I HAVE BEEN on a journey of intentionally incorporating spirituality in my life for about 12 years now. This started about a few months after my Papi’s passing.
I had just moved to a city that was on high elevation, higher than I had ever lived before, and I was starting a new job across the country during the dead of winter. For about the first two to three months, I experienced insomnia, which was taking a toll on me—tired during the day and restless at night. I knew that acupuncture might help, as I had tried it once before right after my Papi’s passing.
With one session, the extreme tension I felt on my shoulders immediately melted away. Remembering this, I asked some of my new colleagues and was referred to an acupuncturist. I had found healing. Her sessions were not only filled with poking needles but also filled with spiritual teachings and lessons in the form of everyday conversations on what was going on in the world and with myself. Through these conversations, I learned so much about my connection between body, emotions, spirit—or the mindbodyspirit. To this day I maintain in touch with my acupuncturist, Billie, and refer to her as my earth angel and spirit guide.
For over eight years, I went once a month whether I felt a dis-ease, imbalance or not. Aside from getting me through understanding and making peace with my Papi’s passing, it also helped me experience less stress while obtaining tenure and experiencing many other personal hurdles. BUT perhaps more importantly was the awakening I experienced that life is more than what is right in front of me. There is all this unseen force, energy that is all around us. I started to see the connections between Chinese medicine and yoga, the Chakras, crystals, essential oils and so on and so forth. There are so many things available to us to awaken us beyond our inherited Western five senses and to connect us back to source, inner Self, god, universe or the multiple and varied ways people might label it.
My spirituality is practicing what I have found helpful in bringing me back to center—the remembering of who I am.
My spirituality is practicing what I have found helpful in bringing me back to center—the remembering of who I am. I find solace in holding and meditating with crystals and using them to heal emotional trauma and stuck emotions that are manifesting physically. I practice and teach yoga to heal the mindbodyspirit. I follow the phases of the moon to release that which no longer serves my higher Self and to set intentions for manifesting continual personal growth. I read the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chödrön, and Don Miguel Ruiz. I follow socially conscious astrologers like Chani Nicholas. My scholarship and pedagogy are influenced by scholars who have embodied and grounded their work in spirituality, like Gloria Anzaldúa, Irene Lara, AnaLouise Keating, and many others.
Do I get lost, you might ask? Of course—many, many times! But through this journey, I have found that I have less difficulty remembering who I am and finding the lessons from the forgetting of who I am. After all, it’s in forgetting and remembering that the greatest lessons arise, and the opportunity for growth happens. And the funny thing is that oftentimes, it’s those with whom I have most conflict who become the greatest teachers, reminding me who I am. My acupuncturist, after listening to me rant about someone always says, “ahh, they are your teacher!” Then I take a deep breath and realize exactly what she means. Sometimes it’s really hard to acknowledge challenging people as teachers, but once I do, a weight is lifted. I encourage anyone to try this.