WINNING WITH KINDNESS
sPeCiAL ApRiL – CeLeBrAtInG pOeTrY
April marks the celebration of poets and poetry being recognized as National Poetry Month celebrating its 25th Anniversary! What a monumental moment. Poetry is an artform of expression used to convey messages through words, rhythm, rhyme, and of course different styles. Poetry is not just an artform but also it is a craft. The enjoyment of literature in its various forms dates back thousands of years as early as 20BC. Most scholars recognize its beginnings in 13BC when Sonnets were introduced. But there are poems from the Restoration society and the satirical verses of the 17th Century with poets such as John Dryden (English Poet) but noted there were Spanish poets such as Joan Baptista Aguilar, amongst many others.
There are three writing forms such as prose, spoken poetry and of course different types of poems, itself. Prose tends to include the following characteristics: Most everyday writing is in prose form; The language of prose is typically straightforward without much decoration; Ideas are contained in sentences that are arranged into paragraphs; There are no line breaks; Sentences run to the right margin; The first word of each sentence is capitalized; And lastly, Prose looks like large blocks of words.
Spoken word poetry is poetry that is written on a page but performed for an audience. Because it is performed, this poetry tends to demonstrate a heavy use of rhythm, improvisation, free association, rhymes, rich poetic phrases, word play and slang. Types of poetry include the following qualities: Poetry is typically reserved for expressing something special in an artistic way; The language of poetry tends to be more expressive or decorated, with comparisons, rhyme, and rhythm contributing to a different sound and feel; Ideas are contained in lines that may or may not be sentences; Lines are arranged in stanzas; Poetry uses line breaks for various reasons—to follow a formatted rhythm or to emphasize an idea; Lines can run extremely long or be as short as one word or letter; And, traditionally, the first letter of every line is capitalized, but many modern poets choose not to follow this rule strictly; Furthermore, the shape of poetry can vary depending on line length and the intent of the poet. Poetry’s artform is a literary space where all people can benefit as the audience and writer. Go write your poem and submit it to the Buffalo Latino Village.
Editor’s Note: We need more Puerto Ricans/Latinos to discover the beauty of poetry. Visit your local library, go online, go to the bookstore, and discover our great poets: Julia Alvarez, Pedro Pietri, Isabel Allende, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Julia del Burgos, Sandra Cisneros, Nancy Mercado, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, and many more. Just type “Latino poets” and a treasure of our Latino poets pops up. To begin, go to www.poetry.org, and learn about the beauty of Poetry.
WOMEN, YES YOU CAN!
The most courageous act a woman can take is to feel good.”, Heather Chauvin
This month’s column is dedicated to Heather Chauvin, a writer with a message to all the mothers of the planet, especially to those mothers who are “Dying to be good Mother.”
Heather Chauvin, writer & author, is the host of the “Mom Is in Control” Podcast. In her podcast, she reveals her most vulnerable truths about womanhood, marriage, parenting, and other topics, such as living through stage 4 cancer and running a successful business without burning out. Her program is very essential to our communities of color; I hope our Puerto Rican/Latino community take advantage of Ms. Heather Chauvin’s podcast and review her show, as well as order or purchase her book. She has so much information to offer. Besides her podcast, she continues her vision to enhance the lives of women by taking the time to research and publish a book for mothers, titled, “Dying to Be a Good Mother”, available on Amazon.com and other social media outlets.
I asked her to briefly answer several questions, as my column space is limited:
Mission of her work: To help women understand themselves, and their children on a deeper level.
Primary target audience: Families, especially working mothers.
Women that has influence/impact on her life: Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, My mother, and all the women who have come before me, and had the courage to follow their heart’s passion.
Theme of new book: Guilt, Control, Life, and Parenting – “Dying to be a good Mother.”
Goals for 2021: To continue my work, to influence women, and to help them to create a “feel good life”, meaningful, and productive.
