Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Roots


It’s all about the roots! Our roots don’t pull us down, they enable us to grow farther away to explore the unknown skies! #roots #trees #lovenature #mindfulness #deepbreathing #relax #selfcare

Sunday, August 4, 2019

We Are In It Together!

Another night I couldn't sleep and one more morning I didn't want to wake up! Two shootings. in less than 24 hours, killed 29 people and left 53 injured in two different states while the dear ones and well wishers mourn in the rest of the country! It is hard to even imagine the pain and sorrow the family and friends of the dead and injured. The impact of this trauma will be lifelong for some, a wound that will never heal. And then there are the first responders who leave the comfort of their homes to reduce the suffering, they too will be impacted psychologically.

We know mass shootings in America are on the rise. If you click on this link , you can see data on the mass shootings since the horrific event in Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012 where 26 people were killed including 20 young children. Nothing seems to shake the leaders in the United States enough to take concrete actions to stop this madness. It is outrageous to think that the US makes the most sophisticated weapons and sells them to the world and yet we have not been able to develop even an average plan to keep our children safe. We can do better, America!

Mass shooting alone can be a traumatic but, if it is compounded with chronic poverty, substance abuse, challenges related to migration, the impact can be much worse. Healing in such circumstances will require long term support. One cannot expect 3-5 therapy sessions will resolve all the issues. Multi-tiered support that includes professional care as well as community and family support would be needed to facilitate recovery. We need to build capacity of family members, friends, teachers, faith-based leaders in basic psychosocial skills such as active listening, validating feelings, facilitating grieving, and celebrating survival. It won't be easy to move forward alone, we need to mobilize people to help each other in the long run.

If we leave these wounds unattended or partially healed, they can lead to more hurtful and hateful people in future. It is our responsibility as a society to come together and nurse these wounds until all the souls are healthy and ready to move forw
\ard. Unless our own are directly affected we forget easily. We cannot do that anymore. If you cannot take direct action, please support organizations that are helping. Research who is doing a good work and support them! We are all in it together!

Events like this challenge our faith too! One wonders where is God and why couldn't He stop this massacre? However, the reality is that God is hurting too and He needs you and I to take his compassion to all those who are hurting. I had a little conversation with Him in the church today, this is what He told me:

I am also crying today,
And I cry everyday,
When evil triumphs,
And darkness has a greater say!

Today I need my people,
To carry my love and mercy,
To those who are hurting,
To shower my grace on the thirsty! 

Let your prayers turn into action,
Let goodness have legs,
Rise people and come together,
Wounded humanity begs! 

Take my word to the weary,
Let them know they're loved,
Let each one of them feel,
Strengthened and touched!  

I invite you to be my miracle,
Among the hurting people,
Bring healing and comfort,
To the most vulnerable!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Child I Met On The Plane!

A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting on the plane to fly out of McAllen, Texas.  A young boy came and sat on the seat next to me. He looked young but I really didn't think of anything more than that. I sat there reminiscing on the work I was involved in the last few days until the boy asked me in Spanish to help him with his seat belt. I looked at his innocent face and helped him. We smiled and I asked how old he was. He said, 15. 

All of a sudden, I realized I was sitting next to an unaccompanied minor who didn't speak English and was on his first plane ride ever. I could see he was nervous and yet courageous. I asked him where was he coming from, little did I know I was opening a door to a story that will never leave me. 

This child had been away from home for two months. During this time, he had crossed multiple international borders on foot and on the bus, had been separated from his father, followed a stranger, crossed into the US unaccompanied, detained in a prison and then spent time in a half way home with strangers. He was now headed to his mother and two siblings who he had not seen in six years! During his time in the prison, they were given frozen burritos for lunch and dinner everyday. The officials would often come in the middle of the night, wake everyone up banging on the beds and switching on all the lights. He was not allowed to contact anyone not even his mother. What a horrendous experience for a child! 

As he continued to tell his story casually, I was swinging on the pendulum between hope and despair. On one hand, the child was on his way to his mother but on the other hand this boy had lived at least two months of hell and there was no guarantee that things will be ok where he was going. I asked him what was it like back in his home country, he said most children were forced to join gangs and many had lost their lives to violence. It was not easy to go to school and stay safe. He said he wants to study to become a health care personnel. In spite of all, he still had hope especially now that he had a chance to go to a school in the US. 

The idea here is not to put the entire blame on the US government, his home country is equally responsible for not providing him with an environment where he had the appropriate developmental opportunities. His parents didn't have the will or the resources for a proper handover. Officials in the prison didn't have the will or the understanding of treating this child with dignity by letting him sleep at night, letting him contact his mother, or giving him culturally appropriate food. So many psychological wounds, some will heal soon and some will probably take a lifetime to heal especially if the child does not get the right support. 

I often wonder what will help children like this boy to recover from their ordeal and move forward in their lives effectively? I wonder if they don't get the appropriate support they need, would they be able to make positive contributions to the society that we all are part of? Would the cost of helping these children be higher than not helping them? Any child, migrant or not, deserves support and guidance. Needless to say, those who have lived the hardships need the help even more to heal from the adverse experiences. And if we can provide that help, we absolutely should! I feel we all have some role to play starting from learning about the issues, raising awareness, advocating on behalf of the children and taking action! 

