Identity

Not long ago, a friend whose parents are of different races made a comment concerning her identity. She identifies herself as one race with the public, but I feel that she is a bit confused when she is not totally accepted by those she identifies with. I am a product of multiple races, as are many of my friends – most who will admit it, but as I do, I just leave it for those who question my origins to ask if they are curious enough. How do you identify yourself?

Several years ago, while living in a northwest city of the U.S. State of Wisconsin, I had befriended a younger adult man at the business where I worked. A few weeks after meeting and working with him, we happened to see each other at a local gas station and started a conversation. Somewhere in that conversation he asked me about my racial background. I chuckled (as I usually do when asked this), and proceeded to tell him about my racial heritage. We spoke some more, then we parted company. We continued our friendship up till the time I left the area.

In other places I’ve lived, such as Chicago, many have identified me as a Latino – by word of mouth per my mother’s side of the family, there is a Portuguese line as well. My point here is, I allow others to determine what they choose because I only consider myself as a person who lives in a diverse world.

Speaking of Chicago, years ago a friend and I were dining in one of my favorite restaurants in a northern suburb of Chicago. A young and very nice college student was our waitress. By all appearances, she was a young caucasian girl with very fair (not pale) skin, but she had curly hair. We had established a comfortable rapport with her, so I asked which European country her family came from. Her answer surprised me: she stated that she knew her family has a mix of Black (African) dating back a couple of generations or so, and she like me, didn’t make a big deal of it – it’s there, but I am who I am.

Now, I live in Mexico and not long ago, a student of mine started a conversation about identity here in Mexico. His statement was that most Mexicans have an identity crisis. This is because after the Spaniards came and conquered, they managed to kill – whether by force, or by contagious diseases, many of the indigenous people here, then ‘intermarried’ causing a lot of offspring which has resulted in a nation of far more mixed races than indigenous. Along with the Spanish are the French who wanted to claim Mexico, so there are mixtures of Spanish, French and because of escaped slaves from the U.S. and the Mexican-American “wars”, there are other mixtures. This has been written about in a book by Octavio Paz, “The Labyrinth of Solitude“. Here in Mexico, the people are generally loving and accepting of most everyone, with one exception (still being a general statement), they don’t like the “Indians”, or as we might say, the indigenous people. I suspect it’s because they hold on to their “native ways”.

identityFor me and those I’ve met who have interracial backgrounds, I’ve found that those of us who accept our “diversity”, we lead healthy lives when we accept our diversity as a unique aspect of life. We have less stress about who will accept us, how we appear to others and when we accept those who accept us for who and what we are rather than who and what we want others to see. We see more value in what we have to share with others, rather than having a concern about how we appear.

In the U.S.A., there still exists a division of races, partially because of its history, but now because many feel that there is something to be lost if they drop that identity. Sadly, many do not see themselves as “Americans”, but they feel the need to place an adjective before the word American. Here in Mexico and other Latin American countries, those who are born there, no matter the racial mixture, are addressed as their nationality – no adjectives implied. Does a “racial caste system” still exist? Yes, in some countries, for sure, but others will address you according to how you present yourself, even if you have to apply confidence, not forcefully, but confidently with love and acceptance for everyone. The moment others sense an air of arrogance in you, you may have lost your plea for acceptance.

If you are one who has a multi-racial, multi-cultural background, my advice is to accept and love yourself (not in a narcissistic manner), and focus on what your role in society is, and those who matter will accept you and your uniqueness, and a happy life will be yours.

I hope this has helped.

How I Became Independent In Thought and Actions

Over this past weekend I had a whole list of things that I wanted to write about, but I couldn’t settle on one subject… but when I thought I had, the subject didn’t have the “fire” that I usually feel when I write.  I wanted to have a post published a few hours ago, but still hadn’t found “that” one thing to write about.

Then, while involved in a chore here at home, I had a thought about why I’ve become so “different” from those I grew up with and many of those that I’ve befriended throughout the years.

