Our Own Constructed Reckoning

Charlottesville 4

There are many things occurring right now in the world and I am trying to catch my breath.

Last week I wrote and wrote trying to make sense of all that is happening, but my reflections were all over the place and I didn’t feel comfortable posting anything. I just needed to vent and figure out where I stood in light of events in Charlottesville and Barcelona (where I was vacationing one month ago!).

My thoughts have landed on the connection between “being a good person” while, at the same time, perpetuating racism – albeit consciously or unconsciously. Being bi-racial and phenotypically White, I pass for many ethnicities and nationalities. I recognize I have privilege in maneuvering in many circles.

It is this privilege I have been contemplating deeply this week especially in light of White Supremacy groups we just witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia. Coming from a Mexican, Irish, and Italian background (a trifecta of Catholicism), I have also been thinking about how we, as Christians, Catholics or other Christ-centered denominational people, have distanced ourselves from White Supremacy. We, “good Christians,” could never be equated with those other violent people who take to the streets with their neo-Nazi slogans and vile pronouncements against Jews and other groups. We are not racist. We are good people.

Yet, how many of us (White people) choose “good schools” and “safe neighborhoods” where little to no people of color (e.g., Blacks, Latinos, Muslims…) can be seen?

How many of us go throughout our day only seeing and interacting with people who look like us?

How many of us choose spaces and places where we know implicitly or explicitly that we will be around people like us?

If we answer “yes” to these questions, then we are complicit in contributing to a system set up to privilege Whiteness.

Even within my own family I bore witness to White members of my family making derogatory remarks about my Mexican family. Most of these comments were in jest or said in “good fun.” But their impact was not lost on me, even at a young age. These jokes carried the implicit message that Mexicans were less than, inferior. These family members would be offended at being called out for their racist remarks and would deny being racist. Yet, it is important to understand that Whiteness and White Supremacy is systemically embedded within our institutions, traditions, and “American” values. I am not saying that most White people – like some of my family members – go around being overtly racist, but I am saying that many of us do not realize when we are engaging in and perpetuating “covert” racist behaviors.

Here is a helpful visual to understand what some of these behaviors are:

Overt and Covert White Supremacy Chart

(Image is not mine, but at the moment I cannot find the citation)

Further, it is problematic to say that we are not racist because we are “good Christians.” The two are not mutually exclusive. As Dr. Robin DiAngelo (see video below), states, “we don’t live in the spiritual realm, we live in the physical realm … and this insistence that we are all one doesn’t allow us to engage” with the social reality that we live in a racialized society in which the White race is seen as superior. In other words, even though at a deeply spiritual level WE ALL ARE ONE, we do not live in a physical reality in which every person is treated as such.

We have to remember that our American history was built upon slavery, colonization, and violence in spite of our reverence for “freedom and equality” as espoused in the Declaration of Independence and our U.S. Constitution. Even if “all men are created equal” there was an implicit understanding of who these men were and who they were not. Fast-forward to 2017, it is obvious that these men were not meant to be women (particularly women of color), Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, indigenous “Americans,” Jews, LGBTQIA, people with dis/abilities and many other peoples.

Further, even though these other groups have contributed to our society and have made certain gains, their successes are still predicated on whether or not they have “made it” in White society, particularly a male-centric White society.

Attempting to live on a spiritual path, for me, does not mean being blind to the inequities all around me. It does not mean to be passive and silent. It does not mean to retreat into my room or my inner self and escape from physical reality. It means shedding everything. It is a full deconstruction and disassemblage of all that I know and all that I think I am.  It makes me ask if we, as a population, can exist without our systems and socially constructed reality. It forces me to reckon with who I am, at a soul level, rather than the persona I know as “Cristina” and to come clean with my own privilege and navigation of it.

Being on a spiritual path also means I need to be awake and courageous. It means I should LOVE in radical and outrageous ways. It means I must extend myself in ways I never have before … to seek and reach out to MORE rather than less people. It means to get out of my comfort zone and speak up and out for justice and equity … in our schools, neighborhoods, and communities.

***

The main message is this: We can be good people and still perpetuate racism.

I no longer want to be part of a system in which hate and separation can exist.

