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    By Armando Vazquez

    “The address (2021) of the holy, the enlightened’; your unique gift to yourself ‘here and now’ and forever

     “The address of the holy and the enlightened is ‘here and now’. This is the address of happiness, the address of life, the address to your Spirit God. The Buddha said, ‘Life is accessible only in the present moment.’ Life with all its wonders is accessible right now. So we train, practice and work in coming back to the present sacred moment, a day at a time, a moment at a time. When you are sitting on your meditation position, you are established in the present moment. At that moment, you touch life deeply. During walking/running meditation, you do the same thing. Each step brings you back to your true home, the home of your spiritual ancestors-the present sacred moment. It is in the present moment that life, peace, joy, happiness, and well-being are possible.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

       The Holly and Sacred Chumash Hills of Orcutt

    Like small infinite ocean waves that never rest I don’t know where I got my all-consuming energy, dedication and desire to workout HARD, all of the time, in all my athletic endeavours. This sacred energy has been with me all my life. When I was just a little kid of about 6 or 7 years of age running up and down the hellish foreboding desolate lomas de la Colonia Hidalgo on the outskirts of Tijuana. Then I ran, always ran on the school yard and streets of El Monte when we immigrated to the United States in the late 1950’s. I have been running hard ever since as I just celebrated my 70th birthday.

    I never, ever, like, much less enjoy the blood, sweat, pain and tears that goes along with  “breaking down my body to control my mind ” as the jock mantra goes, just part of the discipline and process. Very early on I promised myself that my workout/run would be the hardest thing that I would face all day, inevitably it always is, nothing that life throws at me is harder than my runs. Self-imposed demanding “no pain, no gain; control the mind and the body will follow” discipline and never punk out to mental weakness! I have never once, not ever, gotten the euphoric “runner’s high”, olny pain and unique satisfaction that I had controlled my mind. In my 8 mile, every other day runs in the sacred Chumash hill of Orcutt my meditative state has always been about breaking down walls of fear, pain and limitations imposed by the stubborn and undisciplined mind. At 70 years of age I getting there, finally!

    Late in 2019 came my latest gut wrenching obstacle and life drama; the realization and acceptance of the complete and total loss and demise of our beloved the Café on A/The Acuna Art Gallery & Cultural Center in Oxnard. A people’s center that we had cultivated and nurtured for three decades, now gone. In mourning I had to put my philosophy into action or wilt and die. So I took to the hills of Orcutt, to reconnect and mediate with my ancestors, seeking out counsel, solutions and advice. I was rejuvenated and transformed, running now toward solutions and peace. The Café on A will rise up!

    Running has now late in life become my meditation, my rejuvenation, and salvation. I was always running from the real demons of hunger, injustice, and poverty and toward something that my youth could not yet fully envision or totally comprehend; a blurred promise of something just and loving in humanity and my own life was what drove me.  I felt compelled to control my brain and the material world would follow.  One of my first rules of rigorous workout training that I developed as a young kid was; I stop for no one and nothing can stop me!  That rule has served me well in all my life.  I have been lucky enough to run in the most beautiful place; along the beaches of California and all over my ancestral home of Mexico, and now in the holy Chumash hills of Orcutt and the liberating sands of Oxnard beaches. I am at home with my holy and enlightened ancestors and their land.                                                           

    Into the New Year, 2021, I mediate and pray for all of my family, friends, and love ones that Love, Peace, Social Justice, Happiness be the Eternal Blessed Sunshine upon your Life…. Armando Vazquez, December 2020.

    Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition


    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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