I can’t relate what others see in/of me, but that’s just the way life is.  Our experiences are our own, and no one knows or even understands our experiences; they are for the individual.  Our communities may benefit or suffer because of our experiences, but still, those experiences are ours to live and understand, many times, alone.

In the 1960’s, there was a great change in society as we knew it in the 1950’s.  My brothers generation and mine came along when growing your hair long, wearing non-conventional clothes… in short, bucking the system of society was commonplace.  We didn’t want the war in Viet Nam, races and cultures of all backgrounds wanted equality and so much more.  It was a time of social upheaval and liberation!  Many of us took-off on the road of discovery by traveling the country (and some, countries) to discover ourselves.  I was one of them.

Some of the things I learned on my road to discovery was:

  • I can make my own decisions and be confident that MY choices were and are good, not only for me, but for those around me:
  • I can stand on my own two feet and hold my head high – not from arrogance, but because I learned to trust in myself and our Source of life:
  • I learned that people of all cultures have a high-capacity for love, no matter what your background is:
  • I learned to know our Source through many silent hours of hitchhiking and wondering where I was and where I was going – never in fear, but in awe.

While I was remembering and reliving all of this, it dawned on me that this may be a reason many to this day don’t understand me, my words and intentions; why when I put so much emphasis on understanding G-d/Source outside the paradigm of religion, the understanding is lost.

In my days of youth long-lost, it also seemed that the general population was interested in learning, learning from one another as well as from books.  If I were to make an observation of present-day society, I’d say that natural curiosity, the thirst and hunger to understand has been lost to immediate gratification… the desire to have everything immediately.  If it sounds good, it must be right.  Few seem to study beyond the pale of emotional gratification.

In my youth, I thought that this would be an age where knowledge and wisdom would be held in high regard:  I’m sadly disappointed 😦

Recently a friend made a statement that has stayed with me, “You can not change prophecy.  What is written will come to pass.”  If this is true, what’s in store for us within the next two months, or next year?

One thing is for sure…

… we’ll be getting what we have given – we’ll get what we deserve.

 

91 Days and Counting

 

 

In just a tad over three months, we’ll experience the 21st day of December, 2012 – a day that is frightening a lot of people.  Fear that is ranging from thoughts of, “the end of the world”, “the end of the world as we know it”, and thoughts of Planet X/Nibiru coming, and to the more obscure – an alien invasion.  Here is my problem with all of this – it’s all based on –

FEAR!

What do people do when they’re afraid?  They over-react.  They buy and store guns, ammunition, an inordinate supply of food and so on.  How does anyone bring anything good out of fear of the unknown?  People are afraid of losing their possessions, but show in very obvious ways, they have no value for their inner-self.  There is no inner peace – and from what I see, most of these people have no idea what inner-peace is, or means.  Some that I have asked have responded with religious based answers.  In my lifetime, I’ve experienced a lot:  I’ve seen those that have professed strong religious beliefs when calm, but when shaken, they, in comparison, become incontinent babies.  Belief in a “book” is not the same as a relationship with your Creator – and/or knowing yourself.

I’ve seen and still see people who think that their Creator/G-d/Savior… is their genie in a bottle.  I often hear many say, “G-d will provide”, and “G-d will give me what I want,” “He will provide.”  In short, as long as their G-d (or gods) provide, they’re all good with that/those Being(s).  When they don’t get what they want, they resort to, “G-d has forsaken me.” For me, these people are spoiled brats!  Those of us that have participated in sports, been in the military, done more than go to school, college, university – usually on daddy’s and mommy’s dime, then straight into a “sweet” job/career know that to grow, you need to fail at somethings… you need to fall so you learn how to get up.  If you don’t fail at something, you don’t learn how to be self-sufficient, or even who and how to ask for help.