Now is the time for me (and US) to get our hands dirty and do the work to change systems that no longer reflect who we are. We must strive to create a world in which we can become the divine, unified spark that is LOVE… unconditional, authentic, and deeply connected to our universal, gorgeous humanity.

Below I share an important video by Dr. DiAngelo. I implore you to watch it as you contemplate and reflect upon your understandings and positioning in relation to Whiteness and White Supremacy. We are reckoning with a reality of our own making. May we find the strength to be honest with ourselves and others in how we play our parts.

I appreciate your open heart and active listening. This message is challenging and uncomfortable, but it is time to reckon with our individual and collective constructions.

Always, with love,

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Understanding the Soul’s Messages

angel with trumpet

The other day I was engaged in a guided meditation that involved going from one room in a house to another. Each room was filled with different colors, sensations, objects, and light. One room, in particular, felt very familiar. The woman’s voice guiding the meditation described the room as having a smoky aroma akin to wood burning in a warm fireplace. In my mind’s eye, I saw the red and orange glow of the fire and beautiful rich, oak walls and floors around me. I seemed to be in a large den full of shelves, old books, and brassy objects. There were many dark nooks and corners around the room, but they were not unpleasant. They felt mysterious and interesting, but I was unsure about walking toward them. Instead, I focused on the joy I felt. I sat down by the fire in the plush, soft leather couch draped with a beautiful crimson, knitted blanket. I was lulled into a profound state of serenity and wanted nothing more than to wrap the room around me like an enormous, fluffy robe.

In what felt like a long time later, I found myself still sitting in the chair by the fire. I seemed to have regained consciousness. Maybe I had fallen asleep. Deep, amber hues spilled in through the windows casting warm shadows against the walls. I breathed in and suddenly remembered one of the upstairs rooms in my grandparents’ house. The musty air was comforting, rather than suffocating. I sensed my grandparents’ presence. Though I could not see them, they felt to me as if they were just beyond my sight. All I needed to do was to call out to them and they would enter the room through the main door. This made me smile. Knowing they were nearby helped me to let go of any inhibitions I had about exploring this room.

I looked around the room. Resting had refreshed me and seemed to have sharpened my vision. The room was getting darker, but the fire still burned brightly. Shadows from the fire now flickered making the room dance in brilliant reds. My eyes wandered to each of the darker corners. Slightly illuminated, they began revealing their secrets. It was then that I saw it. In the far left corner of the room there was a large wooden chest. It looked like a pirate’s treasure box in which gold, silver, and other valuables would be stored. There was a beautiful hue of deep ochre emanating from it. I got out of the chair slowly and walked toward it.

Suddenly a man’s steady and gentle voice spoke to me. His voice seemed to radiate from the light around the chest. He said, “Open the box and choose one treasure. You may not know for what this object is at this time, but if you ask, its purpose will be revealed.”

Intrigued, I slowly opened the chest. The chest’s contents were obscured by the increasing brilliance of light now blinding my eyes. I reached in and pulled out an awkwardly large object. I didn’t know what it was at first. I had to turn it over in both of my hands repeatedly to make sense of it. It seemed to be an ear trumpet, though at the time I didn’t know it by name. I remembered seeing old, black-and-white photos of people in the nineteenth century who were hard-of-hearing using ear horns or trumpets to hear. The one I held was larger than the ones I had seen. Made of brass, it resembled a clarinet with a bell circumference similar to a mellophone or French horn. I placed the skinny end of the instrument into my left ear, then into my right. Nothing happened.

I closed the chest, held my ear trumpet loosely, and said “thank you.” I asked silently for its purpose to be made known to me and and slowly came back into waking consciousness.

I was now in my bedroom sitting up in my bed with my head against the wall. What was that all about?

***

I started to think about the meditation. I had been listening to a guided meditation by one of my favorite online teachers who works with the angelic realm.1 Unlike other spiritual teachers whose works I have studied or who I have “followed” online, this teacher was humble, grounded, down-to-earth, and not interested in making a quick buck.

***

Reflecting upon this experience, I realized I didn’t know what it meant. I started to analyze the treasure chest, the male’s voice, and the “gift” of the ear trumpet. I examined the information analytically, the way I scrutinize data results when reviewing academic manuscripts. I thought through the meditation, looked for evidence that aligned with what I thought the purpose of the ear trumpet was, and questioned apparent discrepancies. For example, did it matter that the den with a fireplace in which I originally found myself somehow converted, in my mind, to an upstairs room in my grandparents’ house?

