When I entered into the WS program at CIIS in 2010, I had no idea what to expect. I was coming from being a lecturer of English at CSU,
Beach. I also
worked as a women’s spiritual advocate at the Women’s Resource
Center and at the
on campus. My focus was on British women’s
literature as well as women’s advocacy and spiritual well-being in my local
communities. Altogether, I didn’t know
how to bring together my spirituality, my love of literature and academia, and
my identity as a woman. A friend and
mentor told me to look up Women’s Spirituality at a school in Interfaith Center San Francisco.
This Women’s Spirituality program has given me the space to explore my spirituality and my identity as a whole. The WS classes have changed my life. Embodiment and integration have become a daily practice, and I’ve learned how to bring my unique voice into academic conversation. I’ve been challenged and have grown on so many levels – from the physical to the spiritual – and I am so grateful.
The community of women has also been one of the gifts of this program. It is here that I found an abundance of women who speak a similar language as my own. Where in other schools and communities, I would have to be the voice to highlight the abuses of patriarchy, in WS classes, I am supported to expand my way of thinking and speaking to include the multiple oppressions in our world. Here I am encouraged to be more sensitive to privilege as well as to grieve the violence I’ve suffered and celebrate how far I’ve come.
And, I do believe I’ve come far. The WS program inspired me to make the program my own. While working on my PhD at CIIS, I’ve co-created an intentional farm community of women in
lived on a permaculture farm in the Cuyama
Valley, and studied independently in Europe. I am
currently working on my first comprehensive exam – (Re)Naming Ecofeminism –
bringing in my identity as an ecofeminist mestiza, and I will present a paper
on this subject at the of Religion
conference in Fall 2012. American
I am thankful for the WS program at CIIS, and I look forward to continuing my studies here these next couple years.