yes, i guess the time is here again. the comercialized navidad has begun at starbucks. on my way over after dropping d off at work i witnessed a señor deal with las voces speaking to him. his body moved semi-violently and he seemed angry at whatever it is he was talking about.
i see this man often. he earns his living by cleaning window shields near alameda and slauson. he is a hard worker. young man, not more than 38 years of age. to keep the warmth in his body, he puts his socks over his jeans. his eyes…his eyes are hazel in color. they tell the stories, they tell his stories.
i keep on my trek to the only coffee shop open before 7am, and soon i witness a large crowd of workers. all walking pretty steadily, to their destination. behind them a notice another man, walking much slower, observing all the others at the crosswalk walking by him. his feet rough, dry, sticking out of his shoes. i wondered why he didn’t seem to have a place to go to. i imagined and sat with the reality that so many are jobless, difficult to survive in a capitalist system when one doesn’t have some sort of money making gig.
its christmas at starbucks, my brother spent his 32nd birthday in a cage.
today its cloudy in los angeles. i decided to not wear my uniform hoops and put on a pair of earrings that my sister brought me from her beloved oaxaca. the earrings are round, hand-made, bright pink and navy blue. the material used- corn husk or something similar. sometimes on cloudy days, i purposely bring brightness. its intentional. i re-read a quote this morning about cultural fieldwork being the fire that keeps burning when the lights have gone off and all else fails. cultural fieldwork at its core must ignite peoples’ imaginations with the possibility of a different and much bigger future.
with that in mind i want to document here that i have re-considered what it is i should go back to school for. in my mind currently is the idea of getting a phd in clinical psychology with an emphasis in depth psychology. i think this degree is pretty practical, can get me jobs, and is very important to healing the world. my grounding will always be liberation and indigenous psychologies and i still would like to teach at local community colleges and other working class universities as well as in the one day running free schools (in the works) but i think about my experience at the MA program i graduated from a few years back. i think about how isolated i felt and how awful it was to sit in class listening to theories that felt so out of my experience.
i know that the phd program is based in western psychology. i know what i am walking into. i know i will cringe at a lot of what i am taught. and now with a couple of years of experience in the field of liberation psychology, liberation arts as healing methodologies for collective and individual trauma, i feel strong enough to go back in to the war zone of theories and ideologies and take what i need for the communities i work in and am a part of.
i think of the need to learn more about mental health and the abc’s of dealing with addictions and other hardships that lead people to not be able to function for themselves, and most of all people who are criminalized and marginalized because of addictions or mental health issues that they live with.
i want to better understand how the mind works. i understand that there is not uniformity and that mental health has to be coupled with spiritual health and i know that i can and will bring that into the room wherever i fine myself working. what i have learned in the last few years is that i can bring in my own ethics to any job. that i do not need to abide by ethics that do not feel right to me. i can take the many important lessons that i am sure to learn from a clinical perspective and mezclarlos com mis propias ideas y etica.
i know it wont be easy to sit in some of the classes. i also know that i am deeply rooted in methodologies and healing practices that will serve as a starting place for all other learning that will happen. i hope to walk into the classroom with eyes wide open so that i can make sense of new knowledge for myself. and that i call in all the different teachings of the many communities i am a part of so that i can get through tough times. i am well aware that i will learn important knowledge that will help me help others and that will help me make sense of struggles that people have. i imagine sharing this knowledge with land trust folks, my beautiful teatro mujeres, the students i have, the youth i work with, yjc, LA CAN, la F, my familia, etc, etc……! i will want to share this with information with who ever needs it!
bueno, jingle bells have started playing in the background, its time for a half day retreat with the leadership team at the land trust. we are evaluating the year and planning for next! another year is almost here. wow, so fast, so fast. so many things to reflect on in the coming couple of months.