I then approached the memory of the mediation from a reflective stance. Maybe the ear trumpet was a metaphor for being more open to the messages that others around me were trying to communicate. Maybe our internal “treasures” were not discernable until others pointed them out to us. Maybe the man’s voice was my ego feeding me what I wanted to hear:  the “gift” was the proverbial, “magic bullet” that would give me all the spiritual insight and knowledge I had always sought.

After these examinations, I felt dissatisfied and somewhat drained. What was the point of going into a peaceful state of meditation if I was going to examine the hell out of each detail? Goodness, how exhausting!

I spent the next few days not thinking about the ear trumpet gift or the meditation. I had many other distractions … preparing for fall semester courses, organizing a research study, helping the girls with their respective transitions to first and third grades, and watching Game of Thrones with my husband… (Yes, the latter distraction has been quite entertaining but time consuming).

Then last night, in-between wakefulness, I heard his voice again. In a tone, not unlike that of a parent who watches their child fall from running down the stairs after being told not to do so a hundred times, he said, “Use the earpiece in meditation to hear us.”

I woke up, startled. His voice had been very loud in my left ear. My left eardrum was vibrating.

I sat up and looked around the bedroom. Everything was still.

Then, the thought, “Of course!” The ear trumpet2 was not a metaphor. It was an actual tool to hear in the spirit realm! I had been given a tool to hear!

I had overthought, over-examined, over-reflected, and over-analyzed what was meant to be a simple, literal message. The ear trumpet was a response to my years of asking for a concrete, “real” tool that would help me discern, understand and interpret my soul’s messages.

I had forgotten how to trust my heart and soul’s inner wisdom. I had forgotten the language of the soul and the way in which it communicates directly through visual images, emotions, memories, smells, tastes, sounds, and touch. I had forgotten the beauty of the story within. It was not just “imagination” but a real space, a co-creation between my “physical” and higher Self.

***

Today, as I write this, I have a renewed sense of excitement as I approach meditation and prayer. Spirit has communicated to me through my soul’s language how to hear the messages of my heart.

***

I am happy to share this experience with you. I hope it provides you with restoration, remembering, and revitalization of the power you have within to explore your Soul’s language and landscape. Hold your dreams tightly and trust that you are receiving messages in every moment of sleep and peaceful relaxation.

Be open and embrace who you are!

Much love,

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Footnotes

1This qualifier is important for those reading this blog and who are skeptical about meditation, distrustful of spiritual teachers, or unsure of the experience I am sharing. I hope to assure you that, over the years of spiritually seeking, I am very cautious about who I trust to learn from on my spiritual path. I have not always been discerning and have been burned (not literally) many times. Though I have not spoken explicitly about this before, I have had experiences throughout my life that I cannot explain in a “logical” manner. I have had subtle and very visceral experiences with the angelic realm, but the most memorable have been from childhood. That said, I elicit guidance and protection on a daily basis from angelic guides and now I am sharing one of my experiences.

2In choosing the photograph used with the blog, “An Angel with Trumpet,” I was given the insight that the trumpet is the communication bridge between the heavenly and earthly realm. We only need to be open, listen, and heed the call.

 

Overcoming Internal Resistance

Tug of war 2 peace 1

The last couple of mornings I have woken up feeling like my life’s equilibrium is off. It’s a very strange and uncomfortable space in which to reside. It feels like I am having a tug-of-war with myself and no matter how hard I try to find peace, I sense parts of me resisting and surrendering simultaneously. This is causing an inner friction that manifests in frustration, confusion, and exasperation.

I am taking some quiet time for myself right now to figure out what is going on. As I breathe, I listen to my inner whisperings. I am struggling with beginnings and endings. And, within this struggle, I am also challenged by old energies onto which I am fiercely holding. I am stubbornly holding on to that which I know is not serving me and I am trying to figure out why.

I think part of the answer is the tension I feel trying to be true to my heart while listening to my head.

