Cultural Wisdom

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You are not alone. Someone already wished you a good day for today. That goodness is there already waiting for you, from the moment you wake up. The earlier the better. You have been told, "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda" rise early and God will help you.

There is a certain devotion to doing your task with skill and impeccability. The floors shine, the beds are flawlessly made, the roses bloom; the grass manicured, the fields sharp, the tables precise: art shines everywhere. So much for so little. Because it's a matter of doing everything "bien hecho" the right way. And there is generosity. There is pride in giving you the best meal, the best drink. The best of everything. If you are the guest, you are an ambassador of the divine. And when you leave they say "vaya con Dios" or "Adios" which means you return to God, even if you have forgotten where you came from. The culture knows.

You ask a question, and they take time to answer. If the answer is complex, they take time to make things clear. You are more important than time: that is what it means to be sacred.

It is wonderful to see that somewhere, someone has preserved his humanity. Migrants do this for the world. At a time when others are confined to nationality, status or position, migrants quietly affirm "I am human." Everything that we do must begin with this, and everything that we accomplish, without this is meaningless.

Cesar Chavez was not eloquent: he just spoke the truth. When he was happy, he smiled. When he was sad, he cried. He was transparent. When he fasted, he felt the pain of others out of his own free will.


​​To make a home in the world requires some skill. But to make of the world our home takes even greater skill. And yet, this is exactly what migrant wisdom has taught us across the ages. No boundaries: the whole world is our home.
Just like the salmon, born in sweet water, travels around the world and finds his way with his inner compass, and the monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles and finds, always its sanctuary, in the same way, the migrant follows the currents of life and destiny.

I was told, as a child, that the first Mexicans discovered their identity when they left their ancestral land, Aztlan. They called that which was in heaven, and earth and everywhere "Mexi", the Great Spirit. "Mexica" meant him or her who follows God. It was, right from the beginning, a spiritual way of life. From this perspective, the entire earth was felt as "tonantzin" which means our mother. With this understanding, no matter where one finds himself, one is home.

Mystics from around the world have given us testimony of their sense of togetherness with life and nature. Saint Francis knows that the sun is his brother and the moon his sister. He speaks of brother wind and sister air. His family is everywhere. When the birds sing, he recognizes their song. When the flower blooms he feels in her his same life. The farmworker knows this from the tomato, from the peach, from the lettuce. They find the life that lives in us all.

The birds sing, every morning. Their song carries harmony along the day. "Buenos Dias" they say, and they bless you with these worlds. It's plural. "Good days", which means that they wish you a good day even on those days when they don't see you.