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A Matter of Perspective

November 1, 2010

I am a prisoner of the moment

A slave to my emotions

Stuck in the feeling

Locked in the present

Unable to escape my reality

Chained to my experiences

Drowning in my life

 

I am living in this moment

Overcome by my emotions

Overwhelmed by these feelings

Present in my life

Really living this time

Experiencing my circumstances

Aware of my existence

 

I am alive

I am a right here – right now

Happy to be me

Grateful for another today

Enjoying what is

Accepting my life

Embracing reality

 

I am living

I am learning

I am growing

I am evolving

I am being

I am love

I am free

I simply am

You see – it’s all a matter of perspective!

Monica Garcia Saenz © 2010

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The Knocking

October 29, 2010
Love came knocking at my door today…
unexpectedly
It’s gentle melodic wrapping on my
hearts center surprised me…
suddenly

I listened and heard your song
in the evening wind and I smiled…
automatically

I peeked through the window of my soul
and saw your eyes smiling out at me…
happily

Yesterday I might have shied away
and ran to hide…
fearfully

But today I opened the door of life to love
and with open arms received you…
lovingly

Monica Garcia Saenz © 2010

My Love Affair

October 24, 2010
Is there such a thing as a passion for poetry or love for writing? No, not your typical sultry, sinful and lustful love affair I suppose… I apologize for the disappointment if you were expecting some juicy confession of the heart.  This may not be your average love affair but yet it just very well may be one that can indeed capture your heart and move your soul almost as powerfully as any real life lover can.

So before I continue, I have to ask you…  Have you ever lost your self for a few moments in a captivating poem or a few weeks in an enticing book you just couldn’t put down until the last painful page? I say painful because you didn’t really want it to end, even though you knew it had to. Have you ever been transported to a place far, far away through the magical words of a talented writer and without ever even leaving your doorstep? Have you ever felt so moved by a character in a book that long after you finished reading you sat and imagined what they would say to you were you to ever be so fortunate as to encounter them face to face? 

If you answered yes to any of my previous questions than you might have an idea of what I speak of and you can definitely relate. Read on my friend, I say read on!  If, however, you did not say yes to my previous questions, then I can only pity you. To you I must say the following: You, my friend, haven’t really lived at all until you totally lose yourself in the mesmerizing pages of a book or fall in love with a fascinating fictional character. You haven’t quite lived until you travel to unimaginable places  through the descriptive and colorful words of an overactive imagination coupled with the courage of a writer to share her creativity in black and white… all for the opportunity to entertain and move you with her writings, if only for a short time.  

I cannot for the life of me remember the exact date nor can I name the hour when my love affair with words began. I can tell you that I have been fascinated with stories for as long as I can remember. As a child I sat and listened to the story telling in the family… ghost stories native to my mother’s old small town in Chihuahua. Stories my father used to tell us during our long and memorable road trips to and around my family’s country of Mexico. Stories my mother and grandmother used to tell me about when they were little, how they lived and what life was like for them.

Some of my greatest moments in life have been curled up in a quite, comfortable place, totally lost in a good book.

Later I lost myself in books more times than I can count or even remember. I used to sit for hours wondering what was next and imagining myself inside those creative stories. Through books I traveled the world a few times over and I’ve met the most interesting people you could ever imagine. I have discovered so much history, culture and fascinating details of this amazing and crazy world we call home. On more than one occasion I cried when a book ended because I wanted to know what was next or the ending just wasn’t to my liking. Library trips for me are still a treat, so many hidden treasures… so many books to read and worlds to explore. YES I want them all! To this very day my favorite store in the mall is still the bookstore, crazy as it may sound I own more books than shoes. My favorite online shopping these days is through my nook and my greatest excitement is finding a book I want to read on clearance or even better yet for FREE! If you were to ask me to describe my dream home it would be full of nice comfortable quiet places for me to just sit, curled up with a book… lost in some new and exciting place… a pleasure only an avid reader understands fully.

This joy I found in reading has brought me to my current creative love for writing. For me it is an honor to share part of me with you through the collection of my thoughts written down specifically for you to connect with me and experience something, hopefully great, through my writings. Today I dream of taking you on an exciting journey with me and having you see the world through my eyes. I dream of inspiring you to live a moment outside your self, to travel where you thought you couldn’t and remember what you didn’t even know you had forgotten. I dream of touching your heart and moving your soul with my colorful tapestry of words… to remind you that you are not alone, that you are very much alive and that we all are more alike than we are different.