See, there is the me who has a very expansive vision of what I want my life to look like. This vision, created in my heart, requires many resources and several synchronistic events to align. This vision makes me feel lighter and happier. When I think about my life through this vision I see myself committing energies to people, activities, and locations that enlighten rather than dampen my spirit. This is one aspect of my vision: I am running a center for families in a beautiful, picaresque location in which educational and wholistic healing modalities are integrated naturally. Families, children, and communities come together to co-create educational, learning spaces that build on their assets and expertise. The Center’s resources are accessible and free. There are opportunities for everyone and the Community insulates and supports families, particularly families whose needs are varied and great. Though I am “running” the Center all this means is that I am ensuring the facilitation of resources and continued communication among those involved. Leadership is organic, grows naturally over time, and is in concert with the dynamics emerging from mutually respectful and compassionate interactions.

When I write what I feel in my heart, my spirit ignites in heat and energy. I believe I am seeing a potential timeline in the future when this vision of a family-centered Community with multiple opportunities for healing, learning, and growth can manifest. I feel no resistance when I envision this space.

The resistance begins when my mind questions the details and logistics:

  • How am I going to get the resources to make this vision happen?
  • Where is this Center located? Where can this space realistically exist?
  • When can such a place exist? Is there sufficient funding and resources that would allow this vision to become concrete?
  • What will it take? And, who will be involved to bring together all the elements needed to manifest this vision?

There are so many other questions that fill my mind, too. These questions have to do with my family’s needs, our current location, my desire to be reunited with other family members, my short-term career goals, and personal finances.

I find that each time I begin to question my vision I feel an emotion akin to defeat. My mind takes over and tells me all the ways that I will not be able to manifest what I want. I hear messages such as:

  • “You don’t have the money to do what you really want to do.”
  • “Time is running out.”
  • “You’re getting older.”
  • “You have unrealistic, unattainable goals.”

And so on and so on…

Listening to my mind question my heart’s passion only brings me unease. I am learning this about myself. But this lesson is confusing because I have been told by others, many of whom have my best interests at heart, that I need to “be realistic” and “practical.” And, yes! They are correct. In many ways, being realistic and practical have gotten me to where I am now. I have had incredible educational experiences that have led me to my current faculty position. I have followed all the steps and most of the advice I have been given. I have worked hard. I am extremely grateful for the work I do and the career I have.

Yet, there is a deep longing for more. This more is hard to define. But it has something to do with what I have written before about the difference in being and doing. As I reflect, I believe that my heart is about being and my mind is about doing. Both are important. I recognize this. The mind, however, can be so judgmental. It can sabotage an idea (or a vision) even before that idea is given wings to fly. All the questions I share above are ways I clip my vision’s “wings.” It’s like overprotective parents who limit their child’s experiences to “protect” that child from getting hurt – even if, deep down, they understand the value of the experience.

The more that I long for is about being in my heart and experiencing my heart’s desires. This is challenging, however, while living in a world where one’s worth is assessed by what a person does. Personally, I completed my checklist of BIG “to dos” years ago.  As a teenager and young adult my list included:

  • Live in Spain
  • Live in Mexico
  • Learn Spanish (literacy)
  • Get Doctoral Degree
  • Get Married
  • Have Children

By age 38, I had accomplished all my “life goals.” The “checklist” was complete and I really didn’t know what else to strive for and accomplish.

At 40, I was diagnosed with cancer. Life, it seemed, had other things in store for me. As I have written before, I came to the realization that there was more than just doing. Life had to be about being who I wanted to be and feeling fulfilled with the choices I made.

Fast-forward to the here and now…

What is this longing for more I am feeling? What is this tension between resistance and surrender? Why am I still grappling with being and doing? What needs to end? What is beginning?

These questions are interconnected. The more for which I am longing is to live from my heart deeply and intensely. I desire being who I am authentically without fear of judgment from myself or others. I long to surrender all my cares and worries of what others will say of my choices. I am tired of resisting what I really want in order fulfill others’ ideas of who I should be within the context of my profession, my familial roles, my gender, my race/ethnicity, and my language. I am exasperated that I continue to allow myself to NOT LIVE FULLY out of fear!

Goodness!!! Cancer, one of my greatest teachers, taught me to not fear FEAR itself. And yet, here I am not living fully because I am afraid. I am afraid that the path I am on will not lead me to my vision. I am afraid that I will let people who love me down. I am afraid that I won’t live up to others’ expectations. I am afraid that I will live a life where I am doing, doing, doing and not being.