So, here are a few questions for you:  What are you focusing on?  Are you fearful of the unknown?  Are you fearful of the future and what it MAY bring?  If yes, why?

The photo to the right is your answer, but so many people don’t understand simple answers, so let me attempt to help a bit:  How you create a relationship with your G-d/gods is to constantly think and talk with Him/them – your thoughts become prayers: you come to know, understand and accept reality instead of delusions of grandeur… your present life and your future become calm, and fear leaves.  Answers come through your intuition that you learn to trust and you start learning more from those times you fall and get back up.

The best things in life are the simple things… and fear is complicated.

 

What We Think We Know and What Is

 

knowl·edge   [nol-ij]

noun

1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.
2. familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning: A knowledge of accounting was necessary for the job.
3. acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report: a knowledge of human nature.
4. the fact or state of knowing;  the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.
5. awareness, as of a fact or circumstance: He had knowledge of her good fortune.

wis·dom   [wiz-duhm]

noun

1. the quality or state of being wise;  knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
2. scholarly knowledge or learning: the wisdom of the schools.
3. wise  sayings or teachings; precepts.
4. a wise  act or saying.
5. ( initial capital letter ) Douay Bible . Wisdom of Solomon.

in·tel·li·gence   [in-tel-i-juhns]

noun

1. capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
2. manifestation of a high mental capacity: He writes with intelligence and wit.
3. the faculty of understanding.
4. knowledge of an event, circumstance, etc., received or imparted; news; information.
5. the gathering or distribution of information, especially secret information.
___________________________________________________________________

If you’re wondering why I keep posting definitions, the answer is easy:  for understanding to take place, everyone has to be “playing” by the same rules, or if you prefer, we have to have a mutual understanding of the language being used.  This is important.  Example:  Several years ago, I was engaged in a conversation with someone who at the beginning made it fairly interesting – until he tried to make a point that made me question what he was saying.  After questioning him, he stood by his definition of the word he was using, even after giving him the dictionary definition.  His stubbornness finally caused the conversation to be terminated.

For those that know me, I’m one that has always looked for consistencies and inconsistencies.  I question the inconsistencies to understand why.  Some answers come easily, others seem to be a lifetime of learning.

In short:

  • Knowledge is the accumulation of information:  I’m sure most of you have met many who have a vast storehouse of information, but seem to have no ability  to use it.
  • Wisdom is applying the accumulated information with experiences:  Having the knowledge and knowing how to use it.
  • Intelligence is having the ability to reason/think.

These definitions and actions serve us well in the physical world, but there is something more than what’s listed above – it’s that something that a great deal of us are experiencing now and even some of us have been “feeling” for the last week or two.

There are few things in our world that I subscribe to the notion of, “… it can’t be wrong if everyone is doing it,”  mainly because I’m not comfortable with the “mob” mentality.  When there’s a choice to be made, I decide for me, even if the decision has to take in consideration, ‘will my choice be good only for me, or will it be good for all concerned?’  With this being stated, what is going on?  Why do we “feel” or “sense” there is something going on, but it defies our “normal” rationale?

From my gathered information, my own experiences, I’ve come to an understanding that may change as I gather more information, but I’ll continue with this thought later.  While you wait, see what you can find 😉
All the best!

 

The Answer

 

As we approach yet another weekend, I thought I’d deviate a little from my “usual” and give you a poem to read and think about.

Also, thank you Tracie Louise for the beautiful photo and your permission to share it here!

Life teaches us
plenty
If we’re willing
to learn.
 
As I travel
this road
called life,
I’ve learned
what many
have either
forgotten,
or never learned.
 
So many
in our present
time
have come to believe
The answer
Is most
important.
 
Our generations
have focused
on perceived
Intelligence
by thinking
This wisdom
is measured
in the telling.
 
but so many
Do not
Understand
The question.
 
One cannot answer
Without understanding
The question.
 
Written and copyrighted by
03 August 2011