My love affair with words has driven me to put my thoughts down in writing, to organize my poetry in a book and to want to just share it all with you today. To you the reader, I say thank you for allowing me to share part of me with you today. I am honored!

Anything is Possible

October 21, 2010

Anything is Possible

Anything is truly possible - you simply have to believe in it!

I believe anything is possible

when you decide to live your life

with passion and purpose

with only Love

at the forefront of your life

releasing yourself from the past

and living only in the present moment

Embracing unwavering faith

and unbreakable hope

knowing failure is not an option

and giving up is not a choice

You finally reach that point

where your fears lose power over you

and you forge ahead anyway

keeping your eyes fixed on the

light at the end of the tunnel

knowing your goals clearly and definitely

Believing in your heart and mind

that good awaits you because

you deserve it – it’s already yours

Understanding that strength and endurance

are born from deep within you

and they expand effortlessly outward in your life

spilling out and inspiring others

who happen to cross paths with you

Once you decide to use your God given gifts

and abilities for the greater good

to provide something positive 

something of significance and service to others

just to make a difference in the world

Everything changes

Everything falls into place

Doors open magically

and suddenly

the Universe conspires to make your greatest

dreams come true…

Like I said… Anything is possible

 Monica Garcia Saenz © 2010

As featured on Jingle Poetry Potluck  – http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/

The story behind the book –

October 7, 2010

Expressions of the Self has been a long time in the making. I started writing poetry in high school but didn’t really get into it on a deeper level until the birth of my daughter Edith in 1993. Right around that time I had a radio show on KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio in Kansas City, Missouri. Mine was bi-lingual night time radio show by the name of “La Hora del Amor” or “The Spanish Love Hour” and through it I played romantic music in spanish and a little bit of romantic english music performed by Latin artists. It was through this show that I got the idea to read poetry on the air  half way through the show and it was a hit with my listening audience. Then I asked myself why not write my own poetry both in english and spanish and share it on the air. My listeners loved it even more because it was personal and they inspired me to continue writing and asked me if I would consider publishing a book. This was the birth of my love for poetry and the moment I realize I had a gift for writing. With each radio show my poetry collection grew and grew as did my excitement and passion for writing.  I pushed myself to write a new poem for every show and with each positive response I began to believe in myself more and more…  

Expressions of the Self - A Journey Through Life in the Form of Poetry... Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

What my listeners didn’t know was that it was right around this same time of the radio show that I decided to teach myself to write in spanish (never having formally studied it before, other than high school spanish class). My parents were from Chihuahua, Mexico so I grew up speaking spanish at home but I didn’t know how to read it and write it let alone write poetry in spanish. I had a great love for Mexico, it’s music and it’s culture and at times I even wished I was born there like my older siblings and parents. So there I was, at age 24, a bi-lingual radio show host that decided to turn poet… and so I did. With my spanish/english dictionary in hand I started writing and I loved it. Funny thing is that most of my poetry I wrote in spanish and translated into english. I share this because most of the poems you will read in this book are translations of a spanish version and I hope to one day publish the spanish version of this book as well.

There were long periods of time in my life in which I didn’t write anything. My poetry folder sat sadly in a dusty box or a crowded drawer, unattended and forgotten. I look back and I clearly see that the reason why my inspiration was missing was because I was in a period of growth and transition… finding my way but mostly just lost. I have come to understand that it really is in times of peace, tranquility and joy that I am able to tap into my creativity and express myself in written form. It is when I am on the “right” track, when things are going good and I am doing well that they ideas begin to flow and spirit speaks to me in the form of creative writing energy.

This book really is a compliation of my life’s journey. I look back and I don’t regret the pain, the suffering or the difficult moments because it was through them that I learned to not only grow and become stronger but really and truly appreciate the beautiful moments of my life. I believe I needed to travel, love, lose and just live life. I needed to experience it all in a big way, fall down, get back up again and hit my head against the metaphorical brick wall a million times in order to have what I needed to get back up and live life in a greater fashion and finally be where I am today – just grateful and happy. I needed to grow and mature from it all. I needed to meditate and think about it, understand it and write it all down so that I could share it with you today, here, in this book!

To read more about Expressions of the Self – click here.

A Hero’s Story

September 27, 2010
Although this entry isn’t about Expressions of  the Self, it is a story I wrote and I felt this was the ideal place to share it with you. Primitivo has been a great inspiration to me in my life. His legacy lives on through me, through his family and through everyone that chooses to remember him and follow his example of being a Hero in life.
 