How to find your work: http://heatherchauvin.com/, and at https://www.instagram.com/heatherchauvin_/
The book is part memoir, part guide; radical self-transformation, “Dying to Be a Good Mother.”
I will be back with more information; an interesting woman to follow.
In honor of Black History Month:
A CALL FOR LIBERTY
February 2021 Issue
President Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.
This was his call upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every endeavor throughout our history” (History.com). However, we should not only call for recognition of black American’s contributions, but especially, we need to celebrate how collectively, as a people they have added to our society’s culture and give special acknowledgement of how they persevere despite many past atrocities and current situations.
Post Slavery, Black Americans still suffer from inequality. It has been reported that “Many of the disparities between Black and White communities in the United States are an outgrowth of a long history of discriminatory and dehumanizing laws and policies that have created and exacerbated inequality in almost every sphere of life.” (Catalyst.org)
As a result, American communities are perplexed on how to deal with racism. A call for freedom to explore new ideas by our current leaders and to help shape methods for upcoming generations is needed. An approach to seeing inequality and racism in the United States should also offer a sense of pride to Black People, collectively.
It is my opinion that we marginalize black people’s needs and as a result their identity is starving for that merit that is “passed” overdue.
Today, slavery in America in a traditional sense does not exist. That does not mean issues are not present. A cry for Libertad rings High for black citizens, our fellow neighbors, friends, coworkers and especially as parents. The younger generation looks for answers. Let us all start a conversation of solutions not compartmentalized solely by race, but rather how to overcome circumstances.
It’s been a tough season for America with racism and prejudice being heightened. The desire for Freedom is innate. It is deserved! Over time, we, the people, the citizens of The United States of America, can make a difference.
It begins with each of ourselves and then as a people collectively. Let Freedom ring.
Information on Black History Month:
HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
January Issue 2021
January is a pivotal time of the year where many of us have set new goals. I would like to take time to highlight that whichever your personal and professional aims are for this year, there should be a set focus on your personal health.
This month is dedicated to raising awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease in Canada; and, in the United States, Cervical Health, Glaucoma Awareness, National Birth Defects Prevention, National Blood Donor Month and Thyroid Awareness as well.
The mission of the National Institute of Health (NIH) is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
I researched online and found National Institutes of Health to be a very resourceful website, https://www.nih.gov/ which provides the following information:
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease, those with the late-onset type, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
Cervical Cancer is caused by a virus called HPV which is spread through sexual contact. Being regularly screened can prevent this cancer.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated exam.
Birth defects are structural (how the body is built) or functional (how the body works) abnormalities present at birth that can cause physical disability, intellectual and developmental disorders, and other health problems.
It is stated by the American Red Cross that Winter is a season in which blood donations are needed to meet patients’ needs.
Thyroid problems affect as many as 27 million Americans. Among the most common problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Health awareness months are great reminders to help increase our health education and promote a healthier lifestyle. Screenings and preventive care helps our community live longer, increasing our opportunities to accomplish our overall goals.
A la Buena Salud…
I AM BIPOLAR, NOW WHAT? MY INITIAL ACCOUNT AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED
August Issue 2019
Mental illness is not new but for some, like me, it was hard to wrap my head around the idea that I was clinically diagnosed. I’m writing to raise awareness of symptoms specific to Bipolar and rid of stigmas attached to this ailment.
I was diagnosed Bipolar in 2001. Being of Black & Hispanic descent, I feel it was hard for me to grasp that it even happened. Like most illnesses that plaques humanity, they are not often welcomed with an open mind; and, I do not think anyone would with open arms want them.
When I was first told of my mental illness, I felt ashamed, I was awestruck not understanding or even knowing what it was or what I did to get it.
Truth is do not be ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed. What I learned is that it can be mostly due to genetics or traumatizing events in my life that contributed to my breakdown.
Symptoms that are included and are also documented at BIPOLAR DISORDER.