So, what are the next steps?

I feel that it’s time to take action and be courageous. Since moving to Indianapolis, I’ve had one foot tentatively planted here and the other feeling it’s way around other places. I have been consciously NOT LIVING FULLY because I have been waiting to see where I should root myself. This transitory existence has been purposeful, but now it’s time to make firm decisions. I need to ask myself what is beginning and what is ending? Can there be multiple beginnings in the spaces I hope to create or will there only be room for one beginning at a time?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it’s time to LIVE FULLY from the heart and be who I am without fear.

The exercise of writing down questions and trying to answer them honestly provides clarity for better understanding these internal tensions of surrender and resistance. Questions such as: What can I surrender right now without compromising my authentic self? and What am I still resisting and why? provide direction on a path that has been muddied by confusion and uncertainty.

Though I cannot say I am completely clear about what my next steps are I do feel that, by taking this time, I have overcome some of the resistance and frustration I have been experiencing. The root of some of my inner agitation stems from knowing what my heart wants but questioning the path about how I am getting there. I have been questioning the circuitous nature of my path and wondering why it’s not clear, straight, and to the point. I have a sense now, through this reflection, that I must heed the lessons on the journey rather than putting so much stock in the outcomes. I have a feeling that if I can trust my own decisions along the path that what I truly want will unfold before me. I have resisted this. I have wanted to control this more. I have wanted a clearer path full of bright lights and directional signs. Instead, I am being given subtle, quiet nudges that remind me to trust myself and surrender to the current that will take me toward my vision smoothly, more quickly.

I share this long reflection with you so you will not feel so alone, the way I sometimes do on this journey. We are all here together trying to find the way toward our true Selves – the brightest path we can take. I thank you for taking the time to read what I am trying to articulate. Please know that however we all seem on the outside is only one part of the story. We are all complex spiritual beings in human form who are attempting to figure this life out.

We are all trying to find the least resistant current and, in doing so, discovering a space where we can lie down peacefully and surrender all of our concerns.

Much love to you on your individual journeys,

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Returning to a Different Mind/Heart-Space

Last week I returned from Spain after having had the opportunity to explore Barcelona and Zaragoza with my sister-in-law. I hadn’t been to Spain since 2000, and could not believe how settled and at home I immediately felt. Where in the States my Spanish sometimes feels choppy and forced, in Spain, my words seemed to flow. Vocabulary I thought I had lost suddenly reappeared naturally in conversation.

I also remembered parts of me that I had forgotten. Over the past 10 years my life has been centered on my family and career. This is a statement, not a complaint. In fact, it is a happy truth. I am happy to have been blessed with an amazing family and a career in higher education. But being in Spain, reminded me of who I was before being a wife, a mother, and a cancer thriver. Being in Spain was expansive. My heart felt open and eager. My mind was hungry for adventure and exploration.

It was as if different parts of who I am and who I have been came together and reconnected. In some ways, I revisited the young 20 year-old I was when I first visited and lived in Spain. I was returning to my youth and remembering how it felt to believe so much in possibility, opportunity, and hope for the future’s unfolding.

In Spain, I also recognized distinctly the gravity of my years. I realized I have allowed life to feel heavy. Many events, activities, and appointments have weight to them. There is responsibility and accountability attached to everything I now do. There is so much to now do. My life has become one of doing and so much less of being.

As my adult self merged with my younger self I felt the burden of doing dissipate. I was not in Spain to do. I was in Spain to be. The difference was intoxicating.

The daily push for me now, upon my return to the States, is remembering how to authentically be my expansive, youthful self in an adult body living an “adult” lifestyle. Already I feel the pressure to do – to keep deadlines, to make appointments, to prepare for classes, to maintain the household chores, and to ensure my children are having all their needs met. Again, these “to dos” come with the choices I have made, and these choices are happy ones. Yet, how do I find harmony in all these doings while striving to nurture being who I am in essence and spirit?

I am exploring this question now before the fall semester begins. I look forward to reframing my heart and mind so I will not forget the free and expansive spirit I have remembered lives within. I see this spirit as a wild horse galloping hard through the bramble and weeds. She is free to run and completely herself.