 A Hero’s Story

By Monica Garcia Saenz

A Hero's Story was featured in the Latino Soul book

This is the story of an uncle I never knew. I grew up looking up at his beautiful painting in my living room wall and wondered who he really was and what he was like. He was a young handsome Hispanic man with dark hair, a clean-cut look and a sure stride to his walk with a gentle smile on his face. One might think he was an ordinary man just by looking at him. However, nothing could be further from the truth, for Primitivo Garcia or “Tivo” as friends and family used to call him, was very extraordinary.

An ordinary man would have walked away on that dreadful cold November night when a gang of six young thugs attacked, taunted, tripped, teased and sexually assaulted his pregnant English teacher. Instead, he immediately became enraged at the ugly sight, his blood boiled and he no longer felt the cold wind hitting his fresh young face or the numbness in his fingers. He forgot all about himself or the dangers he faced as he intervened and defended her.  He did what always came natural to him, he immediately ran to the rescue. His brother Alfredo was two steps behind him, confused and stunned at the same time to see his older brother calm and conversing one minute and so crazed and angry the next. Tivo jumped into the middle of the violent scene and began to fight off her attackers. His boxing skills gave him an advantage that night as they took on the attackers.

Mrs. Kindermann had been standing in the cold wind, waiting for her ride after giving her last adult education English class for the evening at the inner-city Westport High School, when the gang attacked her. She was caught off guard and angrily yelled for them to stop as they spat obscenities, tore her purse away and knocked her to the ground. Frightened she called up to the sky in desperation hoping someone would hear her plea for help.  She feared for her life as she lay in disbelief and witnessed a most unbelievable sight as two brave knights without their shining armor came to change her destiny and save her from a horrible fate. She embraced her heavy belly as she prayed for God to save her baby, only months away from entering into this cold, cruel and harsh world.  “Be careful”, was all she could mutter to her brave students as she managed to pull herself up off of the cold and dirty ground, grab her purse and run to safety. As she ran she heard one of the boys yell from the distance “Shoot him, Shoot him”.

“Go, run away from here”, Tivo yelled to Alfredo in Spanish as he drew the attention of the boys onto him and away from his teacher and brother. Alfredo ignored his brothers’ order to run to safety; he refused to leave him alone and bravely stood his ground. Something deep within him told him not to run as he sensed the danger of the moment, but he could not have imagined the events that were to follow. In the midst of the chaos and darkness Alfredo heard one of the boys yell out “Shoot him!” as another drew a gun from his jacket and pulled the trigger. He heard three shots fired as a cold sweat traveled rapidly through his body and made even his soul tremble. His worst fears were confirmed as he witnessed his brother fall down in a pool of blood on the cold red sidewalk. The last of the three shots had pierced his stomach, Alfredo ran to his brothers side who way lying doubled over on the ground as the thugs disappeared. 

An immense pain filled Alfredo as he held his wounded brother. Hot tears burned his cold face. “Why you?” “How could this happen?” “God, how could you let such cruelty happen to such a wonderful person?” I can only imagine the many painful thoughts that tortured his mind as he aged more in those eternal moments than most of us do in years.  “Don’t tell mama,” Tivo begged, “She is old, her heart is weak and the pain would be more than she could bear”. Tivo, amazingly, remained selfless, even in such dire circumstances. “Take good care of mama” he pleaded to Alfredo who ached at the sound of his brothers’ words and he felt his own heart breaking at the sight of his dying brother. To this day, I don’t think his heart has ever fully recovered.

At the KC General Hospital, Tivo fought a great battle for his life.  He lost large amounts of blood and was succumbed to various unsuccessful operations. The community lit candles, united in prayer, gave blood transfusions and raised money to help pay for his medical expenses. There were lines of people waiting to give blood.  Unfortunately, Tivo died 13 days later from complications due to the eruption of his pancreas. It caused an infection in his stomach and vital organs as well as blood poisoning all over his body.   The community gathered to support the family, pay their respects and mourn his loss. It was a painfully difficult time for my family and my grandmother never really recovered from the great loss. Tivo was right about her weakness. With his death, grief consumed her. First, it took over her heart in pain and then it empowered her mind. Later we just called it Alzheimer’s, but I think it was the never-ending grief of his loss.

