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De Parte del Maestro
By Josh Flores

Cuidate (Part 3)
In my previous two columns I have presented my approach to wellness and shared some information that I hope will not only aid los jovenes in living a fruitful life, but also inform nuestra gente as to the dilemmas that we are facing. 

Much of what I have discussed is based on developing positive habits and routines, which ultimately facilitate the process of being healthy in all areas in life.  My philosophy is there are three areas in life that if maintained in a positive way will equate to happiness and overall good health—they include the mind, body, and soul

This issue I will address nurturing the soul.

Often we as human beings get so caught up in the rush of the “rat race” that we often neglect the core of our being, la alma (the soul).  Now it is important for me to state from the onset that I do not plan to make this a piece on religion.  All people have their own respective views on religion, as do I, and I respect each person’s right to believe what they choose to.  I feel that if it works for you and helps you be your best, then you should embrace it.  Beyond that, I may make some references to various ideologies but I am not condoning or promoting any specific religion.

Why is it important?
If you turn on the news, read the newspaper, or get your news online, there is a general theme that emerges about much of the coverage—it’s negative

As I have stated before, I am a realist and I know the world in which we live can be a cruel and often unfair place, but I also believe that whatever energy (positive or negative) that you convey will eventually come back to you. 

The problem that I perceive is with much of the media focus being negative, it breeds more negativity. Essentially, my message is that while there are bad things happening in the world, there are also a lot of good things; however, in many media outlets it is often portrayed as all bad. 

The reason I am bringing this to light is because if the majority of the stimuli that a person absorbs is negative, it can truly affect their inner soul. You may not think this is the case with you, and some people are without a doubt affected more than others. The truth is the fact that some people are affected more than others and is a large part of what I am attempting to expose as part of the problem.  Many people are apathetic towards the suffering of others, meaning they simply don’t care.  I believe that if people cared about others just a little more, then the world would be a better place. 

Fight back
The effects of so much negativity can weigh heavily on a soul and there are some things you can do to fight back and heal yourself. 

There are a number of great books that you can read about living a life of positivity. My favorite is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  It is small book and a very easy read.  The book discusses four elements in your life that if you align them you can achieve balance and more importantly eliminate or at least lessen the negative factors in your life.  The focus of the teachings is based on Tolteca wisdom. 

Los toltecas were indigenous peoples of México who the aztecas claimed to be descendants of. 

I first heard of the book when mi padre presented it to me as a gift when I graduated from college.  It is great because you can read it over and over and highlight which of the teachings are most beneficial to you.  There are of course numerous other books that may help you; I know the Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul series has a book specifically focused on the teenage soul.  I would suggest that you explore on your own.  The best place would be the self-help section of any bookstore. 

Give back
If you are not much of a reader then hope is not lost.  You can do any number of things that can be very effective tools in nurturing your soul.  I have written previously about the benefits of giving to others.  I know that for me personally, when I volunteer or just commit a random act of kindness I get that feeling inside of me that I can’t get from anything else. 

In my mind that is medicine for my soul.  Of course, I am no saint and the goal is not to achieve saintly status; rather it should be to feel good at your core.  The more hurt and negativity that you do in the world, the more damage you do to that core. To the contrary, the more good and positivity you radiate, the more nurturing you provide to that core. 

Whatever you do does not have to be extravagant or even include strangers.  Helping those close to you can be the greatest feeling in the world and it is often the little things that make the biggest difference. 

Amigos o enemigos?
In a past column, I wrote of the critical effect the people you surround yourself with can have on your life.  In the case of your soul, it is no different.  People who are negative will naturally bring damage.  While you cannot pick and choose who your family is you can pick and choose who your friends are. 

One saying that one of my fraternity brothers uses is: If you can’t change the people around you, then change the people around you.  I think that is a great statement because ultimately you can’t change anyone. A person will only change when they are ready to change; however changing who you surround yourself is simply a matter of making the decision and acting upon it.  You may lose friends, but are you really?  People who bring you down are not friends from my perspective; in fact they are enemies to your wellness.  As the saying goes, misery loves company, which essentially means negativity breeds negativity.

I truly hope that something that I have written over the past three articles will be of some value to you in your life.  I don’t have all of the answers, but I have lived and experienced a lot in my years on this earth. Ultimately, the answers lie within you and my desire is to provide a guideline to your overall well-being. 

Buena suerte en tu viaje. ¡Hasta la próxima vez!

I would love to hear from you about my column; please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about.  You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ¡Gracias por tu apoyo!







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