24 September 2013

"Solidarity Within"

Gave a 52 page chapter 5 to my dissertation chair on Friday, and it felt wonderful. I enjoyed in this chapter being able to bring in my literary analytic tools.  I found myself flowing and accessing a remembered creativity and assertiveness too.

Now, four days later, I’m worried again that what I’ve written needs serious revisions.  No, really, in my sleep, I don’t worry it needs revisions, I fear it’s unacceptable. 

I was telling someone last week I believe that I haven’t felt this much anxiety and fear about my writing since I was in 6th grade.  I was sharing my old story of how, before 6th grade, I wanted to belong so much, but I had no idea how to make it happen.  After 6th grade, I learned some specific ways to “fit in” by losing weight, memorizing and regurgitating, and writing to the teacher. 

Well, I’ve come full circle, right? Finally, in my PhD, I’m embracing that little girl and saying you don’t have to “fit in”; you can study in a way that feeds your body, mind, and heart.  And, my dissertation is a platform for my voice speaking to this topic of internal solidarity.  

Now, on to revise the intro and draft a conclusion this week. 

12 September 2013

Community Support

In my Centering Prayer group this week, the contemplative question was whether we had found God/dess or Consciousness in other cultures than the one(s) we grew up within.  I shared in my reflection that I actually think it's a miracle that the mystery of God/dess could be found within such a controlled box of my childhood church.  And, I am grateful for the cracks that let that light (and dark) in.

 I also shared how I was, indeed, continuing to find this mystery in cultures that were actually my own but lost through generations of racism and sexism.  That is, I am finding God/dess in remembering the spirituality of my (mostly female) ancestors.  And, here's the good news, my ethnic cultural heritages are amazing, and mysteries are unfolding!

This past weekend, in particular, was a lovely journey into my Filipina ethnic cultural and spiritual mysteries. I joined other women from the Center for Babaylan Studies at the FilAm Arts Festival in San Pedro. I loved being able to connect with these sisters and aunties (and brothers) that I know from my travels in San Francisco and the Philippines.  I enjoyed the kulintang music, the massage station, the Babaylan Pavilion, and the dancing most of all.

10 September 2013

Encouraging Feedback

This past week, I finally had a long talk with my committee chair, and she gave me such positive feedback about Chapter 4. IT FELT SO GOOD! I was reminded, in that moment, just how much feedback means to me.  

This reminder also came again when I received an email about my poetry being accepted to read at an event in San Francisco at the end of October.  And, it came again when I saw some of my writing on an advertisement for a friend's book coming out later this year. 

Altogether, I have some renewed energy in connecting with my classmates who are also working on their dissertations.  Time to work on check-in groups again.  Thankfully, this week also begins tutoring sessions again with the Writing Center at my school. This is a great way to stay accountable to my dissertation birthing too. 

My chair also encouraged me to take a bit more time on Chapter 5 and that there really was no rush to finish it up this past weekend.  Thus encouraged, I took some time to do something adventurous.  I thought long about going diving off of the Channel Islands (Anacapa), but decided it would be too much of a challenge just now.  Better, I thought, to be gentle with myself.  So, I went swimming (nude!) with my old friends in the Matilja Ojai dam.  

05 September 2013

Due this week: Chapter 5

This week is the week I turn in Chapter 5 to my dissertation chair. I've got a draft. I recently added some new research, and in the next few days, I will revise and work on flow and integration. It's been a laborious journey of already integrating what I've been reading into my life and into my language; thus, my hope is that these continuing revisions will be smooth.

A few wonderful things happened this last week. First, I've received two scholarships! Free money feels so good!  Second, I received my official letter that I've advanced to candidacy!!  Hung that up on my wall.

I also had some refreshing conversations with friends who are also in the final year or so of their PhD. I felt so normal after these talks.

And, third, my birthday was yesterday! I was able to take some time and enjoy life relatively free from the dissertation work at the Getty and a hike on the Getty View Trail.