Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crisis and low tide.


Many years ago, I used to go to a beach which was close to my house. It was a very relaxing and natural place to spend your free time; especially during the week days when you could see no visitors around, only fishermen once in a while; Most of the time it was only you, the sun and the sea.
When the tide was high, the level of the waters raised and covered the reefs; the magnificent and even view of the surface from the shore gave you a peaceful feeling that was accompanied by the music of the waves crashing close to you in a magic sequence, as though following the rhythm of a celestial symphony. Everything was so touching there; you could feel harmony all over the place.
When the tide was low, however, you were able to see the big and sharpened rocks that were hidden under the water; the surface was not even anymore, and the feeling of harmony was substituted by the one of caution.
The place was dangerous for swimmers and fishermen all the time, regardless the level of the waters; however, the perception of danger was higher when you could see the reef during the low tide.
This week, while I was reading the news about the so called financial meltdown, with the biggest financial companies under government control, some others filling bankruptcy and many more merging with another companies in order to survive, it came into my mind the view of the beach during the low tide and felt, again, that feeling of caution.
Now that the abundance, like the water in the low tide, is gone for a while, we are looking at the “rocks” hidden at the bottom in every space of our daily life and every part of our society. We are seeing owners and CEOs blaming each other for the crisis of the company. We are seeing companies laying off skilled personnel because they are cutting costs; We are seeing, on the other hand, spouses laying off each other after they lost their homes, cars and even their jobs, blaming mutually for the failure. It is the time when some lifetime defects that were unnoticed or forgiven before may appear unbearable for some spouses or partners. It is the time in which restraining the compulsive attitude of buying what you want and not what you need, and changing a lavish life style for a more austere one, can be so irritating. It is the time that you can find out that behind your addiction to spend even your last penny there is a life marked by emptiness and lack of purpose.
Many families, many of them immigrants, are experiencing the crisis in different ways, shortage is present in all of them. They need to reinvent themselves and their relationships to stay afloat. My teacher, back home, used to say:”Although you cannot control the storm, you can, for sure, control your own attitude".

"You still can choose whether to feel guiltiness and desperation or feel hope and determination to survive and succeed”.
Be a happy immigrant. God bless you.

The immigrant.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Do you want to be happy?

Every time somebody makes the decision of leaving his or her native place and migrate to another one, he or she opens the imaginary book of the expectations. The future immigrant starts thinking of a world that is half reality and half fiction; far away from home; in which everything is possible and every dream is reachable. Whether you are migrating because of political, economic or other reasons, you really expect to find a better place to live wherever you are going. You come to idealize your future home country and assume that by having a better job and a better income you will solve all your problems; therefore, you take happiness for granted. In fact, you leave your country feeling that you will be happy in your new land. Unfortunately, after a long period of hard work you come to realize that you only switched your old simple problems for other more complicated ones, but the so wanted happiness is far from your reach. Then you realize that your spouse or job or house or car is not your best fit and that he, she or it is the cause for your lack of satisfaction, so you take care of it; but dissatisfaction rather than disappearing grows and becomes emptiness which you try to solve, so you start filling your emptiness with more money, more clothing, a better house, a better car, another spouse and …the wheel keeps turning again and again…
There is a story about a young couple that wanted to get married, so he told her:
-I want to marry you because I love you and I want to be happy and to make you happy.
She replied:
-No darling, I won’t marry you because I am not happy yet and if you are not happy by yourself there is no such a person or thing in this world that can make you happy.

“If you still want to be happy, pursue fulfillment rather than money, love or possessions. Be a happy immigrant. God bless you.”

The immigrant.