Yesterday Jack and I drove to Mexico with our InsightLA board member Butch Schuman, Tere Romano, an InsightLA teacher from Mexico and her daughter Fredel, and Rosamaria Segura from our Facilitator Training, who created mindfulness classes in two shelters in the border city of Tijuana. In the women’s shelter, there are countless little children playing wildly while their mothers stand quietly in the chaos. In the men’s shelter, a dozen residents come and sit in a circle of folding chairs, silently meditating. We experience the sense of safety, peace, and warm respect Rosamaria and the men share.
The people at our border with Mexico are deportees or asylum seekers fleeing violence – most are caught with nowhere to go. They are part of the millions of faceless and forgotten refugees in our world like the people of Darfur stuck in refugee camps for 15 years now. Imagine, what horror could propel single mothers carrying babies and small children into taking a dangerous and harrowing trip across a continent? They know the cruelty of family separations continues here in the US. One young mother prays to be the lucky one who gets to keep her child; she hasn’t yet told her 3-year-old daughter she might be taken away.
It takes love and strength to care for migrants swathed in sorrow, trauma, and loss and help them move forward in their lives. We’re touched to witness the dedicated shelter staff and volunteers helping the migrants keep their courage and brave dreams alive in the face of great vulnerability and uncertainty. The migrants themselves, when everything they knew has been swept away by circumstances, are transforming their lives with the help of social, legal and educational services. All of us humans can thrive when given encouragement, opportunities, and the friendship of community. A bit of mindfulness training helps people stay present when the past is painful and the future frightening. Learning to tap into the richness of what is here in the present moment helps us all grow, learn and thrive.
The Immigrants by Alfredo Gonzalez y Aguilar
The immigrants are shadows that walk.
They are a sorrow wrapped in broken blankets moving in the darkness.
In the desert, through every step, they leave their suffering and
laments, or a son buried along the path.
The immigrants walk alone. They carry the solitude on their shoulders.
Crossing the river, if they get to big cities they
bear the face of the marginal people.
We know about the fear of walking on the streets selling fruit ice
creams, pupusas, in spite of the implacable terror that assaults us.
What more can I do? I have to continue!
Tomorrow is very near, the sun is coming.
I cannot be tired, I have to follow a dream!
I bring hope and faith in my fingers.