I didn’t really know English then. I was six or seven. I stood in front of my second grade classroom. No paper in hand. Words already memorized. I sang the songs I wrote in the corner of the room I shared with my parents. I sang. I sang with bangs and a cute little pony tail. My big eyes avoided looking at my friends. I sang songs I wrote at six or seven in a language that was new to me. I sang.
I went to a retreat this Saturday at the East Bay Meditation Center. The retreat focused on learning your life purpose. I already know my life purpose but sometimes I forget. Like when I am bored and procrastinating on facebook instead of writing. I went to remember my life purpose. I went to live it. One of my favorite exercises was an inquiry where two people get together. A asks a question, such as: What are you afraid of? B answers. A says thank you and repeats the question. I did this exercise with the girl sitting next to me. A stranger. I could have picked any stranger in a room full of over 60 people but we picked each other. She kept on asking me the same question. I kept on answering. I am afraid of not pushing myself hard enough. I am afraid of not believing. I am afraid of not having money. I am afraid of being afraid. I am afraid of, I am afraid of, I am afraid of. Nothing. Nada. I have no fears. Bring it on. Keep on asking because I am not afraid of anything! Oh, it was such a relief to be asked the same question and I didn’t have the lump in my throat and my heart wasn’t all wound up and I didn’t have tears in my eyes BECAUSE I have nothing to fear.
Our teacher talked about our core and our childhood and to really look at the things that we felt fullfilled with in our lives. That is when I remembered about my songwriting and singing. I remembered the José Martí poems I memorized and performed for my family. I remembered the lizards I caught in the backyards of Miami. I remembered the swimming and the imagining and the laughter and the stories. I liked to tell stories. I enjoyed thinking about the world and how to make it better. I constructed plans to help homeless people find homes and jobs and love and stability. When we did a group exercise and we talked about what things fulfilled us I said right now I am exactly how I was as a child except I am not as bratty. Maybe I might have my moments but you know I have been working on that. In my teen years, in my twenties I rebelled against no one but me.
I was feeling really good about my day even though I was tired. I have been so busy these past couple of months but every moment has been worth it. I knew that going to this retreat will help me realize the things I have to achieve to keep on track with my life purpose. Then we had to pair up with someone to share with them our vision. Sharing my vision with a stranger? I was going to walk around the room and pick someone randomly when this young woman came up to me and asked to be my partner. She went first and for ten minutes I listened to her and was her silent cheerleader when she talked about her vision. There I was listening to a young white woman from Kansas City and LA and I found some commonalities with her. Like she’s a writer and was a nanny. Like she wants to work in therapy helping others through the arts. She had so much enthusiasm and direction that I really admired that she knew these things at 20. Then it was my turn. I must admit I felt a little self conscious. I come from a culture that you are not suppose to tell people what you want in life because they might give you the evil eye and it will be taken away. But I am trying to not feed into that and I said my vision knowing that if I voice it and work towards it it can be possible.
I told her about my immediate visions with going to India and writing and learning more from spiritual teachers. I told her about all the bestsellers I wanted to publish, the languages I wanted them translated in. I told her about the millions I wanted so I can take care of my family. So I can create my own family and ride that horse through the desert with my partner and children. I told her about all the countries I wanted to live in and the cultures I wanted my children to be a part of. I told her about the teachers I wanted to work with. I told her about the ways I wanted to teach. I told her about the house with the ocean view and smells of good Cuban cooking. A house filled with lots of love. And somewhere in telling my vision she was no longer listening. Her body language changed. She kept on looking at the people next to us. I wanted to say, hey listen to me. But I just kept on talking. Annoyed. Those 10 minutes were so long. I just wanted it to end.
I was so mad. So, I told my friends and they couldn’t believe it. I was so sad. My vision ignored. It was like when my mom used to sweep and I would talk to her and she would just say, aha, aha and never really listen. I knew I couldn’t sleep until I told my vision to someone who would actually listen. I had already one night of bad sleep and waking up grumpy. I asked Meadow and she did even with her stuffed up nose she was able to listen. And I retold her my vision but then added a few things like growing old and be surrounded by good people. I told her about the commitment I have to being around people who are healing and healers, people who love and know how to receive love. I told her about the rocking chair I want to sit on. All the people that I will meet. I told her about my dreams and my aspirations. My goals. I told her my vision. And she listened. For a moment I thought I couldn’t add unto my vision because it didn’t make it to the 10 minutes but she assured me that my vision can be continuous. She told me that she sees how I need to write in India. She was so happy for me and such a great cheerleader. I am glad I gave myself a second chance.
Every moment I have lived has led up to this moment. Every moment from this moment will lead up to my vision. I am not afraid.