Symptoms: “Extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression) that can affect one’s judgement and lifestyle and even one’s thinking, including delusions.”
With a medication regimen and counseling, I can live a healthier lifestyle today. I often write for therapy. Recently, as a help to myself and for others to hopefully benefit, I am beginning to blog my journey. My road to living a fuller life, embarking upon my lifelong dreams as a writer. My PERSONAL BLOG which has my social media links and blog.
We can support one another, alike and differences. We stand stronger as a community when we lift each other up.
Until next time.
JOSELITO AND CARLITO
May Issue 2019
The following narrative depicts the value of friendship. I wrote this story of two young characters and their journey to building a solid relationship.
It was a starry night as Carlito counted sheep to bed after a long day of school and tending to the garden with his Abuela.
“Rise and Shine Carlito”, said Dona Julia, his abuela.
“Aww, abuela, I don’t want to go to today. I want to play.”
She replied “lucky for you, today is Saturday,
your wish is granted.”
Carlito, thankful for seven days in a week, with two weekend days to play.
Carlito thought of his friend, Joselito, and wondered if he’d like to play outside today.
As clouds rolled in, Carlito feared rain.
Oddly, just a mist. A few twinkle drops of rain fell, and then the sky cleared.
Immediately, with glee, Carlito ran next door and
invited Joselito outside to play.
Joselito suggested they go for a walk instead.
As they looked up at the sky, beautiful colors streamed southward.
“It’s a rainbow”, they cheered; they wondered, if in fact, the story was real about a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
So, they walked on, curiously, thinking of what they might find or see at the end of the rainbow.
They walked, walked and walked some more. Growing tired, they came across a tree, home to Quique the owl.
Carlito knocked at Quique’s tree.
“Who, who”, shouted Quique.
“We are walking, but can’t find the end of the rainbow so we can take the gold.”
Quique looked to his left and right, and into the air,
and he gave the two young lads a long stare.
Then, after observing Carlito remarks, he spoke,
“that’s a myth…”
But, he explained, “what you have is more precious than gold, what you have is a friend to walk with you.”
Then they looked at one another and skipped on home, where Abuela was waiting with maple covered toast and warm milk.
“Tomorrow we walk again”, the two boys giggled to one another.
WINNING WITH KINDNESS: ANTI-DISSENSION
April Issue 2019
Dissension, according to Google’s definition, is a disagreement that leads to Discord. Discord, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the lack of agreement or harmony (as between persons, things, or ideas).
Now that we have a clearer understanding of what Dissension means, I would like to point out that despite the trying time, we all are going through, we should strive to get along.
Of course, I do not mean we have to believe in each other’s religions or ideas; however, we do need to live in harmony within our communities, within each State and across all lands to the best of our abilities. The upmost best of our ability.
I think we all know how tough dealing with the Coronavirus situation has been. It’s taking a toll everywhere.
I say “Trying is good. Doing is better. Done is best”, and on that note, let’s live within our homes, and our communities in harmony.
I’d like to point out what Dhar Mann* said recently, March 16, 2020:
“Please remember, positivism and kindness are more infectious than any virus. We are called ‘humankind’ for a reason. So spread some love today, and make sure you start with yourself first.”
We are blessed to be a blessing. Until next issue, stay safe and loving.
*Entrepreneur with over 11 million followers in social media. He is known for his theme, “Changing life through inspirational storytelling.”
RESPECTING EACH OTHER: AVOIDING NEGATIVE SPEECH
December Issue 2019
Negative speech can be disastrous. As there are examples in human history where thousands and even millions of people can be misled. I believe that with raising awareness and implementing positive influence in our behavior, human mankind can avoid negative pitfalls and not repeat previous world conflicts.
I was motivated to speak out or discuss this issue as it pertains to current events that we face every day.
