something worth living for. Like the universe.

The vast amount of empty space is more than just room for thought. What if it’s there to keep your mind open and clear? And the stars and galaxies are daily achievable milestones you can reach every second of every day that you decide to be okay.

As seen from Space – NASA

Forwards or backwards. No matter what. When you realize that the minute you look up at the sky directly above you. Especially at night. You realize there is always a star directly above you. No matter how far or close it is. It shines directly onto you no matter where you stand.

Suddenly, your problems aren’t as heavy as you thought they were. You wake up to your child’s laughter and smile. Drive patiently to your meeting and drink your coffee. Stand outside your home for a minute just to take a breather. Tune your guitar, pick up the damn thing, and play. All because you can, and you will. The universe said so.

M.

Job hopping – it’s a thing and here’s why you should do it!

A sea of work 🤸‍♀️

We’ve all grown up hearing the same rhetoric when it comes to getting a job right after college. “Make sure you have a good resume that stands out from the rest” and “have you researched your employer? You have to be ready for that interview”. Oh and one of my favorites! The famous “Don’t have gaps of no work or multiple jobs because it looks BAD in a resume”.  With the guidance of society, young adult you went out into the world inspired to take on the challenges ahead. You had your $40,000.00 – $250,000.00 degree in one hand and your internship or part-time work experience held in the other. For most of you, this was enough to land you your dream job and begin dedicating the rest of your life to one specialty. For those of you with this reality, it is a wonderful achievement to hold under your belt.

For the rest? What I’ve come to realize is that, for the REST of the not so lucky people, they have faced some heavy roadblocks along the way. I’ve heard stories like “this was not what I thought the medical field was going to be” to “I get paid $16.00 an hour in a field I didn’t go to school for because I can’t get hired as a ______.”

My job background can be summed up in the image above. That’s just a handful of jobs I’ve held in the past and present. I’ve scooped up ice cream, pre-tested eyes and moved millions of dollars into different accounts. I have experience building websites and marketing, and once interpreted for a high-profile rape case between an attorney and a client. I’m here to tell you why these random jobs inadvertently became the best decision of my life.

I learned that your work ethic and value as a person overpowers any reason as to why you’d think you can’t switch job paths or careers. I’ve been frightened to my core after leaving a job. However, it was taking that leap time and time again that showed me how powerful a person can be when you “hustle” your way into new territory. Switching your job because your unhappy or you want to earn more money are VALID reasons to pursue other things. Especially in your twenties.

Having multiple jobs taught me about people in general. My co-workers. A lot of them were unhappy where they were but could not take the same leap because truthfully, bills need to be paid and families need to be fed. I can fully understand the reasoning behind staying and it has been a motivation for me as well to move on. Society has taught us that we should have a family right away, settle down and buy a home. When you think about it, how odd is it to rush through school while accruing that debt, and then say “let’s double that debt” by getting all this? By the time we are reaching our 30s, we find ourselves committed to spending the rest of our life in the negative paying for living. American consumerism.

The employment system for any field is practically set up in the exact same way so that we can never move on. It doesn’t matter how much we make and where. We live in a world where money circulates and dictates our decisions. So, it’s no wonder that most of us stay in the same job for the rest of our lives. They set up obstacles so that we have no other option.

I’m here to say that you shouldn’t hesitate to switch your life around. Anything can be learned. Whether it’s in a job or just a habit in general. Choice is strength. Even in your 30s, you can make the leap. Our generation is fortunate to have access to unlimited information online. Find ways to create the life you want.

Just to clarify, I’m not here to undermine people who have a stable job. I’ve also met great people who love their job and wouldn’t have it any other way. The idea is that if that isn’t you, you should be encouraged to look for something else. Go try something new. Go back to school to get a B.A. in something else. Go to another country and work abroad to figure it out. Whatever it takes to say, “I can work here and make a difference. I’d be happy”.

M.

Reminder – I create for you, then me.

Sunday nights use to drain me the most. Knowing that I was going to face yet another week of desk work while my heart deteriorated.

