Before facts there was…history

I’m writing this to comment on something I saw in the Economist today (in the app version). Please see the screenshots:

“America has dealt with spikes in illegal immigration before”. This sentence will make anyone see that there was a sudden influx of illegal immigration. Then next question would hopefully be, why? Was there a civil war? A series of natural disasters? What happened in Mexico and Central American in the 1960s, 70s and beyond that caused masses to flood into the US? Ok, we know of the wars in Central America; recall the humanitarian disasters and genocides that happened in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. But in that period, the immigrants to the US were not Central Americans. They were Mexicans. So what happened?

Now let’s get to the history. There never was a mas influx of immigration. What happened is that people crossing the US-Mexican border were all legal. They were farmworkers who had been given special visas during the war era, and their visas were renewed year after year. (They were also treated inhumanely which spurred on the movement for migrant workers rights.) This Mexican labor force would migrate back to their homes at the end of each season to be with their families. Then in 1965, there was a major policy change and an end to the program (Bracero Program) that permitted visas to be given to the many hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers.

In short, as a result of shifts in US immigration policy between the late
1950s and the late 1970s, Mexico went from annual access to around 450,000
guestworker visas and a theoretically unlimited number of resident visas in
the United States (in practice averaging around 50,000 per year) to a new
situation in which there were no guestworker visas and just 20,000 resident
visas annually (Massey & Pren, 2012).

So the “spike of illegal immigration” was not a spike at all. It was only a spike in apprehensions – the same people traveling to their old jobs who, with their newly acquired illegal status, became those numbers we see on the graph.

hello 2021

2021, like all other years that have come before, is going to be filled with its own challenges. It will have new surprises for us; some good, some bad. Just like every year. As for me, I have my usual self-improvement goals and wishes as well as a few unusual ones. For the unusual ones, let’s just say I’m getting better at letting all things be. This is hard for one who has lived so long with dreams of ending human suffering, helping to create a world of true justice, better education for the underserved, etc. But I am finally at a point where I can trust in Life to handle all things that are out of my power to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to fight anymore. I still dream about making big social-change waves, but I know that fighting too many battles will cause me to be ineffective at all of them; if I focus on too many things that are wrong, my energy will be dispersed and impotent. Because what I really want is to make an impact, I will commit myself to doing that is strictly for me to do.

This does not mean that my passions will abate. I will most likely still want to blow up a few very stupid ideas and realities; and, yes, I most definitely want to see myself rise to new levels of success. But above all things, I want to live my life’s purpose, master my gifts and help people that come onto my path. Explicitly, it is to begin teaching others all that I have learned over the course of my transformation journey – which started more than twenty years ago! I have a lot of stories to tell, and so many lessons learned. During my journey, I have gained deep insight into the intersections of overcoming personal hardship, fighting for social change while also learning to honor yourself and manifest a life you dream of. Doing this is an art; there are so many strands and undercurrents that must be taken into account! I have paid a heavy price to be able to stand here today, in my own voice and power, and tell you the things I know to be true. I hope you will listen.

on being an empath

I believe it was in 2010 that I realized that I am an empath. I don’t remember how I came to know that, but it was suddenly the thing I needed to learn how to manage. I needed to find a way to process all the energy that I would soak up on a daily basis, so I researched online and signed up for a program where they teach empaths to create boundaries and keep their personal energetic spaces clean. None of it worked for me. The only thing that helped me was chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, and it is something I still do. It is very powerful! But chanting took so many hours out of my day I could hardly have a life! It used to be normal for me to chant at least two hours a day, always in the mornings with coffee. There were times that I chanted for four, five and sometimes six hours before I could let off and do something else. At one point I chanted nine hours non-stop! If you want to know why I chanted so much, I was fighting my way out of the depths of hell which had gripped me during most of my time in Austin since I started my self-healing journey (years 2003-2010). My PTSD was so bad that I could hardly do anything at all. I was experiencing extreme flashbacks and constant physical pain all over my body as well as extreme bouts of vertigo that made it difficult for me to even leave the house for a period of 4 or 5 years. (Learn about my story here.)

The combination of healing my own PTSD while also being the empath-healer for so many other people was such a burden on me that I could not do much in terms of getting my own life together (financial, physical health & fitness, projects, etc.) As I healed myself, though, things in life began to improve. I moved to Ithaca, NY, worked at a café that was both fun and generally sane, did a lot of art shows, finished college (at Cornell University), then got a job working in a Texas Government agency (back in Austin). Just a year or so ago, I discovered Pranic Healing, and it has changed so much in my life! As an empath, this is the thing I needed in order to keep my energy in the good. With Pranic Healing you can clean out your own energy system and create energetic boundaries that protect you from other people’s energies and negative thoughts. For example, if you are going into a very stressful situation, you can create an energy field that protects you so that you can remain calm while doing what needs to be done. The best thing about this is that it works. I am so glad to have stumbled upon it! It has helped me in ways that I only dreamed of.

Those of you who are empaths will know what I am talking about; those of you who are not, might need a little explaining. Being an empath is something you’re born with and is not something you can will away, no matter how much you would like to. You might ask yourself why you would want to. Well, it is like being born with an emotional disability; you are highly sensitive to other people’s emotional fields and often pick up others’ pain just by association. For those who are unaware of the fact that they’re an empath, they might seek all kinds of help to treat their ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ without knowing that it is not theirs at all. At least not all of it. Until they learn to process their energy and keep themselves in the clear, they will continue to feel emotionally down, anxious or sluggish. It is often hard for them to stay focused on a task in a way that non-empaths are able to do with ease. People who are not empaths have a much easier time in the “real world” doing regular day jobs, high-powered professional careers, and all forms of analytical, brainy, hard-science stuff. Yet empaths do have their own special superpowers. For one, they are nearly impossible to lie to. They are also natural-born experts in detecting anyone with sketchy energy, hidden motives, etc. They can see through many layers of smoke into the truth of a situation in a way that a non-empath would only dream of. Where the non-empaths relay on data, a true empath just knows. What empaths need to learn, though, is to take good care of themselves, create strong boundaries and let go of all the suffering they cannot help. They also need to learn to be true to what they know, and stand firm in their convictions.

All this is what I have had to learn on my own during my many years of spiritual awakening and development. One of the hardest things for me has been to let go of the suffering that others experience. I have wanted so bad to change the world, start a revolution, end all forms of discrimination and hostility against the beautiful soul of humanity, stop animal abuse, and the destruction of our planet. I wish I could do this single-handedly. But I am consistently reminded to let go and let others be. Let it all evolve as it naturally will, and come back to doing the thing that is in front of me. Also, come back to enjoying that which is for me to enjoy. (If you’re not enjoying your life, you cannot fix anything. In fact, you only add to the problem.)

Those of us who are healers, intuitives and empaths know that we have no other choice. We cannot turn our healer selves off. To live happily, we must elevate ourselves to being magical. We must live without suffering while we help heal the suffering of the world. And we must, above all things, drop the guilt. Especially that guilt that creeps in and robs our joy just as we are about to sit down and eat our first nourishing soul-meal in a long, long time! We also need to stand up for ourselves and get far away from the crazymakers (those who always have a drama or emergency right when you are about to do something that is strictly for you and your beautiful self). We need to stand in our power, our knowing, and not let anyone or anything shake us. And if it is us, in our corner, against a world of opposition, so be it. We will win.