I begin by defining a few terms as they pertain to the concept of Globalization, which is simply the way that countries and people of the world interact and integrate, combining and becoming whole (one). Though this is not particularly a new concept, the idea of respecting each other’s culture as we assimilate, needs constant attention.
Assimilation occurs when there is a minority group that begins to resemble a dominant/main group, assuming its values, behaviors, and the beliefs of that dominant population. This is very evident in today’s ever growing cultural, social and economic “melting pot”, as we witness the slimming of separation of various cultures, such as the case of occurring globalization.
How often have we heard the cliché statement, “We live in a small world after all”, a foreshadow to how closely all human beings relate to one another. Unfortunately, there are those in power that can or do use, in my opinion, this beautiful conceptual life truth to adversely affect a group or groups of people, using derogatory terms, in describing other cultures. This easily allows distraction, separation, misinformation, and consequently, unwarranted hateful feelings toward one another.
This is the clinical point of this piece; despite what words are being promoted or circulated, we must remain united in respecting our cultural differences or diversity and our core human value system.
No one deserves to be slandered. Let us use wise words and decency in all our interactions, to encourage growth
SOME THOUGHTS ON “RESULTS”
September Issue 2019
There are elements that contribute to your ultimate success and measurements that determines your position, always navigating your future outcome; and the key word is “Results.”
There are also a few and vital factors needed to begin building a positive result, such as:
Understanding your current position.
Effective goal settings, and,
Leg work you must do, to continue moving forward, producing positive action.
Of course, the amount of success vary cumulatively, based on the steps you take, or what steps you do not take, or steps you decide not to take.
I recommend that you always should pay attention to details; be thoughtful about what goals you want to achieve, and when you’re sure, begin your journey.
For example, if you own a company, you should surely have a business plan, a marketing strategy, and branding, as these elements are essential business tools in determining your success. If you need assistance with business development, don’t hesitate to reach out; there are many, helpful resources waiting for you to seek and request assistance.
If you have already begun detailing, it is not too late for a professional to overlook or review your path, to insure you’re on the right track – for you and your company’s success.
The same is true in everyday life and specific goals. If you are stagnant, do get moving; and if you need motivation, in today’s world and age, there are a vast amount of life coaches available at your footsteps.
Once you decide to commit to your desired “results”, you need to surround yourself with people that push and support your seriousness, especially in understanding the passion of your vision.
Decision and Commitment need each other to reach the “Results” you want to achieve….
Perception & Perspective
August Issue 2019
Let’s begin by knowing that perception in its definition means the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. This is particularly important because we all have this awareness in our own specific capabilities which leads me to thinking of how one’s perspective can alter the outcome of what is originally perceived.
Perspective’s meaning is an attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. So, it is simple to understand that a person’s perspective directly influences their perception and vice versa.
I bring this up because in today’s age of cyberspace, and virtually unlimited data access on the internet, our points of view can be easily skewed or tailored by how we surf the web.
Oftentimes, our accounts on our cell phones and tablets can tailor what we see first in our internet searches. This is typically automatically done by our previous search history on our mobile devices associated with that account.
An issue I can see arising from this convenient tool is that it doesn’t leave much room for random thought process as the norm. I’m not saying you cannot surf outside of suggested content but with our busy American culture and multi-tasking tendencies, there is more of a chance to be led to just read what “pops up”.
I think in some ways that tool is helpful, but if not careful, especially for the younger generations, perhaps we won’t get exposure to other points of view based on what we’re seeing on the internet.
So today, let’s take the time to be mindful of all dynamics or contents that may be available so we can come together.
YO SOY 3RD GENERACION BORICUA
July 2019 Issue
Yes, the title is indeed alluding to how I, Ruthy Harris, am a third generation Puerto Rican in the United States of America.
Now, I want to begin by saying this may seem like an odd read, but I feel compelled to tell my perspective on being a Buffalo, New York native in search of your responses and feedback on this entry. My direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org .
