To all those who have taken a stand to courageously step out of their own comfort zone
Wicked winds greeted me as I stepped off the boardwalk onto the sandy beach near my home. It was about 5pm and was geared for my 4-mile beach jog, a workout I have grown to love more than any other workout I have ever practiced. But as I felt the wind in my face, noticed the dark gray clouds looming above, and saw the choppy ocean, I knew it would be a challenge.
I knew the sand would be soft causing my barefoot trot to be almost unbearable. I also knew that the wind would slow me down by about 50% and that I would possibly get caught in a torrential thunderstorm. It was in that moment that my inauthentic self-kicked in and the part of me that is lazy, unmotivated, and scared took over. Hesitating, I seriously considered getting back on my bike and abandoning my jog.
I remembered my commitment.
Then I remembered my commitment the commitment I had made to myself to get in shape and to put my wellbeing first. The commitment was powerful and there was nothing [short of actual lightning> that was going to get in my way! So off I went and, yes, the sand was soft, and my ankles ached and, yes, the wind slowed me down by more than 50% but no, there was no torrential thunderstorm. Instead, the universe rewarded me with the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen in my entire life. The full gigantic arc spread across the entire sky and brought to me a gift from nature that I will never forget.
Recently I wrote about Courage being an integral attribute necessary for developing the ability to take risks, and I created that each letter in this word stands for a key concept that will contribute to this ability. I posited that, Success is risky business, and you must learn to take calculated risks to succeed in life. Courage stands for Commitment, which is about having a vision and staying the course; it’s about having a purpose, a place where you know you want to end up.
Commitment is critical because without a clear and focused effort involving ACTION, desires [or goals] cannot be crystallized in the material world. You must really want something and be passionate about making it happen in order to be willing to, or even to be capable of going through the challenges of obtaining it as well as overcoming the obstacles that get in your way. First comes the knowing of what the goal [or purpose, intention, etc.] is, followed by the loving of that goal, then the understanding of the risk, which involves being clear of what you must lose. Finally, you can decide about whether taking the risk is worth it.
When I think about an example of commitment and courage, there is a community that clearly stands out in my mind as exhibiting a very high level of both attributes the Hispanic immigrant. Of course, we can include all immigrants in this conversation. Hispanic immigrants today, have created an environment of very high risk for those that are seeking refuge or movement away from severe lack of opportunity and even danger that may exist in their motherlands. These individuals are often willing to die for a better quality of life.
My parents were immigrants.
When my parents came to the United States almost 50 years ago, they did so legally and yet, they did take a risk. They were not escaping from anything, and they were in no way being persecuted or marginalized, still they had little actual knowledge of what awaited them. Simply, they believed that their children could get a better education in the United States than in their homeland. So, they left everything and everyone behind and embarked on a journey that indeed transformed their lives and the lives of their children forever. It was a courageous act to move your family from a secure environment to an uncertain place, where you have no idea how things will go and where you do not speak the language and where you will have no familial support.
This scenario has played itself repeatedly in the history of the United States, from the moment Columbus discovered America to the waves of European immigrants that came through Ellis Island. People left the countries they were born in for many reasons. But almost always, the reason they came to the United States is because of the dream and promise of freedom and opportunity. These dreams are what have made our nation grow and be strong. Today’s Hispanic immigrants high risk and uncertain reward.
The story of today’s Hispanic immigrant is slightly different. Many of today’s Hispanic immigrants face a very high risk/uncertain reward when making the decision to traverse a country’s border illegally and make his or her way to what they believe will be some sort of freedom. The men, women (often pregnant) and children that are risking their lives to come to the United States are doing so in an environment that is not very welcoming, a country that is in a kind of political and social confusion where the need for power, along with economic issues and greed, influence decisions from the leaders of our country that might otherwise be more intelligent.
I don’t know what the answer to these problems is, but I pray for our country to have compassion and to make decisions that are good for everyone involved decisions that are intelligent and wise and honor these courageous individuals and humanity.
The community of Hispanic immigrants and the heritage that we have brought to this country the beauty and depth of our music, our dance, our food, our love for life, our passion for family, our commitment to tradition and education have enriched this nation and contributed to its growth in more ways than can possibly be listed here.
The businesses we have started, the companies we have led and labored in, the music we have created, the lives we have made a difference for within the communities in which we live and work, the happiness and security we have fostered and created for our children and our families these are the rewards for the risks we have taken!
Let’s salute each single individual that has ever taken a stand to courageously step out of their own comfort zone to reach for a dream, because when dreams come true, they nourish the soul of humanity.