Tuesday, November 30, 2010

from a reader of the Babaylan book

I'm only on Page 10 of your book since I got it last night... a very slow read because I can't stop myself from crying all the time... Tears are streaming down my face, tears within tears, and cries within cries, and sobs from more sobs deep within... I always knew as if someone erased my memory that someone was killed in my sleep. I know now what it is. Now I can honor it...weep for it. 

To your: "I am an accident of history, I needed to leave in order to come home again." 

How you echoed my innermost emotions caused a wild drumming inside me, as if I have suddenly sprung a tribe awake.

I must thank you now at page 10. I know I must remember.
and here's a link to the booklaunch event at Bahay Nakpil on Nov. 29

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I have been receiving emails from a Datu in Mindanao who is part of a movement to "consolidate and confederate the Indigenous People's Communities" all over the Philippines. It is good to know that there is such a movement and am looking forward to learning about this from Datu B who also claims to be a Babaylan. Happy to have this dialogue.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Manifest Manners
Absence as Presence

ahhh, Vizenor!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

to the reader of this blog:
things are brewing underneath. language not yet fully formed.
only this: decolonization is shamanic work
i have written about this but not quite within this framework.
so i'm marinating for now.
yesterday, i facilitated a mini-retreat for local leaders
someone commented afterwards: this feels like therapy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fil Am angel investor and social entrepreneur Yobie Benjamin, spoke to my class today on social entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PostPeakOil Living

Today's lecturer, Andre Angelantoni, introduced my students to the reality that we are facing the end of the empire of Oil. He presented the science, the economics, and the "what to do?" proposals.
Highly recommended lecturer. Invite him to speak to your organization.

Monday, November 8, 2010

When white folks decolonize....

For  a White man engaged in any spiritual practice and inquiry of this nature -- whether as psychologist, educator, writer or in some other role - inevitably makes these ventures and adventures critical, unless he wants to perpetrate essentializing or retro-romantic notions. Decolonizing is thus not just the recovery of the memory traces of indigenous presences, but a creative psychospiritual, moral, political and activist endeavor. It doesn't just join 'the other' in its struggles of decolonization, first and foremost it turns its gaze to the center of colonial processes, upon itself, its process of self-colonization. The imperial gaze of transpersonal anthropology and psychology has its origins in a dissociative and objectifying construction of self and reality, furthering the colonization of peoples, nature and spirituality and providing notions of individualism, resources, sovereignty, etc., that serve the trivial measures of commerce.

Leslie Marmom Silko has pointed out that when Whites "attempt to cast off their Anglo-American values, their Anglo-American origins, they violate a fundamental belief held by the tribal people they desire to emulate: they deny the truth; they deny history, their very origins. The writing of imitation "Indian" poems then, is pathetic evidence that in more than two hundred years, Anglo Americans have failed to create a satisfactory identity for themselves."

(Jurgen Kremer, Ethnoauthobiography as Practice of Radical Presence, 2003)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mentor/Roshni Rustomji

Thank you, Roshni Rustomji, for being my mentor, friend, heart-sister.

I met Roshni when I started my MA Interdisciplinary Studies program at the university. I was nervous about being a re-entry student, feeling unsure about my abilities; lacking confidence in my writing.
On our first meeting, she asked me about my writing and I said that I have dabbled here and there in journalistic writing. Her first homework for me: Bring a portfolio of your writing.

I was a correspondent for Philippine News at that time so I had a few published articles. I also included published articles from the Philippines and my written papers from my English classes at the Junior College and theology classes at New College. She said she was impressed and then chided me for being timid and shy about my writing.

For three years, she guided my MA studies and encouraged my writing. She believed that I had something important to say. It was so important for me to hear this and I have quoted Roshni many times in my writing since then.

Roshni retired after I finished my MA but we had become friends and so continued to work together. She went to Stanford's Center for Latin Studies and taught at New College and in both places, she always included me whenever there was an opportunity. At New College, I lectured in her classes often. And at SSU, she came and lectured in my classes.

We also eventually collaborated on the first anthology about Asians in the Americas. She introduced my writing to other scholars and I got published here and here and elsewhere.

When her novel, The Braided Tongue, was released, I was introduced to the world of Remedios Varo. Roshni gave me her only copy of her book.

Roshni would give me all kinds of gifts over the years: from Oaxacan shawls, to ethnic jewelry, visits and luncheons, books, tapestries. She also gave me pieces of art works by Amy Ling and a famous Mexican artist, and other Oaxacan arts. When she tells me the the titles of books she is reading, I perk my ears for leads to another way of thinking, for another way of asking questions.

At today's luncheon, as we celebrated her 72nd birthday, and revisited her years at SSU, I felt so blessed to have her in my life. I don't know if my journey would have been as fecund as it has been if she hadn't pushed me to keep going, to keep asking questions.

Roshni is fearless, courageous, compassionate, a luminous soul, best storyteller. She is light and joyful.
What a blessing to have been on this journey with her.

Thank you, Roshni. Love to You.