My purpose is to encourage anyone who may have had similar experiences or thoughts. And for those who cannot relate, it is my hope that you can help someone or at its least empathize.
“The more you seek approval, the more you repel authenticity ” – Brendon Burchard
I am forty years old and have finally come to terms with my personal identity. As this may open the floor to criticism, I welcome your perspective. I first realized I was not accepted within my proposed culture of being Boricua at an early age of 9 years old. Long thick hair that had to be hot combed to show its length over my shoulders and down my back. I had a caramel tone complexion and hazel brown eyes. I am Boricua and Morena.
Yes, three of my grandparents hail directly from the island Puerto Rico, I can say with such an enthusiasm and affection which I still hold until this day! I have my fourth grandparent being African American and Cherokee Indian. Hindsight, for me it is no mystery why I had such a conflicted identity crisis, especially entering high school.
Now, many individuals may face similar dilemmas nowadays as interracial couples and mixed children are now so very common.
I am mixed, grew up on parts of the west and east sides of Buffalo and had a privilege of attending a parochial high school which was predominately Caucasian.
Nevertheless, I quoted Brendon Burchard as a predictor of what a person in such a situation as I may need to reference. As with many individuals this statement resonates with me since I struggled with acceptance from several cultures. Now, I aim for authentic relationships, based on fundamental core values like honesty, kindness, respect and love.
To me, it’s important to know who you are within so that you can work without limitations and unnecessary boundaries on expected personality traits based on outward appearance. Go ahead, get to know and love who you are right now. And, then go ahead and get to know others well and spread more love.
Many best wishes to you as you also remember to enjoy your day, everyday
Ruthy Harris is available to speak about her experience as a “PUERTO RICAN WITH DARK SKIN”, and other topics of interest to the growth and development of our cultures and communities. Email us: email@example.com / 646-248-2302
June 2019 Issue
I’ve always wondered why in my past I hadn’t succeeded in a way I considered a triumph. I spent years in pursuit of what at some point had become an eluded dream fading in the distance like a boat leaving the dock, even more elusive as time passed. I’ve always pondered what could be the difference between myself and my peers that I considered successful. I hadn’t realized I wasn’t exactly happy until 40 years of age. Yes, not content with my actions and where I had landed at that point in my life.
Today, I share what the difference was and may be for most people that find themselves with similar thoughts. Yes, I had suffered years of not feeling complete in my desired goals. Because I lived casually, I did not feel accomplished. I live boldly a life of full intention. Hence what prompted me to rigorously pursue my dreams and put foot to the metal and drive full force ahead, knowing that if I shoot for the moon and miss, I land among the stars (org. credit quote to Norman Vincent Peale). Now, keeping in mind whom we consider “stars” may vary, nonetheless, a state of feeling accomplished, successful and for some, “simply happy”, is a place we can all relate to.
So today, “Do you start your day casually or intentionally?” Intention, meaning with purposeful action moment to moment toward a desired state of being or desired place of arrival. Consider, “are you losing by default or winning on purpose!”
Who, What & Where because the Ordinary can Produce the Extraordinary!
Who am I?
What am I doing?
And where am I going?
We should ask this of every aspect of our lives.
A classic set of questions, I cannot take credit for creating that may seem mundane; however, they offer valuable insights to our destination.
Who am I consists of the essence of what we may choose to do at every given moment. So, I beckon you to question yourself – Who am I?
Then declare what you will do.
What I am will directly impact in which direction I go. So, what am I doing today, right now, that brings me closer to my desired goal and destination?
Have I arrived? While answers may vary. There is always a need for navigation.
Who am I?
What am I doing?
And where am I going?
So that continuance in a positive direction may occur.
Ruthy Harris is an Administrative Support & Project Assistant at Blossom Achieve Excel. She has a love for writing and has been creating words since the sixth grade. She resides in Buffalo, NY. Win on Purpose is her first Buffalo Latino Village column, look for her next column in July’s issue.