Saturday, December 24, 2011

Year-end reflections

Finally - a quiet day of reflection...after working in the garden - harvesting the last of the tomatoes and kalamansi and amused by the sight of newly-planted lettuce eaten by the birds who didn't touch the ornamental cabbage nearby. The autumn leaves have been cleaned up; the bulbs need to be re-planted soon.

In the kitchen, am using up the leftovers from our early Christmas parties - thanks to all of you who came to celebrate with us -- faculty from SSU, the women from Bioneers, my dear SSU mentors, our Fil Am community friends (who love karaoke!).

Last night I was reviewing this blog and felt thankful for the record of 2011 events that made the year memorable and life transforming. Here goes...

In January, Lane and Virgil both published their books and I was able to write a review for each of their opus. We hear that both are now writing the sequels because, as we found out, they've amassed so much research materials over decades. It is also in January when the core group of CFBS holds their annual retreat. This year we were able to plan and then offer a retreat/symposium in August with about 40 people.

In April, Lizae and other CFBS volunteers gifted us with Spirit Breath, A Healing Concert, at her beautiful home in the Oakland hills. For the first time, I was able to offer a Kapampangan chant, thanks to Mike Pangilinan.

In June, I attended the Bioneers' Cultivating Women's Leadership Retreat held at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma. I've been lurking around Bioneers for years and this time I felt that I needed to get my feet wet to see what the Bioneers experience is all about. With twenty women leaders together for six days, the experience was indeed transformative. But what was surprising to me were the exchanges I would later have with Nina Simons after she read A Book of Her Own and me reading  her book, Moonrise, and using it as a text in one of my courses...which led to her visit to my classes in November. Prior to this, I was able to attend the Bioneers conference for the first time with the added bonus of having a booksigning and meeting several Pinays including the wonderful Gemma Bulos, as a result. I also got invited to be part of  Bioneers' Education for Action Network.

Eileen Tabios' prompt to poets about the global recession resulted in this essay. Thank you, Eileen!

This Fall, it was great collaborating with Jurgen Kremer in one of my courses. Having him test-drive the workbook on Ethnoautobiography with my students is definitely an outside-the-box exercise in this setting but it was well worth it.

I also visited Napa Valley College for the first time. Thanks to the invitation of Janet Stickmon.

In November, Singgalot came to Sonoma County Museum as its last stop.

Lastly, there is the dossier for full professorship that went forward.

I look forward to giving the Virgilio Enriquez Memorial Lecture at the Kapwa 3 conference at UP Baguio next year.

On the vanity side: I have given up hair color. I am going gray. I embrace the elder in me.

It was a year of many "firsts" and perhaps this is why I feel as if I am on the cusp of something new...again.

Time is an artificial construct. As I watched Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams last night, I realize that this habit of painting word pictures connects me to the painter at Chauvet cave 35,000 years ago. This impulse to tell a story is the same across time and space. My story connects me to you which connects us to a larger community which connects us to everything and everyone beyond time and space.

For this a big thank you. I Loob you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

connecting the dots...

typhoon Sendong pours nonstop for 11hours
sends flash floods down and washes away villages
thousands die
deforested mountains due to illegal logging
and mining perhaps?
weather authorities do not warn folks
in Japan they were warned
Mindanao has been declared the last frontier of development
mining companies and other corporate interests have set their sights on Mindanao
recent news that banana plantations were ruined by an unknown disease infecting the bananas
Mindanao didn't use to experience severe weather patterns because supposedly it was located off the typhoon belt
this is no longer true
Davao has experienced flooding
a few years ago we drove by yellowing coconut groves and i asked why
and i was told they were diseased, too.
the kadayawan festival flower growers were also worried that the growing season has been erratic
the Ampatuan massacre has not been solved and no one has been held accountable in spite of witnesses and direct evidence of who did it
on TV Patrol all i hear about is the Arroyo scandal, her supreme court justice appointee scandal
i do not hear about the anti-mining movement even tho 4M have signed the petition
the RH bill hasn't passed and population continues to explode
and Filipinos continue to be nothing more than "export" commodities
to support the nation
and yet no matter what is happening
Filipinos rally together to help their kapwa
social media offers lots of info on how to help
but am i deluded in thinking that social media is really making that big of a difference?
i know that distant objects appear bigger than they really are in the rear view mirror
and it is 6 days before christmas
and i am sipping coffee in bed
writing this on my laptop
we have been waiting for rain
this winter is too dry
on my bedside i read: the world behind the world
so i can connect the dots and hold the tension
between understanding and not
between gains and losses
between here and there
between tears and laughter
between soon and never

if you are reading this
connect the dots with me

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

another Kapwa cohort

these women who call themselves Kapwa cohort do these things in the world:

- environmental llineage; eco-birth
- exec director of an organization that encourages public participation in democratic processes
- medical doctor who is practicing holistic medicine through anthroposophy
- a eurhytmist healer; a teacher at the Steiner College; biodynamic farmer; Brazil's "The Game"
- exec dir of a non-profit that fights for safe cosmetics
- a corporate person transitioning to becoming a healer
- an artist that was recently featured at TEDx San Francisco
- a filmmaker who features common people doing extraordinary things
- a business consultant who is in a period of hibernation and nursing grief
- an academic who is also many things to many people...

these women are not Filipinas but they have embraced the concept of Kapwa.

our afternoon sharing was very fecund. lots of joy and hope. this is what it feels like to be with women who are awake.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A ritual of release

each one brought a flower to class today. daisies, roses, hydraengea, orchids, firecracker, minidaffodils, queen anne's lace. red, yellow, orange, white. pink.
there was soft chanting and drumming
we visualized the flower receiving the thoughts, feelings that we wanted to release.
it has been a long demanding semester.
breathe in, breathe out
when the chanting ceased we gave our flowers to two students who stringed them together into a garland. beautiful.
we stood in a circle. we asked students for one word. hope, love, beauty, understanding, serene, together, gratitude...
JK taught us another chant that was given to him by a cloud of mosquitoes in chaco canyon.
then silence.
the energy in the room was calm and peaceful.
the two students drove to salmon creek to release our garland.