So, what’s the excuse this time? I’ve been fighting long and hard to create the world I want to be in. This weekend was a reminder of what I will never have control over.

Like my parents visiting on separate days because they will never be able to be in the same room with each other.

Like the fact that I depend on training physically in order to be free of my internal emotional aches.

Like getting numb is a part of my life forever and everything that I do from here on out is just finding ways to alleviate it.

I also began to think about how artists are perceived by the public. As if they are these selfish creatures thinking of nothing but themselves. Complaining about everything and “feeling” too much. If you have a fucked-up life than you’re the ideal candidate for creativity, right?

The truth? I hate being in the public eye and tried my best to stay out of it. I liked being a ghost because nothing mattered to me. I smiled every day and would invite friends out so that they could mingle. I liked seeing others happy. It made me feel like I was a part of something. My fucked-up life may have given me a tool for creativity. But it doesn’t define me as an artist. I did this because I know pain is universal. I can’t think of a single human who hasn’t suffered. It’s the musicians, the singers, the painters the graphic designers, the writers, etc.…  that know how to channel an emotion and create something visual or audible for you to relate to.

At least for myself, that’s why I finally decided to pursue this. Why box up feelings? Why pretend to smile when you’re having a shitty day? Why do we commit our children to be educated and ready for a career but fail to teach emotional management?

I don’t know. Maybe some of you already know this. Maybe some of you do not agree.

At the end of each day when you’re getting ready to sleep, you take your demons with you. I can tell you from experience that letting them out throughout the day can give you a more peaceful night’s sleep.

And for now, I’ll continue to write. For peace of mind and to hold your hand and say, let’s keep going.

M.

Living on the Boarder

A quick glance at a first-generation Mexican American woman living in Fullerton, California with an extensive line of relatives in Michoacán Mexico – an internal cultural struggle and adaptation to finding yourself from the eyes of a natural spiritual seeker. Challenging and beautiful.

I recently took yet another trip to visit family located in the center of
Tancítaro, Michoacán Mexico. It is the heart of avocado production; a business my uncle Jorge created from scratch who eventually became the president of agriculture development of the state of Michoacán. Mexicans are a proud race and as such we are over the top proud of our name Viveros which embodies the accomplishments my family has had over the years in the fields of the avocado industry. It is a representation of our determination to better living and the outstanding work ethic we all hold so dearly as a unit.


Tancítaro, Michoacán

I was received by my aunt’s delicious mole and an endless number of hugs and welcoming. It’s a tradition whenever the “gringas” show up to what was once our grandparents’ home who are no longer with us.

It wasn’t always like this. See, my parents were looking for opportunity and a better life when they came to USA back in the mid-80s. They suffered in extreme poverty and violence at a very young age while living in Mexico. They took a chance and came here to try to live peacefully. That was their goal and purpose in life: survival. So, when my father, illiterate and unable to speak the language, struggled his way into becoming a stable truck driver, his goals were met. My mother had abandoned her entire family to get away from the violence she faced. She did her best in raising three children alone with a man she met twice before getting married. It was the only escape she could see at the end of the tunnel.

Fast forward to my life today. I’d like to think of myself as an educated fast-paced learner with hunger for knowledge and growth. I never knew what it was like to not eat for three days straight. I never knew what it was like to work at the age of 8 to try to provide for my siblings. I never knew what it felt like to be afraid of being deported and discriminated against because I didn’t have “papers”. This was their world and my world has been completely different because of their sacrifice.

My connection with my parents and feeling what they feel has been both a blessing and a curse. Painful experiences can damage one’s soul. Not many can recover from it or know how. A blessing because I get to see and live both sides of the coin. Visiting family brings me so much joy and reminds me of my roots. It brings warmth and a reminder of how important family is. Sometimes I feel like Mexico is my home and that it’s where I belong.

At the same time, I can’t imagine living there. The dangers of the civil war going on are real. The comfort of an American lifestyle was the peace my parents wanted for me. I find myself constantly confused about what I am most, Mexican or American.  My heart stays with my family in Mexico but my strength carries over to the U.S. determined to become something more significant.

