Sunday, November 8, 2015


I am seeing the word 'trans' a lot these days. Transindigenous. Transgender. Transnational. Transterritorial. Translineage. Transcendent. Transitory.

Transitions: this  one is for me.

Having recently filed for the faculty early retirement program, I am sensing the slow dissolution of attachment to a long stint in an academic institution. Although I feel that a part of me will always be doing academic work (based on my own definition of the term and on my own terms of engagement), still the feeling of transition is there. I suppose some of this is grief over the end of a stage of life. And on the other side of grief is the sense of gratitude for having had this grand adventure for three decades of my life on Turtle Island.

I remarked to someone the other day that all of this happened because I just wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to be happy and I wasn't going to stop looking until I found a story that made me feel whole and worthy as a Filipina in the diaspora. This is how my work on decolonization began: as a journey of self-inquiry and discovery. It is a journey of descent into the underworld as the Jungians would say. It is a journey of going into the shadow world in order to retrieve its hidden jewels. I am grateful for the community of co-sojourners who have accompanied me, including my ancestors, who guided me thru dreams and visions.

I have shared those jewels through research and publications which, in turn, led to listserves and blogs discussing decolonization and indigenization, to conference organizing via the Center for Babaylan Studies.  There is a growing decolonization and indigenization movement in the diaspora.  Now I look around me and see so many seeds sprouting.  Communities are dreaming again and we are making our way thru this difficult time of Transition as a civilization, as a planet.

Self-inquiry and exploration has been a great gift for this part of the journey.  But this time I am becoming aware of a lesson that comes from the teachings of Vedanta: You are not your Mind; You are not your Body. You are not your Personality. All of the conditioning from our personal history that make up our egoic identity is not really who we are. To know your True Self, you must be willing to let these go.

As I try to learn this new way of Being I am constantly translating between different ways of knowing and I find resonances between various spiritual traditions that I've touched upon along my journey.  How beautiful it is to see these connections and to actually experience in one's consciousness how they all make sense.

But "making sense" takes time. And the time has come for me to retreat again into the cave of silence and solitude. I am finding it difficult to retreat from the external world of Doing but it is what my spirit is asking me to do. I am struggling to say 'No' but I know if I don't I will not be honoring the persistent call to Silence at this time. The ego is gratified by the external demands from others who seek me out for guidance, leadership, and advice. But until that moment that the ego no longer interferes and is released from external expectations, I will not be free. Free to be a mentor and elder.


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