Thursday, May 5, 2011

Post-event musings

Post-event musings:
As we drove home from the event, I mused about Lizae's comment -- "it's like creating a mandala" -- and how apt it felt. Like the recent visit of Tibetan monks on my campus and the destruction of the Tara Mandala at the end of four days of creation, we "dissolved" Lizae's mandala with kapwa jamming, gift offering of flowers and poetry to the attendees, picture-taking, and long goodbyes afterwards. 

The evening began with kulintang music and dance in the front garden and then we moved to the garden in the back where Maite offered a dance to the spirit of spring. As she greeted the blooming rhodies and other blooms in the garden, my little Noah was mesmerized by the dance. We all were. The sound of gongs, the color of malongs, the grace of dance, and the silent meditation ushered us into the the sacred space where we would receive the gifts that will be offered by volunteers after we had moved indoors.

Indoors, every corner of Lizae's home was beautified with flowers, water fountains, candles, art work, rock art, flowing luminous textiles.  As the offerings unfolded, we savored dance, chant, poetry, song, drum, harp, cello, kora, visual images, trance dance, food, and kapwa jammin. Afterwards - beaming faces, nourished souls. 
Time stood still. 

As I returned to my books, theories, and to the classroom, I kept thinking of how to awaken the senses, the soul, the light within each of my students. How can I enliven the work of the mind with the work of the body and spirit? How to swim against the grain of what has become normal but stale and tepid? How do I tell my students about my experience at this event and will they get it? Will I be able to adequately articulate why this work (of CFBS) is transformative and can I connect it with the syllabus content I have laid out for them? In the white concrete walls, no- windows-classroom, how can I speak of sacred geography and of the nourishing warmth of spring's sun, the soft drizzle of petals from the cherry trees around campus, the swallows's nest in Salazar Building?  But I do. I try.

With help from Wade Davis and his recent work on the importance of ancient ways in the modern age, I usher students into the importance of paying attention to the ethnosphere - the legacy of our diverse human repertoire on the planet that is now threatened by the power of domination that has been unleashed by the modern ideologies of progress and development.

We leap from the small particular stories to the Big Story. What is the story we tell ourselves and that we live by? Is there a story more compelling than the story of the free market and the American dream? Yes, there is. And it is Indigenous.

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