Last week, I got to meet two survivors of the Orlando Pulse massacre. We called them the two Angels. That’s because those are their names – Angel Colón and Angel Torres. And let me tell you, their names match their bright spirits.
If you watched any of the news following the shooting, you most likely have seen Angel Colón. Colón had been shot five times. In the days after, from his hospital bed, he shared openly with the world his extreme pain and loss from that night. Through his words and raw emotions, the world was right there with him, and he brought Orlando to the world.
Angel and Angel showed up in Los Angeles last Friday to speak at The Wall Las Memorias Project, a non-profit that my partner Richard Zaldivar founded twenty-three years ago. Richard currently serves as its Executive Director. The Wall is known for creating the country’s first publicly funded AIDS Monument, located here in Los Angeles. Today The Wall continues to serve the health and wellness needs of Latino LGBTQ populations in Los Angeles.
The gathering with these two survivors last week aimed to expand the conversation of violence as a community health issue. What ended up being created was a night of healing for all of us, where both Angels inspired us to focus on light in the midst of darkness.
Angel and Angel shared how true it is that communities come together in times of crisis. Orlando was no different.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, resources poured in to assist in whatever way that helped, including offers of free therapy and the covering of any and all medical costs. They noted that today, the rainbow flag is prominently displayed all throughout the city, a symbol that is helping to create a feeling of safety and security for the LGBTQ community.
We shared with the Angels how the people of Los Angeles showed up in the days after the shooting. We talked about the community vigils we held and the gatherings we organized that intentionally included a wide diversity of community, faith and civic leaders.
We helped to show them how Los Angeles came together in support of Orlando and grieved alongside with them. They helped to show us what community support actually looked like in Orlando in the aftermath of the shooting. Our sharing with each other opened all of our eyes to different ways we could build community and encourage each other.
During the question and answer period, one person in the audience shared how vulnerable and scared he still is. As a gay young man in his 20s, he explained that he has a desire to go to the clubs, to dance and to enjoy his youth. But he admitted that he is very hesitant these days, and his reluctance is robbing him of enjoying life.
In response, Angel Torres confessed that he, too, sometimes has fear when he goes to clubs these days. But he doesn’t let his fear stop him from going.
Torres pointed out that whenever he enters a building, he actively notes where the exits are. When the crowds get overwhelming, he makes a decision to leave. Enjoy your life, and make sure you’re aware, he told us.
Another person asked poignantly about whether the two of them felt any sense of forgiveness. In the days and weeks following the shooting, Angel Colón confessed how angry and hurt he was.
But he eventually came to this realization. With so many problems in the world, we have the power to focus on the things in life that uplift us. Colón especially encouraged us to always tell our loved ones that we love them. We never know what may happen in life. No matter what happens, Colón emphasized how important it is to stay positive.
As the evening began to close, Angel Torres revealed that he is now pursuing a career as a life coach and motivational speaker. He is taking this tragedy and transforming it as a way to inspire people to live life fully.
“Be your authentic selves,” Torres said. “And don’t forget to have fun.”
One way that Torres reminds himself and others to do that is by using the hashtag #OrlandoKeepDancing in all his social media posts.
What a wonderful reminder and set of life lessons embodied in this one hashtag.
Be your authentic self. Stay positive. Tell others you love them. Have fun. Be aware. And keep dancing.
Years ago, there was this interesting phenomena happening during my Vision Board workshops. For some reason, a number of people were cutting out pictures of Oprah Winfrey and pasting them onto their boards.
When I asked them why they had Oprah on there, almost all of them responded similarly:
“I want to be on the Oprah Winfrey show.”
You see, the participants in my workshop had visions of writing their own books, creating transformational programs, and taking bold adventures in their lives. They carried with them this idea that being on the Oprah Winfrey show meant that they had reached a peak of success. And most claimed they were ready to embrace that success now.
So, in the most loving and gentlest of ways, here’s the question I posed back to them:
“If you got a call from Oprah’s producers today and they wanted you on the show tomorrow, would you be ready?”
In all cases, each person said no, they weren’t ready.
In response, I asked each of them, “Okay, so who do you have to become in order for you to be that person that Oprah’s producers call?”
As I teach in my workshops and to my clients, every person has a vision of a greater life. However, your vision isn’t outside of you to be found or captured. In truth, your vision lives inside you, waiting to be expressed.
The way you express your vision is to shed the layers of ideas and beliefs that no longer serve or suit you, and to say yes to the aspects of who you are that allow your vision to come through you more easily.
In other words, you express your vision when you become more of the person you are called to be.
As I posed this question to the vision board participants, I invite you to breathe in this question as well: “Who do you have to become to be that person in your vision?”
In truth, you don’t have to become anything or anyone. The question of “who do you have to become” is really one of “who are you called to be.”
So let’s breathe in that question: “In order to express more fully the vision in your heart, who are you called to be?”
Feel the spaciousness of that. Feel the yearning in that. Feel the joy in that.
If you listen closely and “catch” the vision that’s inspiring your heart, you’re being called out to express more of the joy of who you are. You’re being called to step more boldly into your own greatness.
Your vision may or may not include wanting to be interviewed by Oprah. If not, what is the vision that’s inspiring your heart?
What is the highest idea that is wanting to express more fully in and as your life?
As you feel into that, step into this question again: “In order for this vision to manifest in your life, who are you called to be?”
At the heart of all these questions, you are being called to embrace a greater truth of who you are.
You are an infinite being, with boundless possibilities for you to express more of the light and love that you already are.
In this expanded consciousness, I invite you to contemplate these questions for your coaching assignment for the week:
As you sit with these questions, be gentle with yourself and allow sacredness to surround whatever comes up for you.
Your spiritual path is a path of becoming. Become more of who you are. Become more expansive to step into experiences outside of your comfort zone. And remember that with the callings of your heart, in all ways you are loved, guided and supported.
Namaste and Abundant Blessings.
I’d love to hear how this post resonates with you. Please leave a comment below. As always, I’d be happy to be of support to you in any way that I can.
Joselito Laudencia helps people bridge the spiritual and practical path to career and financial freedom. He is the creator of "Re-Write Your Money Story" "Finding Your Right Work," and “Vision Your Best Life.” He is a spiritual life coach and Centers for Spiritual Living Practitioner. If you're feeling unfulfilled and stuck in the areas of career, money or life in general, you don't have to figure it out by yourself. You can schedule a complimentary 20-minute assessment and see what solutions might be available for you. Click here to schedule your complimentary 20-minute assessment.
Joselito is a spiritual life coach helping people create a purposeful, spiritual path to career and financial freedom.
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