A Thanksgiving Reminder

Today is a day where we (in the United States) are supposed to give thanks for everything we have. If we compare what we have with what other people in the world have then we should be giving thanks for many things, including being born in this country. There should be a certain humility to this day. Most of us have the privilege to be in the presence of vast meal and have many days of left overs to feast on. We are indeed lucky and should give thanks.

I feel the need to remind everyone about the historical significance of this day and days like this. I was very clear in my views about Columbus and the celebration of his massacre of thousands of Native people. So I think about the Wampanoag people who gave seed to the Puritans and taught them how to fish as a gesture of good faith an in honor of the end of the harvest. Back in those days, many cultures had a feast to celebrate the ending of what was hopefully a good harvest and to thank God for all they had.

Of course the Wampanoag were ravaged by disease and imperial encroachment soon after which makes me wonder why we even celebrate this day in the way we do. Historical images show how kind Native Americans were to the Pilgrims with the sharing of food and the breaking of bread and yet we have politicians who want to build an electric fence to keep “foreigners” from gaining access to this land. Imagine if the Wampanoag slaughtered those Puritans as a way to protect the harvest and their borders.

I am sure many people take this day for granted by eating and watch football while paying little attention to the poverty around us. However, I do take solace in knowing that their are people who do share their food and work in soup kitchens to feed the poor today. The question is, why do we only pick this day to volunteer when we know that poverty does not stop when Thanksgiving ends? Are we afraid that we will be like the Wampanoag and give only so much only to have the people we help take everything we have in return?

With that being said, just take time to think about how we got here. How grateful we should all be to have a table to sit at. Take time to think about the hungry children around the world. The sick people dying from diseases we cannot cure. Pray for those who have hatred in their heart because those people never find true happiness. Ponder about all the things you have before you think about all the things you want for Christmas. Be thankful for the beauty of this day when you look outside your window.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Dear God

Dear God…

I dedicate this blog post to one of my many prayers to you. I know that I am not the most religious being on this planet and I am certainly not Christ-like but I write this as a way to throw my literal words out into the universe as a testament of my faith that there is indeed a higher power. I pray to you because there are things in this world that I cannot control. I am just one person in a world filled with wicked people that murder, rape, and take advantage of the less fortunate all in the name of God. I pray to you because everything happens for a reason and every person in my life serves a purpose even if its for a little while. One of those people told me that if I truly want something than I need to ask the universe.

Asking the universe is like asking God because the two things are synonymous. I know that when I tell the universe my wants that it will conspire in my favor to help me get it. In saying that, I know that my prayers are pleas for help because I cannot do things without faith in myself and world around me. The problem is that I fear so many things. The decisions I have made in the past has not made my present as great as I would like it to be which only puts my future in question. I do think about my future because I still consider it bright.

I want to do so many things it is hard to comprehend where I can begin to start. This is a part of the problem because I don’t know what I don’t know. I ask for the strength to help me pass my own weaknesses. I know that I have not been one to totally go for financial success because money isn’t everything and let’s be honest, I cannot take it with me in death. However, I can pass it down to the children that I hope to have. What I want is to be able to live without fear. I don’t want to worry anymore about how I am going to get from paycheck to paycheck.

I pray for strength to get me through the hard times. I pray for strength to get me through the sparse amount of interviews. I pray for strength to let me deal with the unforeseen things that life throws my way. I am just a man in this world trying to do good. I help the students that I work with. I stay in touch with those former student who still feel they need my guidance. I want to be there in ways that people were never there for me when I was a student. I let my work speak for itself.

I thank you for things that you have given me. Those tearful nights when I thought I would never get to where I am now have seemed to have paid off. I am a survivor of bad decisions and financial consequences. More importantly, I thank you for putting her into my life. I thank you for giving me the strength to survive the past four years. I thank you for the family and the friends that I have because I am truly fortunate to have people support me when I needed them.

The strength I ask for is because I know my successes are not handed to me. I need the strength to act on motivations because fear is the only thing that is stopping me. I am tired of being afraid. Fear takes my will to succeed in every facet of my life. I pray to for help so I can get to my goals with dignity and honor. I ask the universe to conspire in my favor to help me achieve my personal legend.

I am not a perfect man. I am sinner in many respects, but I am a good person willing to help others in the only way I know how. All I ask is for strength, courage, and wisdom to guide me on this quest. I want to be the legend that I know I can be.

Amen.

Three Candles.

St. Patricks Cathedral

So I did something today that I have not done in a long time. I prayed…in a church. Sure, I have prayed before and I feel that I have conversations with God every so often, but I do not see myself as a religious person. Perhaps more spiritual more than religious. In any case, I want to St Patrick’s Cathedral and I prayed for my life.

