Wake up call

by Gonzalo Salinas

Every morning after my run on the beach and my morning rituals, as I drive to work, I see the kids from the South Beach Elementary crossing the street, I see the cuban windows full of people buying their morning cafe cubano, I see the many yoga fans carrying their mat to their morning practice and I see the magic atmosphere of the beach waking up and starting the day.

I cross the MacArthur causeway admiring the breathtaking view, with the Miami skyline and the port of Miami on one side and the mansions in front of the ocean and the Miami bay on the other one. I take the I95, my usual shortcut to the roads in Coral Way to get to my office.

I’m grateful for all the things I get to see every morning. Why? Because everything I get to see every day is a blessing. I know it firsthand…

south beach

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved to play. I was always organizing the games. I remember always playing with my older brothers, with my friends or my cousins.  Inventing games, running, jumping, screaming … one of my favorites was playing soccer with a paper ball covered in duct tape. I was always busy being a kid.

Sometimes at school, the bell rang earlier than usual. I was very happy because I had the chance to go home and play, but, at that young age,  I wasn’t aware of how dangerous the reason was of why they were sending us home hours before the end of the school day.

My grade school was threatened by the terrorist movements of Shining Path or the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. Both terrorist groups that had taken my city, Lima,  and were destroying everything they touched. When they threatened the school, the only solution was sending everyone home for the day. Most of the time, these were false alarms, somebody calling for no reason,  but in the rest of the city, you couldn’t go to a cafe or a restaurant because the terrorist were bombing the commercial areas, public offices, banks, private companies and every public place you could possibly imagine, spreading chaos and terror all over Lima and the rest of the country.

I grew up on that environment, without being aware of the constant risk that was just walking on the streets of my city. In 12 years of horror from 1980 to 1992, the result was approximately 70 thousand people killed. Fortunately the Peruvian government was able to bring the terror to an end.

There are many places in the world right now, like Pakistan, Iraq or Somalia where terrorism is part of the daily life. I feel so blessed to live where I live now. And I am awake – awake to the reality that not everyone experiences the world I live in. And I am also responsible for staying awake.

So every morning, I am grateful for what I see on my way to work. Gratitude, for me, is the opposite of fear. Be grateful for what you have and send your positive energies or say a prayer for those places where terror is the reality. I pray for a world where all the kids can go to the streets, and play.

Gonzalo photo

Gonzalo Salinas is an Assistant Editor for the ManKind Project Journal, a publication of the ManKind Project, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization offering powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Salinas studied Literature in Lima, Peru at San Marcos University, and has been living in the United States since 2003.  He lives in Miami, FL. Salinas is committed to his own personal development, and to spreading the word about the vision and mission of the Mankind Project.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.

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