Quote of the Day: We need the World first! Luis J. Rodriguez at his poetry reading at Central Lakes College (CLC) in Brainerd, MN on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. If everyone in the world is taken care of, we’re taken care of, too. 

I have joined a blogfest called We are the World where bloggers from around the world post on the last Friday of each month something positive that is happening in the world. It seems most fitting to begin this journey with a reflection on the powerful reading by Luis J. Rodgriguez, poet, columnist, recovering addict, peace activist, community servant, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, and lover of words. He says, “You are all poets. Poetry is everywhere, in everything. You need to find the music in words.” He stood on the stage of your little community college and gave us a mountaintop experience. He spoke from the heart. He read his poetry to us with passion and emotion. He shared bits of himself with us, and read our emotions on our faces. He began the reading with poems about women who have been influential in his life. He went on to talk about his addiction, his rock bottom, his awakening, and his recovering. He said, “Do what you love, and never stop doing it.”

Luis J. Rodriguez speaking at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN

Luis Rodriguez is a man with a turbulent past. By age 16, he was addicted to heroine, was a member of a gang in Southern California, and locked up in a cell next to Charles Manson. It was during his terrifying days in prison that he began to write. He’d always been the odd gang member who liked to read, who wrote in his notebook, who saw the world and needed a way to express himself. He says, “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wrote.” Eventually a friend sent one of his poems into a contest, where he got honorable mention, $250, and a plane ticket to Berkeley where he met and heard some of the poets he most admires. 

You can read more about Rodriguez’ reading at CLC in the article in the Brainerd Dispatch.

Now, Rodriguez runs a community library, especially serving youth in LA. He does writing workshops with men who are incarcerated, and fights for humanitarian causes. You can learn more about the man and his positive impact on his community and the greater world at the website for Luis Javier Rodriguez.

Here is his Ted Talk.

I’ll leave you with the five points of advice he gives to anyone who will listen:

1. Get help. Especially if you have an addiction. Find or create a healthy community.

2. Find your passion, your art, your genius, and do it!

3. Find a cause bigger than yourself.

4. Find a spiritual path. And, it’s not the same for everybody. In AA and Al-Anon, we call it a “Higher Power.” What is your “Higher Power,” what/who is calling you?

5. Learn to own your life.

This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest. The co-hosts this month are: Belinda Witzenhausen, Lynn HallbrooksSimon Falk, Sylvia McGrath, and Damyanti Biswas

You can join this Blogfest by visiting Damyanit Biswas’ We Are the World Blogfest page. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What is your answer/direction to any of Rodriguez’ five points above? What are some good things that are happening in your community?