I do not get into religion much but it is safe to say that I am a recovering catholic. I have 12 years of catholic school under my belt and I can tell you that my thoughts of organized religion are not good. Over the rest of my years, I think I have developed some sort of relationship with God. In the end, I think that is the most important thing. I rather have that individual relationship than have group tell me how I should live my life and who are the sinners.

Although being a Latino means that you have certain belief of the spirit world. I am not stranger to this and while I wont get into them all right now, I think that there is spirits in this world that are both good and bad. But, they will only effect us if we let them.  So there needs to be the understanding that I do hold those beliefs that were passed down by my family.

I have found myself praying more often than not over the last couple of years. I have prayed for my sanity and for clarity in my life. There were times in which I just did not know what to do and I have to do the one thing that 12 years of catholic school taught me to do. Since then, I think I have been able to just be me and fight hard to get where I am trying to get to.

Last week I called my mother and I said to her that I needed a huge favor from her. I needed her to pray for me. I needed her to know how important getting into Sarah Lawrence is. My cousin got into the Harvard doctoral program last year and I know they prayed for her…lol. That is not to say she is not brilliant because she certainly is. I just know that she had the support and I needed that. I think she was shocked about my request and happily said she would do it…on condition: I needed to find a catholic church, light a candle and pray with the prayer card she sent me last year.

I knew she was going to pray for me and I definitely felt that I needed to complete my end of the deal. I originally looked for catholic churches in Syracuse, but for some reason, I wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t feel right going to a church I didn’t know for the first time. That may sound weird, but that is how I felt. So I thought that once I get back to NYC this week I would go the one of the churches of my past schools: Holy Cross on Soundview Ave or St. Raymond’s on Tremont.

Turns out that I went to neither. Today I had several errands to run. I met up with a great friend for lunch and another friend who I haven’t seen since we were kids. All of this in the mid town Manhattan made me realize that I should go to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Why such an elaborate place? I have been there several times over my childhood and teenage years. I had my High School graduation there as well. For some reason, it just felt right.

So, I went in and lit 3 candles. I sat in one of the pews and pulled out my prayer card, it was in Spanish. I read it the best I could (which I think is pretty damn good).  When I was done, I thought about all the people in my life. The ones I love. The ones I care about. The ones I worry about. I asked God to not only help me find my way, but to help them. The only thing I really want to do in life is to help people. My way is to help people through words. I know that cannot be too bad.

I felt good when I walked out. I know I checked in on Foursquare that I was there and I got a text from a another friend who saw I was at the cathedral. She asked me if I could pray for her. I told her in so many words: “I already have.”

Soul Searching


“Soul is about finding something in your life that is real” – John Legend

One things about going to a lecture is that it makes me think. John Legend came to Syracuse University yesterday and spoke about Philanthropy. He also did a few songs too. He spoke very well and made some great points; the line above is what stuck out to me the most. I had to post in on twitter because I know I would have forgotten about it if i didn’t. Of course the songs that he did sing were all love songs.

To me that line says so much about the journey that I am currently going through. I wont say that I have never had anything real in my life, that would be a lie. What that line signifies to me is that I need to find something that is real to me that I can connect with. Sometimes I think am surrounded by things are just not real. Maybe it is because I feel that I am so disconnected from everything.

There are times in life in which we have to find ourselves. It is also called soul searching. I believe that we are never too young to find ourselves. I never really thought about my journey in such a way. I never thought about all this as me find myself or me searching for something real. I just felt I was going down a path of self redemption.

However, I feel like I am a new person. I feel like I can be honest with myself. I feel that I can be honest with the world around me, which is why I need a change. My realization is that I cannot change the world around me but I can change my place in the world. It is hard for me to embrace the truth when you are used to living a place that can embrace a lie. It is not healthy. That is why I need a change of scenery.

I said I feel like I am a new person! My outer shell is changing. I really do look in the mirror more than I ever have before and it is not because I am vain. I inspire myself to continue the change because I will no longer go back to the person I used to be. I used to be that person that could not admit to himself that he succumbed to all the insecurities that he developed as a child.

I find myself praying. I pray to God for strength. I am not a prayer person. I am not even a church person. I do have my own relationship with God. I have come to the understanding that the reason I have not prayed in the past is because I was selfish. I didn’t want to pray because my intentions were not true. I pray for strength because I realize what is like to be weak and have no one else to turn to.

The one thing that I have never given myself is self validation. I still struggle with this. I know I am good at what I do. I know that when I put my mind to something I can do it. But, I have become so gun shy when it comes to my feelings. I have no problems with expressing them but I have come to learn I cannot express every last feeling at the very moment I am feeling them. I am rebuilding myself to be the better man I know I can be.

I am searching for my soul. I am looking to see who the real Anthony Otero is.