Maybe we can all take some time to recall our expansive and wild spirit before we heavily structure our lives for this upcoming academic school year. Who will we uncover?  Who do we remember being?  How shall we nurture the exciting and wondrous feelings that arise with our remembering of self?

Please feel welcome in sharing your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

With love,

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Counting Blessings

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Lately I have had difficulty keeping track of time. The summer is passing by so quickly and each day is full of activities and things to accomplish. I have many self-imposed deadlines coming up and the prospect of getting everything done seems impossible. In the past, I would have felt anxiety and stress. I would be worrying about all the work ahead of me and feeling guilty about my upcoming vacation. I would be berating myself for taking on too much and not having enough time to enjoy my summer. A part of me would feel miserable and another part excited about the opportunity to get away from the daily burden of to dos hanging over my head.

Right now, though, I feel only calmness. It’s a detached state of mind where a part of me is observing all the activities I am involved in without feeling the rollercoaster of emotions I am used to experiencing. It is a strange sensation, especially because I realize I may not complete all the tasks I had hoped to accomplish by the end of summer.

Perhaps part of this sense of inner calmness comes from knowing that in twenty-four hours I will be on route to Spain to celebrate my fifth-year anniversary of being cancer-free. I am meeting up with my sister-in-law who is also a cancer thriver and who just completed radiation treatment. We are celebrating our precious lives and counting our many blessings.

As I have written about before, I experienced many dark nights of the soul going through my cancer journey. There was one night I will never forget. It was the night I spent in the darkness of my basement grieving the life I felt I was about to lose. That night I was gently, but firmly, shown two paths. One led to the end of my suffering where I would quickly slip away and out of my mortal coil to be one with the Light. I knew that if I chose this path I had little time to remain in the physical plane. Though I didn’t want to leave my husband, children, family, and friends, the exhaustion and pain I felt dealing with the cancer was almost unbearable. I was tempted to step onto this path and be released fully from the anxiety and fear that plagued me.

The other path, in some ways, was more difficult. It meant that I would have to choose life in a conscious and deliberate manner. Choosing life, for me, meant knowing I was fully responsible for all of my choices, actions, thoughts, words, and feelings. I felt the gravity of what choosing life would mean for me. It would mean no more bullshit. It would mean that I needed to step up to the plate, live in the present moment, and BE aligned with who I truly was. No more shrinking, backing down, or slinking into the periphery. By freely choosing LIFE I made the decision to no longer give away my power. I realized and acknowledged the incredible inner sovereignty within.

I remember thinking, “Oh shit. This is REAL.” I could feel the weight of my choice. God wasn’t playing.

By choosing LIFE I have chosen a more challenging path. The difficulties lie in making sure that what I say and do are aligned with the highest good. There’s a passage in the Bible (I just looked it up), Matthew 19:24, which reads, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” In my view, even with wealth aside, it feels impossible to enter the “kingdom of God” IF, like me, you believe that the kingdom is not so much a place, but rather frame of mind or level of consciousness. How can I walk through the “eye of the needle” if my consciousness is not pure, if my heart’s intentions are not aligned with the highest good? This question makes me check myself again and again. Do I honestly believe and feel that I am being true to myself – my higher Self – in my daily routines and interactions? In other words, am I truly walking the walk?

Though I believe, in my heart, that the kingdom of heaven is open to ALL of us, I also have an internal knowing that there are ways to open our hearts here on Earth that will make it easier for us to fully experience (and understand) the Light that is constantly being offered. Being aligned with our highest good – our greatest most divine Self – is a huge step toward receiving and integrating this light. I interpret this biblical passage to mean our ability to be our highest Self without judgment of others or self (our Earthly personality/ego). It is to BE who we came to be by stripping off the protective layers, carefully constructed or forcefully imposed, and to KNOW we are living our lives from LOVE, not fear.

As I prepare for my trip tomorrow, I feel genuinely happy that I am HERE on this physical plane and that I chose LIFE when I had the opportunity to do so. I am aware that every day is a new opportunity to align my thoughts and actions with my higher Self and to be able to ask if what I am experiencing holds the intention of the highest good. I am blessed to be able to have these internal reflections and am grateful to have a space where I can share my heart. I am counting my blessings and am conscious in this NOW moment of the gifts this LIFE has offered.

