Where do you currently live?
I live in Fresno, which lies in the center of the San Joaquin Valley of California, United States.
Although having been born and raised here, the climate can be challenging to me as I get older. Summers are typically in the high 90’s to low 100’s, but we are seeing longer heat waves of 110 degrees up to 112 and even 115 degrees at times. Winters used to drop to slightly below freezing (high 20’s), but with climate change, it is rare now. The tule fog, which used to blanket the area in the winter, is also disappearing.
When the Bureau of Land Management first decided to identify the climate of the San Joaquin Valley, it was mis-identified as a Mediterranean climate. For this reason water in this region has been mismanaged for nearly a hundred years. The San Joaquin Valley is actually a desert climate with vernal pools. While agriculture thrives in the Valley, it depends on irrigation which, along with mis-use and over-use of water in other ways, has led to the depletion of the underground water table. This, in turn, has caused many of our native plants, such as the Valley Oak (or white oak) to begin to die off. Years of drought have exacerbated the situation.
Because of agriculture, we have a wide variety of cultures that have been attracted to the San Joaquin Valley – there are over 185 different cultures in the Valley – creating an area rich in cultural diversity in many areas from cuisine to art. Native American and Hispanic influences are especially strong in this area, although there has been a rise in Asian influences over the past few decades.
What are some ways you like to spend your time?
Since the heat has become problematic for me, I have given up gardening for more indoor activities. Having been a student of Druidry for over twelve years, I have expanded my studies to include metaphysics and mysticism. The Druidry has given me the opportunity to form a close relationship with nature and the Earth, while my more recent mystic studies are providing me new insights into the evolution of humanity and the universe. Between the two, I am learning to fully connect with the Earth, the Sky, and All Time. While I have been involved in ceremony and ritual since beginning my druid studies in 2005, I am currently enrolled in courses to become a professional celebrant so that I may offer meaningful ceremonial experiences and rites of passage to people of all spiritual and secular walks of life. I also enjoy writing, sewing, playing the piano, and many creative arts.
How did you first connect with Pachamama Alliance?
I first learned of the Pachamama Alliance at our Earth Day Fresno celebration in June of 2016. Feeling somewhat isolated at the time, I was seeking people who were more “like me.” I picked up the flier announcing the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, and immediately knew this was an event that I must attend. Deeply moved by the Symposium, I was excited by the prospect that there was something more I might be able to do to make a difference, and I made a vow to myself on the spot to stay connected with these people. A couple of months later, a handful of us met to form our Fresno Pachamama Alliance Community.
What is a memory or experience with Pachamama Alliance that stands out for you?
The Awakening the Dreamer Symposium has to be the most impactful experience I have had with the organization to date. I took the advice given at the beginning of the Symposium to listen as if it were the first time I was hearing the information, and it led to a deeply emotional and spiritual experience. I was astounded to hear many of the people and ideas I had embraced prior to this, such as Paul Hawken’s address to the Bioneers, and the story of imaginal cells, originally described by Elisabet Sahtouris, as well as indigenous and shamanic perspectives, were woven into the symposium.
What is something you are proud to be doing in service of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet?
I am proud to be able to participate in the presentation of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposiums. I had been trying to “wake people up” by means of public ceremonies, showing various movies and documentaries, along with discussion, for quite some time, but with little success. The Symposium is such a powerful and effective tool that I immediately knew this was something I needed to do. I hope that in this way, along with other skills I am learning through the Pachamama Alliance, I will be instrumental not only in reaching people’s hearts about the challenges we are facing, but also in bridging the many divisions we now see in the world, and especially in our country.
What is something that you would like to see change in the world in the next 10 years?
I think that the most important thing that needs to change in the next ten years is for humanity to learn to work together. In order to do this, we absolutely must give up our personal egos and agendas, and learn to listen to opposing views without judgment and from the heart. Only then can we begin to realize that we really are all connected, and that working together, we can solve any challenges that arise.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
What I have shared here is a snapshot of myself in time. Just like everything else in the Universe, I am a changing, evolving being. I hope to keep growing and changing in ways that will not only assist my own personal growth, but also that of my human family and the entirety of Pachamama. To that end, please continue to “watch this space” for updates.