According to UNICEF, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted, forced to flee brutal conflict and extreme poverty across the globe. BBC has a good article explaining the situation and some statistics related to migrant children coming into the United States. This article also includes heartbreaking videos about the struggles of the children, for some these struggles have ended in death at such a tender age. Last year, I was talking to a children's advocate from Houston and she told me how many children especially girls are immediately picked up by the sex traffickers and sold in different parts of the US.  Many children, especially boys are recruited by gangs even before they reach the US borders! Unfortunately, we don't have a sound tracking system to understand the magnitude of the problem.

There is a lot that needs to be corrected in our system in addition to not separating the children from their parents. We must be able to monitor the children once they are released from the detention centers not only to ensure their safety but also to ensure they are receiving the long term psychosocial support they need to heal and grow up to be responsible citizens. Often times, it is not very expensive, it is about building and strengthening the natural support system around the child. It is about teaching children and their caregivers basic resilience building skills such as articulating their feelings, active listening, deep breathing, strengthening existing positive coping mechanisms such as praying or playing and seeking help from the local resources such as teachers, faith-based leaders and/or school counselors when possible. Building their resilience will be good for them and for the country!

I would urge you all to learn more about the painful experiences of the children who are fleeing from conflicts, violence and extreme poverty! We can either blame and look the other way or do something at least for those who have found their way to the land where we live! Supporting them will also help  building a more harmonious society where we and our own children live!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Gratitude!


Did you stop to count your top 10 blessings today? If not, take a minute and do it now and let the feeling of gratitude linger for the rest of the day! Oh, and please don't forget give back :-) 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Keep the faith!

In the darkest moments, keep the faith. Even when inner peace seems to have left you, try to focus on actions rather than fear that the situation might be posing. It always get better, trust me, always even if there is a new low before it gets better! Just like tears come after smiles, joy comes after sadness. So many spiritual books talk about no emotion is permanent and no situation is here to stay forever. Same is with people, they come and go. Some leave early some stay for longer but all make an exit eventually and sometimes it is our turn to go. But regardless of who left, it gets better! Just keep breathing, hoping, taking one day at a time, maybe one moment at a time. Set little goals like brushing your teeth, making that phone call or cooking the dish that you always liked! And keep moving forward taking baby steps, slowly, maybe resting a little but keep moving on! Know you are around because there is a deeper reason! The higher power is invested in you even if you cannot see it clearly right now! Sending a big hug to you whoever you are! You will make it :-) 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

My Cup Runneth Over!


This poem is a reminder that God has my back! There are so many instances in my life when I was saved from an imminent danger, was successful even when I was not fully prepared, or received peace in the middle of chaos! Trusting God never failed me! His definition and timing for my success may have been different than mine but it is always better than what I anticipated. I have learned that I can always hope for a better tomorrow in the middle of darkness and fear! He has blessed me more than I deserve and beyond my imagination! For me God is beyond any description we read in books, His love goes beyond human understanding and His greatness is the greatest mystery!

He gives me peace,
Even when I cannot comprehend.
He gives me victory,
Even when I have no weapon!

He makes my paths straight,
Even when I am lost,
He sprinkles little blessings,
Even when I am at my worst!

He makes me win the race,
Even when I am stumbling,
He makes me His instrument of peace,
Even when I am struggling!

He lets me shine,
Even when I am focusing on fears
He raises me up,
Even when I am drowning in tears!

He makes me His perfect miracle,
Even when I am deficient,
He makes my cup overflow,
Even when I don't have sufficient! 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

You Did It For Me Too!

This post is dedicated to all those who spoke up, stood up, helped the powerless, never stopped dreaming and dared to love even when it seemed impossible and became unbearable. I also want thank all of you who were before me because you gave me the legs to stand on, who are around me because you are the heart that beats in my chest and who will continue to come into being forevermore because you are my wings to the limitless sky! We all feed into each other and make each other stronger and better! 


Every time you stood up
for the rights of all,
You did it for me too!

Every time you questioned
the social norms,
You did it for me too!

Every time you dared
to be different,
You did it for me too!

Every time you suffered
pain and humiliation,
You did it for me too!

Every time you broke
the glass ceiling,
You did it for me too!

Every time you fell,
got up and moved forward,
You did it for me too!

Every time you extended your hand
to pick up a fellow human being,
You did it for me too!

Every time you shared 
an opportunity with the marginalized,
You did it for me too!

Every time you covered
someone's shame with dignity,
You did it for me too!

Every time you magnified
the voice of the lowly,
You did it for me too!

Every time you defeated
oppression and injustice,
You did it for me too!

Every time you raised
the banner of equality,
You did it for me too!




Roots

It’s all about the roots! Our roots don’t pull us down, they enable us to grow farther away to explore the unknown skies! #roots #trees ...