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Ernesto and the Holidays

 A thirty something latino man with dark wavy hair and a trimmed mustache sits alone at a table with a small, spiral note pad. He meticulously goes through some notes and scribbles down new revelations as they come to him.

He’s dressed in a nice pair of jeans, a crisp, blue button down shirt and wears practical dark, laced up shoes. He grabs his phone from his back pocket and dials. When someone on the other line answers, he speaks: 

Hello? Yes, mmm…mmm…yyy… nnn…nnn..name is Eeeeeer… eeer… nnnnnest…to. I’m cccc…cccc… calling abbbb…bout ttthhh… tttthhh..the  aaaa… aaa… ppp… part… mmm… ent.

 He’s boisterous and I try to avoid glancing over because I know other people in the Whole Foods dining area are already staring at him. Ernesto sits directly across from me, so it’s difficult not to listen in on his conversation as the volume of his voice increases when the person on the other end of the line is having a hard time understanding him.

III… mmm… ccc… ccc… ccc… calling aaa..about… th..th… the aaa…appp…part.. mmm…ment.”

Challenges

Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles knows how difficult it is to find an apartment in and around the city. It’s a monumental task for most of us; not only to find an apartment, but to find something affordable is challenging at best.

Los Angeles homelessness is surging with nearly 60,000 people in LA county alone where individuals can be found homeless on any given night. A whopping 47% of unsheltered homelessness can be found in the state of California, the highest in the country.*

  * courtesy of Los Angeles Almanac.

Tears well up in my eyes and I feel deeply for this man. I don’t know why I’m so emotional; maybe it’s because before me is someone struggling and there isn’t much I can do. So I do the only thing I can think of that may be of some help; I pray for him.  

I’m perplexed as to why I was so moved, but sometimes strangers can wake us up to the wider scope of our lives; showing us things about ourselves that are in need of attention or encouraging us in another area; venturing forth into new territory.

Giving

I take a moment and reflect upon this, the state of our country and the world. In a time of great division where many are suffering, this is when in our rawness and vulnerability we need each other the most. One way we can create unity is through giving.

Studies have shown when one gives, one receive even more in return.

 Here are some benefits in giving:

  • A feeling of happiness and release of depression.
  • Helps in alleviating stress.
  • Improves sense of self and self-worth.
  • Improves one’s energy.
  • Gives one a sense of purpose.

During the holiday season, it can be a challenging time for many so I decided to do something different.

This year instead of giving gifts to friends during the holidays, I’ve asked some if they’d be willing for us to contribute to a charity or non-profit we feel passionate about. The few that I’ve posed this offer to loved the idea. 

Charities/Non-Profits

Below are a couple of websites with a list of charities and non-profits to choose from throughout the United States.

https://www.charities.org

https://greatnonprofits.org/categories/view/homeless-and-housing

Here are a few non-profits and charities I’ve donated to and who are doing wonderful work around the world.

Save the Children

http://www.savethechildren.org

  • Save the Children helps children around the world with health, education and protection.

Oxfam

https://www.oxfamamerica.org

  • Oxfam has a wide ranges of services including: ending poverty and gender inequality, local disaster response and climate change.

Care

https://www.care.org

  • Care helps in the elimination of poverty and advocates social justice.

There are many charities and non-profits within the US and around the world and if you find one that resonates with what you’re passionate about; see if you can offer assistance and brightens someone’s holiday.

Volunteering

Another option is to volunteer at a local shelter, mission or soup kitchen. Most people who work in these facilities welcome any help or acts of kindness. Not only are you extending a hand to someone in need, but it can also help one feel more aligned and inclusive within their community.

Connecting

If you’re feeling isolated or alone, reach out to a friend and spend quality time with them.

More and more people are yearning for quality experiences versus material items during the holidays and in general. Spending time with a dear friend can uplift one’s spirit and also help gain perspective on areas that may appear overwhelming.

In speaking with a trusted friend or loved one, it can uplift a person’s wellbeing and also provide comfort and hope, which could possibly be the greatest gift of all.

Peace and Good Will to All

May our hearts be filled with kindness, love and contentment during this holiday season and as this decade draws to a close, let us share and have compassion for each other, uniting and allowing peace to envelop within and around the world.


Peace and blessings,
Napag Stacy

P. S. I wanted to take some time to say thank you to my family, my husband, friends and clients. You have all added to my life in glorious ways and I am grateful!