I recently heard that I should have sent out a little holiday update, so I came up with this Chinese New Year newsletter.
With the coming new year of the rabbit Wednesday, I decided it was time to write a little review of my life and send it out my amigas. I hear 2011 will be a year of stronger and more intimate relationships for me as a sheep (in the Chinese zodiac). Already, in the past few years, my relationships have been more trusting and nurturing. I’m incredibly grateful for my friends, allies, sisters, and family, and here’s my brief sum up of mid 2009 to now:
Let’s see – In late summer 2009, my dog Oliver and I moved out of Highland Park (LA), took time to travel in New Mexico and Baja, and then moved into an organic vegetable farm in Ventura County (VC). At the same time, I decided to take a break from teaching English at CSU, Long Beach and began my studies in Women’s Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Fran.
|Winter at the Farm with Oliver |
My studies let me explore so many interesting subjects including women’s ways of “knowing” as well as my mestiza and pinay (Filipina) roots. In my spare time, I took flight lessons (a life goal of mine), studied native plants, connected with other labyrinth loving women in VC, became a part of the art and sweat lodge culture around the farm, and joined a hula dancing group led by some fellow salseras.
|Our Farm (and me) in the Ventura County Star |
Although we as a farm community ventured out of the area a few times (up to Yosemite, out to Ojai, and down to LA), I spent most of the year settled in at the farm house. Thankfully, so many friends (from Berkeley to Switzerland) came to visit and joined in with our farm life (and farm parties!).
As summer 2010 approached, I decided to dive more into my PhD adventure and leave our community. The farm had been such a stable place, and I knew the transition would be challenging and that I would miss my sisterfriends at the farm.
Nevertheless, this past Autumn has been full of “good things” as I travel between the Bay area for school and the L.A. area for family. Both my grandfather and mother have been sick, and although this has been difficult, there have also been some beautiful moments. Also, I’m pleased to announce that I continue to enjoy my studies, and I will be presenting a paper on “Mestiza Spirituality and Embodied Restlessness” at the American Academy of Religion Conference in Whittier (my hometown!) in March.
In between family and school time, I continue to dance salsa and I’ve taken up danza Azteca and other rich forms of dancing with my friends. I’ve also had the honor to share stories and live with a few old friends in the Bay and LA area I hadn’t seen in a long while (some for 8 years or so!).
Next week, I’m traveling North again to work on my PhD. I will stop at the farm, and then I will be in SF taking a new semester of classes. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be what I love: a traveler, a learner, and hopefully, a healer.
Reflecting on all of my life adventures thus far (I’m thinking of undergrad, Europe, Asia, and Oz too) is such a gift with endearing friends like you! Thank you for being a reflection, an adviser, a mentor, and a part of my chosen (extended) familia.
Oliver and I send you love, joy, and transformation this coming year! - Cristy Rose