Tivo was unique even as a child and his actions were to be admired even into his youth. But what he did on that fatal night of November 15th, 1967 my family will never forget. His selfless ways and heroic traits led him to his fateful death, never to be forgotten, at least not by the Garcia family from Camargo, Chihuahua, Mexico. They, like many other immigrants in search of the American dream, left their hometown and settled in Kansas City, Missouri, ready to embrace a new life of abundance and opportunity.  Tivo’s dreams were to become a U.S. citizen, buy his mother a home, develop his artistic abilities and to one day have a family of his own.

He died because he was not ordinary. He could not stand to see any injustice being done, he had to step in and make it right. At the time of his death, Tivo held a steady job as a shipping clerk for a local food company. He left unfinished paintings in my grandmother’s living room and was engaged; soon to marry his young sweetheart. He left behind seven brothers, two sisters, a grieving mother, a large extended family and a pained community. His major dream was to be “Somebody” someday, at least that particular dream he did accomplish.

To me, as that little girl staring at the living room picture, he looked like a dreamy movie star with beautiful eyes and a warm smile. In my family, he was a topic rarely discussed for fear of making my grandmother cry as she relived the pain of his absence. When the adults consented to fill us kids in on our hero uncle, all I ever heard was how good he was and every one always spoke very highly of him. He was the Uncle I always longed to meet and the one who now inspires me to search for the hero within me.

In doing my research for this story I discovered that Primitivo was the first local Hispanic hero in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. At the time of his death, the governor of Missouri, Warren Hearnes, declared him an honorary citizen of the state as well as declaring December 1st Primitivo Garcia day in Kansas City, Missouri and dedicating a memorial site in his name at a park in the community. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded him with a Carnegie Medal in recognition of an outstanding act of heroism, the Missouri House of Representatives granted him “posthumous American citizenship” and The Catholic Youth Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph dedicated their 1968 yearbook to him.  During the winter of 1967 my uncle became a hero.

Unfortunately, his legacy lay dormant and forgotten by the public for 25 years until a local reporter from Fox 4 news by the name of Joe Arce did a two part televised story in memory of him. On April 27th, 1993 the reporter, family and friends of Tivo convinced the School Board in the renaming a new elementary school to The Primitivo Garcia World Language School. This was a proud day for the Garcia family.  In the school his legacy lives on daily through the lives of its students who voice his name and proudly tell newcomers of his legend. The children have recorded a song and video of their schools namesake. His spirit lives on in the school walls, in the community and in the people he touches even today with his legacy. The Kansas City Coalition held their meeting number 5 at the Primitivo Garcia School for the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in the fall of 2003. Every year, the school celebrates his life, death and legacy on His day, December 1st. The Garcia family proudly unites at the school along with the community to remember Tivo and honor his memory as well as see traces of his soul in the eyes of every child singing his song. These children are now studying other heroes such as Cesar E. Chavez and reminding us all that we have a hero inside of us waiting to emerge in life, today.

I would like to end this story with a dedication to my uncle Alfredo, the living hero of this story, whom I believe has never received enough recognition for his actions. He too, like Tivo, was there on that cold night, he too acted heroically. The only difference is that, unlike Tivo, he did not die. He alone carries the real weight and the pain of Tivo’s death with him every day. His life is forever scarred by that tragic evening. I know these years have been extremely difficult for him and yet he has chosen to remain a silent hero. To me, he is a constant reminder that true hero’s are not only those who die, but also those ordinary people who risk all in an extraordinary manner for the higher good in a selfless way.

Monica Garcia Saenz can be reached at monica_garcia_saenz@hotmail.com

Welcome

September 24, 2010

Welcome to Expressions of the Self A Journey Though Life in the Form of Poetry

The purpose of this blog is to share excerts of my new book with you. This has been a long time coming, I’m glad I finally got the courage to share it with you. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading. Please feel free to leave your comments, share you thoughts and offer your suggestions.

The Self consists of four parts:

The Physical

The Mental

The Emotional

and The Spiritual….

We each express all parts of the self daily in many ways… verbally, physically, in written form and through our actions. For us, the need for expression is so great that we could not suppress it and remain sane, even if we tried. All parts of the self are connected in their essence and a balance must be obtained in order for the whole to survive successfully… in the following pages you will discover stories unraveled in the form of poetry that contain bits and pieces of my entire self on a journey in that eternal search for balance as well as the many other “self’s” I have encountered throughout my lifetime. This very personal and intimate story collection has never before been shared in this format. Thank you for sharing the journey with me.  Monica Garcia Saenz

 “A smile is the voice of inner beauty expressing itself to the world from deep within.”  –  Monica Garcia Saenz

 

 

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