by José Paul Molina, Youth Community Member
Back in August, I was listening to a Haux song, “Salt,” and I misheard the lyric: “you can’t be lost if you can’t be found,” to “you can’t be loved if you can’t be found.” And suddenly, I was mind-blasted about this utter truth. I started thinking and meandering about the love I have received in relation to the things I wanted to be found and discerned about me and concluded that the condition of being “found” requires volition and honesty.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I always tried to hide things that I love in fear of what the heteronormative society might do in response. And by doing so, I unconsciously hid my being from myself and others. At a young age, I did not get to freely explore the space my identity enthused for as much as I should have. Now, when people do find me, I’m not exactly myself. When we meet and depart, I’m elsewhere. Hidden deeper inside. And alas, they never truly “find” me because I never gave them the chance to.
You are what you love, but when you soon forget the loved things you hide, you find yourself trying to remember those very things that impassioned you since you were little.
Moment by moment, I’m finding and patching myself again from the strictures of society. I hope you let more people find you. But if you want to be found, be found as your true self. Otherwise, you will never be truly known. Make yourself present at your family table, take a friend’s invitation to dine out, or attend an organizational event. Amidst the awkwardness and anxiety, make a presence. You deserve to be found− and experienced− and found once again by the same people, and by new. By letting yourself be found, you find others who share common passions.
My voice, these words, and this message have not only found you. They have also embraced you without rejection. Now, find yours to give and be embraced by others.
by Wendy Cabil, B.A., Client Stakeholder
Once upon a time, three forces were engaged in a discussion. Here’s a snapshot of a special moment involving Hope, Wellness, and Recovery. Hope explained the importance of its role in the universe. Hope said, “without me, there is no need for the both of you to exist,” speaking to Wellness and Recovery.
“How so?” The two inquired. “Without us (Wellness and Recovery), you Hope would have nothing to strive for and demonstrate your ability. We represent action-oriented results to a productive life.” “Perhaps, you two do make a difference at some point”, stated Hope. “Of course, we do!” They both shouted. “As a matter of fact,” Wellness added, “I am progressive and on-going.” Recovery interrupted with “Amen!”
Then Recovery continued with “But I represent the process.” “Without me, how do you measure your progress, Wellness? And how do you gauge your condition Hope? I offer the context in which Hope inspires Wellness while keeping you two on the same page and connected. I also allow time the freedom to interact in the process so that we are united as one in a symphony.”
“Enough of this debate,” said Recovery. “Instead, let us focus our energies positively rather than challenge the importance of each other’s contribution. We need to spread the message to the world that Hope, Wellness and Recovery are essential keys to mankind living a fulfilled life no matter what stage of life he or she is experiencing.” “Also noteworthy,” added Hope, “is that we are freely given.”
by Helen Salcido, Community Member
My name is Helen. I am an 80-year-old retired librarian. I am also a mother of three beautiful daughters and four amazing grandchildren. I grew up in a rural area in San Bernardino with every possible type of fruit trees that you can imagine.
This Pandemic has been very difficult. I miss getting together with my friends. Being retired, I was used to having a fully-booked calendar with many appointments for lunches with friends and birthday celebration dinners. Some call it being a “social butterfly,” but to me it’s all about loving and sharing with the people who are dear to me. As Barbra Streisand’s song says: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Until this pandemic gets under control, there are many things that we can do to take care of ourselves. Here are my top choices:
• Go walking with one of my neighbors (I walk with a cane, but little by little I have built up my endurance to walk up to three miles daily)
• Sit in the sun to relax and contemplate the beauty around me
• Keep up with old friends by chatting on the phone, including my cousins color in my inspirational coloring book with my crayons
• Read novels
• I give thanks to God that I woke up today, I’m healthy, I’m alive and I’m so blessed
• Spend time with my dog
Out of all these, the most important thing is love. Do not deprive yourself of it at any cost, like insecurities and your own fabricated excuses. If you love someone, show it. Do not keep it to yourself. You never know how long you or that person will be around. Do not risk living with such a regret. Embrace life and embrace love.
by Jorge Partida, Psy.D., Chief of Psychology
My fondest memories of my childhood in Mexico are infused with the abundance of simplicity. As an example, the celebration of Christmas Eve at home would include an endless dinner with the adults gathered laughing, dancing and singing all night. I would stay up as late as my small body could hold, enjoying vicariously the laughter and dancing of the adults. Eventually, sleep would win over and I would fall asleep across two chairs put together to form a makeshift bed. I would incorporate the sound of music and stomping of feet as my parents and uncles danced to sones, cumbias and mambo. My father would pick me up and carry me to my bed, reminding me to leave my shoes outside the door.
In the morning, I would awaken as early as I could and rush to receive the simple gift that filled my shoes to overflow with mandarin oranges, colaciones (hard pastel-colored candies with anise seed center) and mazapanes (peanut candy.) The gift was simple but so much appreciated and celebrated because the giver was said to be the baby Jesus himself. I would think of His little hand having touched the sweet delicacies and would enjoy every single bite with prolonged savoring so as to retain a connection to that miracle filling my shoes. We always knew that the big present would inevitably come later on the day of the three kings, January 6th. Every child would wake up on Three Kings Day to receive their wooden foot scooters, or bikes, dolls, toy cars and other shiny, trendy prizes. We would all enjoy playing and sharing the big presents from the Kings. For me and for most children I knew, the shoes filled with the simple presents from the baby himself meant so much more than the big, shiny gifts received by the Kings.
This simple memory remains at the core of my heart and soul. Through this cultural tradition, I have learned to value simplicity and appreciate the giver. The small and humble hand that gives with heart often is infused with more significance and meaning than the expensive and often disposable presents we tend to forget in days. May we always have the heart and soul to appreciate the abundance of kindness and simplicity.
About This Blog
The project has its roots in the Cultural Competency Committee’s “Share your Culture” initiative introduced by Co-Chairs, Mr. Sunnie Whipple and Ms. Bernice Mascher. This initiative engaged community members, consumers, family members, peers and staff alike in presenting on different aspects of their culture; thereby fostering cross-cultural learning, understanding, sensitivity, and appreciation.
The Cultural Traditions and Connections Blog came out of the need to connect with our committee members, inclusive of consumers, family members, peers, advocates, community members, colleagues and co-workers. It was fueled by the need to tell everyone that we care about what is happening within our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, our country, and our world.
We can all share and find nurturing connections by engaging in reading heartwarming articles and reflections that help us relax our tired minds, draw smiles across our faces, and comfort our spirits with a sense of collective caring found in the richness of who we are as human beings.
This blog’s content is managed by the members and staff of the Cultural Competency Committee.