This I Believe

Dr. Ricardo - Winter Park, Florida
Entered on October 1, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the power of doing. I believe that when I cook, I not only know what goes into my food, but also see that with each cooking step, I feed my body and soul in ways more than food ever does. But this belief did not happen overnight. I grew up cooking barrio fiestas with my mom who nurtured family and friends through food. I found classroom work easy, so I engaged in doings outside school. I made jewelry with my godfather or sewed with my aunts. I built tables with my father. I tended animals and vegetables in my grandfather’s farm.

But I was not meant to be a farmer. That is, according to my parents. Steeped in tradition, I followed my parents’ wishes, and became a teacher. Secretly, I succumbed to the seductive glamour of marketing. While teaching, I sought a business degree. Upon graduation, I found a totally different kind of work and ethic. I supervised advertising campaigns for cameras, airlines, luxury hotels. It was glamorous alright. But after the doing was done, I felt empty. As I got married and my son came into the picture, I felt even emptier because I was away a lot. So I quit. Instead, I taught at a foreign university when my wife accepted to teach overseas. I guess my parents were right. I the knew that I was a teacher but, with a little twist. In studying occupational therapy, and later, neuropsychology I learned ways to help others by practicing my belief in doing! I teach others how to fend for themselves and return to the track of wellness! Meanwhile, my marriage fell apart, leaving me with intensified focus as father. While teaching and running a university program, I ran a practice, and sought funding to serve underprivileged preschoolers.

But events threw a major curve. One grey winter, I woke up from a coma, 98 pounds light, weakened by diseases that ravaged my systems. Given a few months, maybe days to live, my son and I planned my funeral. But I was not ready. Weak in body, strong in will, I was determined to live. I pinned bright colored streamers on dreary hospital drapes, using get well cards pinned on ribbons from flower gifts. I followed prescriptions strictly, and reconnected with someone who cared. With family and friends around me, I entered a new beginning, cautiously avoiding unhealthy pathways. Now, I pamper my orchids and bonsai trees, raise my herbs and spices, or grow edibles in crammed spaces. I walk my dogs as religiously as when I work out at the gym. I enter a peaceful place when I arrange flowers in a container I molded with my own hands. I work hard at sustaining my relationships, and I work hard at work.

When I reflect on the things I do, I see that they are infinitely diverse, yet woven together by a common thread that I am fully engaged in purposeful doings, flexing with each challenge, celebrating every success, or simply learning from all that fall in between. My life is back on track; thanks to my belief in the power of doing.