Saturday, July 28, 2007


I received this painting on a card my oldest daughter, Suzanne, sent to me recently.

The image mentally triggered a conversation I had about ten years ago with one of the better artists here in Las Cruces. Paintings with closeups of persons, IMO, are tricky. This was her forte. When we talked it was outside her gallery in Mesilla, a small historic town adjacent to Las Cruces.

She mentioned to me that "Mexicans are hard to understand. They seem happy as long as they have food, shelter, their family and times to enjoy simple things like these. We anglos (Caucasians) are always seeking better things: cars, houses, and so on. Anglos have goals. Unlike the Mexicans we always want more. We are ambitious. And, if you travel down inside Mexico --- the people are even stranger there. They want so little from life."

I did not know exactly what to say. I thought, "Mexicans may be on the right track. Happiness, peace, joy, contentment actually do come from the simpler things of life -- and living in the present."

I used to have a small sign on my desk at school: "Happiness is not getting what you want. It's wanting what you have." Getting is endless. Endless desires are one of the three causes of suffering according to the Buddha.

How did Anglos get on this track many seem to be on? There used to be a Nissan car television ad; the slogan was --- "We are driven." Anglos are driven. Is that good especially when it seems to be an obsession? And others who take time to smell the roses are deemed --- strange or shiftless.

While attending a workshop on dealing with violence (I worked for the District Attorney then.)
the Roman Catholic archbishop of southern NM gave a talk. One thing he said has stayed with me. "Three things are important to Hispanics: their church, their family, and respect."

I seem to get along very well with Hispanics. I always offer them respect.