I want to bring more to the table and create purpose with intent. I want to add “published writer” and “humanitarian” to our name. I want to give back to communities and help those who need it the most. In the U.S. and in Mexico. We shouldn’t just learn and move on. I believe that for all of us, our purpose in life is not only to break bad habits, but to make sure we all rise together as individuals and as one.  Whether you are a first-generation Mexican American man or a fifth-generation American woman, we are all responsible for each other’s lives, not just our own. First help yourself. But, don’t ever forget to help others second. That’s the most important action for slowly creating an active utopia and ending self-sabotage for future generations to come.

M.

What it’s like to live with PTSD – why it shouldn’t define you


Yosemite, CA

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.”

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

What it’s like for me?

I came home one night ready to work on some songs when it happened. Just another episode.

The trigger caused an intense overwhelming sensation of heartbreak and fear. I started crying profusely and crawled into a ball. My thoughts ran faster than my mind could keep up with. I started listing every human being in the planet I’ve interacted with and how they’ve hurt me. I plotted how NOT to let anyone get near me again. I wanted to run away like a curious child who’s trying to explore new grounds. Except I wasn’t curious or exploring. I just needed to hide. I couldn’t stop feeling like someone was attacking me.  I was in danger and helpless. That fear was penetrating through my pores and I couldn’t shrink more than I already had. A grown woman curled up into a ball alone in her apartment.

I wasn’t being attacked. No one was threatening my existence but myself. But this happens from time to time. I’ve learned to understand it. Sometimes it lasts for a few hours. Other days it can last up to a week. No matter how long it lasts, I’ve learned that there will always be an end to it. I’ll eventually find tranquility in myself and carry on.

The recovery after an episode isn’t always the same either. Sometimes its drastic. I go to an MMA class and immediately after I’m high on adrenaline again. I’m not afraid anymore and life continues.  Other days it takes more effort to snap out of it. I become numb afterward and have trouble expressing happiness or excitement. I don’t feel love; for others or myself. My heart is boxed up with such a strong wall the if Trump were to find out about it, he’d manage to steal it from me.

Wow – first joke I’ve made since it happened so that’s a good sign!

Blogging is therapeutic.  Although not for everyone, it helps put your mind at ease when you release it onto a page. And if I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it again. Awareness is KEY. Its essential. It’s life. Its living. It transforms and helps you become the strongest version of yourself. Awareness means I am not PTSD. I am me.

Cancun, MX

I’m aware of the circumstances I’ve been dealt with. I think that if you or someone you know has similar issues, you can help in many ways. There’s this idea out there that bugs me to my core. The “good vibes only” and “surround yourself with positivity only” type of mentality. I think that’s great to an extent. If you yourself are having issues with negative surroundings, I think it is good to surround yourself with people who will enrich your light. However, I think it’s a mistake to shun those who are dealing with negativity. It means you don’t understand what that person is going through, and you rather secure your well-being than there’s. It means being selfish before lending a hand. It means contributing to an increase in suicides and violence. All because we as a society think that negative thoughts are poison and should be ignored or fought against instead of understood. For some situations, that may in fact be the case. But expressing hurt and pain almost always has nothing to do with the receiving end. There’s deeper entail in that process that people need to pay attention to. It’s all around us. In political affairs, international diplomacy, medicine and technology, warfare, education, on the streets etc… our children are growing up in that same pool of diversity.

Awareness in yourself is the first step and the “end game” is having awareness around you. Understanding what a stranger or friend might be going through and helping in any way you know how. It can be as simple as showing support for the person who lost their first soccer game. You can call a friend and express interest on how they are doing. Help a stranger in line at the supermarket instead of giving them a nasty look for holding up the line. Pull up a chair for the elderly. Stop the gossip. Don’t just hear but listen. Little acts of kindness bring us closer together, the damaged and the non. That’s all most of us want anyway. To be understood and be heard. Making a difference doesn’t have to be largescale. It’s a positive twist to the domino effect and eventually the more we know each other, the better relationships we’ll have.

M.