Sunday, October 26, 2014

This post is for Reverie

You don't hear this word often these days. REVERIE. But I've been mostly relishing this pleasure recently. In Tagalog we say "holy tunganga" - a time of gestation, a going within, a deep silence, a solitude.  But why? And why not?

Last night I was reviewing my journal and noted that in early 2013 I was taking down notes on the books I was reading about myths, about dwelling in place, about the importance of ritual and ceremony. In between my note-taking, I was making lists of the projects on my plate at that time. And then this:

how to recover the writing hand that has lost its ability to think fluidly with pen in hand? what is this world going to be about when technology seems to be transforming everything: from the process of sharing knowledge to creating movement and action that is visionary. Memes abound. Social media is saturated with pundits and all kinds of information. is it knowledge?

i wrote (and published) during the early stages of listserves, blogs, yahoogroups when people had sustained conversations over time in these modules. i wrote because i needed to find my way into freedom of Being. being immersed in identity politics for a time was necessary.

at what point did identity politics become narrow and limiting?

when did i start longing for experiences that weren't always about transcending something? when did i start longing for immanence? and how can we experience immanence unless we already believe in the sacredness of this Now? this Earth? 

these days i feel the need to write for Noah. for the future. for seven generations hence. the world will be different but maybe the wisdom of the ancients will be eternally true. 

in this multiverse cosmos, radical participation and presence is the work of the healer/shaman.

i will have to live with this koan for a while.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This post is for a Tree

I should know what kind it is. A fir tree? Douglas? Sitka spruce? I will find out soon.
Every morning I step out of my bedroom to the deck and look north. There against the blue sky is this Tree. It is no. 1 on my list of "things that took me too long to learn to love".  I have lived in this house for 30 years and I've seen the Tree before but I have never really stopped to thank the Tree for being there. I have not thanked the homeowners who haven't chopped it down. 

I am learning to cultivate a relationship with the Tree so these days, first thing in the morning, I say my silent offering of gratitude for its Being. My gaze this morning turned from the Tree to the contour of the hills surrounding our valley. The hills are still tree-lined and thank goodness, can't see houses on the ridge. Bringing my attention back to my Tree, I wonder if it feels too alone without siblings nearby. Sure there are other trees in the neighborhood. In fact, an overgrown pepper tree to the east of the deck covers the house right behind us. And next to it is a bay laurel tree.

But my Tree is majestic as it stands alone against the wide blue sky. I imagine that it would make the best Christmas tree if there was a ladder tall enough to reach the top and hang lights on it. But there isn't because this tree is just too tall. I don't know. Maybe 300 feet? Anyway, it doesn't need lights. She is grand just as she is.

I wonder how many crickets, birds, and other insects my Tree gives shelter to. In the quiet of the night I hear the crickets and their psst psst psst.

How to translate this awe and wonder in my classroom? Last week a student said "Sure, I'd like to have a relationship with other living species like animals, fish, bears...but a mountain or stone? Nah. A pleasure to look at maybe but I don't think they are animate." Well, the acknowledgment is the beginning of a new way of seeing. I have 6 more weeks to work with them.

I will ask the Tree what to do with student T.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This post is for Penguins

I must have watched the PBS program on penguins three or four times now. There is something about seeing creatures in a landscape where there are no other inhabitants. There is only the ice, the ocean, and the bare mountain. No human beings. No buildings. Well, of course, there is a camera crew doing the filming. They even have penguin robots loaded with camera that is why we can see them up close.
We watch them cradle their eggs. We watch their courtship and mating rituals.

In one scene, a penguin whose wife hasn't arrived yet from her migratory journey, starts pecking at the penguin robot and makes flirtatious gestures. Then the wife arrives and becomes jealous and so she starts pecking at the robot until it topples over.

But why this fascination? After all, all I'm looking at is a flat screen. There is no depth perception. No reciprocity between myself and the penguins. I turn off the sound of the male narrator and I notice that now the the distance between me and the penguins is even greater. But I can close my eyes and visualize myself being in the Antartic with the penguins. There is a quickening of the pulse as the cold air touches my skin. The tense shoulders loosen up and I let their penguin sounds sooth me.

I long for this sensuous connection to the other beings of the Earth: the air, the sun, the penguins, the terrain, the mountains...

Every morning, I walk out of my second floor bedroom to the deck overlooking a tall fir tree standing alone against the blue sky. I am so grateful that the neighbors that hosts this giant have tended to it.
On the railing of the patio is a twenty-five year old honeysuckle vine that we planted to honor my grandmother. I greet her every morning.

All these meandering thoughts....I hope the penguins know that I am thinking of them and I praise them for being.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This post is for Lauren

I am paying attention to your fb posts. I am taking notes of your smart questions. I appreciate the seriousness of your quest to have some good answers to wrestle with.

How can a young second-generation Fil Am who has never been to the homeland decolonize and re-indigenize? ...Whose connection with Filipino culture is tenuous and fraught with questions and the answers can only be glimpsed in fragments and very incoherent most times. . . How to appreciate or claim a culture vicariously?  How to ask permission to appropriate? Can we create our own culture with what is borrowed from the bits and pieces of the homeland culture that we are able to access?

These are the same questions I had when I started this journey.  The research methodology of pakapakapa (literally groping your way around for the answer) is quite ingenius (and indigenous!), you see. We are natural researchers in that we  know how to ask questions, we know who to ask, we know where to look, where to show up, who to listen to, who not to bother with.  We trust our instincts - our pakikiramdam - and we are intuitively guided from all directions by our dreams, signposts, metaphors, stories, and yes, tsismis. We know how to lean into or keen into something when our synesthesia kicks in. This fusion of the senses is a quality of Pakikipamdam - a very sophisticated sensing instrument that is honed by a participatory sense of self and a practice of radical presence.

So this is what I see you doing, Lauren. You are asking the right questions. You are showing up. You are building community. You are creating culture along with other kapwa on the same path.

What does this Land ask of us? those of us who are settlers? And how is this Land connected to the homeland across the Pacific Ocean? How do we stay connected? How does our life here impact the lives over there?

The Earth is alive and it is dreaming us. What are we to make of this dream...assuming we even know and feel that we are being dreamed?