With much love,

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Interview with Dr. Megan Farnsworth


In this interview, Dr. Megan Farnsworth explores authenticity in public spaces. What does it mean to be a teacher educator when you want to bring in your authentic self to your students, to the classroom, and to your teaching? How do we balance sharing who we are with what we are comfortable revealing?

Megan discusses her journey of (re)writing her own story in order to explore “wounds and vulnerability.” She describes the process of releasing emotions tied to grief that no longer serve her higher purpose.

Megan ends this conversation by providing us with specific tools to assist us in slowing down and remaining in the present moment. She demonstrates a breathing technique that she learned recently on her trip to Bali and Indonesia that has helped her bring awareness to the NOW.


BIOGRAPHY

Megan Farnsworth is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Southern Oregon University. She earned her PhD at the University of Arizona (2010) in Multicultural Special Education, and has taught in K-12 schools in California, Oregon, Arizona, and Hawai’i for 11 years, and Post-secondary institutions for nine years. Dr. Farnsworth possesses a strong commitment to teach, serve, and collaborate with Culturally Diverse families and students who experience Exceptionalities, and is currently exploring ways grief affects teaching and learning. Megan has recently begun using story in her teaching, which is a universal tool to build connection and trust. One premise that manifests through story is, Trusting in the connection between that which is seen and unseen transforms fear into love. As a holistic educator, Megan utilizes the tools of narrative and breath to explore the human condition. 

“The World is Full”

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For the last couple of weeks I have needed respite from putting myself “out there” in a public space. As the quotation by Rumi says, “the world is too full to talk about.”

The world is full. It is brimming over with energy and emotion. I hesitate to pick up my phone in the mornings, for I know I will check my emails, read the news, and go over my social media accounts. Each of these venues will reflect to me the world’s fullness. My hesitation comes from the tension of wanting to withdraw from what is occurring in the sociopolitical landscape while feeling pulled to connect with others, on a micro and global scale. The internal pull and push is exhausting, particularly when, each day, I come across a story or event where we, human beings, are treating one another with disdain, hatred, and injustice. The sheer force of unveiled contempt for life – human, animal, or nature – witnessed through first-hand observation or via media outlets has been staggering for me. As I have been writing in previous blogs, acts fueled by negativity are decentering and require that I take time to regain equilibrium.

Yet, even as events unfold that are unfathomable, I have noticed them disappearing from my mind’s eye like the end of a movie where a person on horseback merges in the distance with the horizon. I don’t feel like I am disassociating from the harsh realities we currently are experiencing, but rather that a part of me is pushing away the antagonism and pulling toward a greater awareness of the present moment.

The present moment of conscious breathing and exhaling focuses the lens through which I view this world. The sunlight becomes brighter and more intense. Each leaf and blade of grass is discernable. The soft breeze and gentle rain resonate deeply within me. Each sound its own symphony. With this clarity, I recognize my oneness with all that is within and around me. I forget the cars, the smartphones, the laptops, and the constant barrage of “to dos.” I am here. I am with YOU.

Rumi helps us to remember, “ideas, language, and even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.” I close my eyes and stop the noise. We are in the soul’s “field.” We are equals. Our hearts are one. Our minds connected. This is what it means not to get caught up in the world. “To be in the world, but not of it.” You are not separate from me. I SEE you. I feel your joy, your sadness, and pain. We understand another and do not have to speak to know our needs, wants, and desires. We just ARE. And this realization is good. It makes us feel settled and safe.

When the world’s fullness feels like too much, I am grateful for retreat. I am thankful for the ability to unplug. I am privileged to do so. I live a life where fullness means having a busy schedule, several projects to tackle, and many meetings to attend. I do not worry about my city getting bombed or my children going hungry. These are real concerns that warrant humility and reflection as I navigate my first-world challenges. Not everyone can disconnect or escape violent and dispossessing realities we, as human beings, have created and continue to perpetuate.

I sit with these thoughts daily.

I appreciate YOU who is reading this. I thank you for sharing this space, right now, with me. I do not know how you are understanding the world around you in this moment, but I want you to know that I am HERE for you and with you as we take some time to figure out our next steps.

With much love,

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