Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Who Am I?

I'm a craniosacral and licensed massage therapist, parent, student of anti-racism, aspiring activist and blogger at Sea's Blog, which I started to heal from the hurts of white racism. I will establish a non-profit and open a center within the next five years.

I enjoy writing, connecting with people, organizing projects. I love the sun and the earth, the sky and sea and all the green that grows and gives us oxygen and beauty. I love laughter and great ferocious cries. Listening to or playing music. Foot rubs. Being in tune with joy that flows through everything all the time. I love my husband and children.

I grew up in the concrete jungle of Orange County, California. All the while I wrote poetry, composed songs, played classical marimba from an early age. Additionally, I embarrased my father who was a contemporary Quaker minister on a regular basis! Gazing into the blue sky and wanting bluer, I also wanted more greenery in my life. My fantasy was living in a wild fruit-orchard somewhere in Central America, naked, a raw-foodist with nursing babies at my breast.

Instead I joined the Zendiks for two plus years (at the time, 1978, they were a raw-food vegetarian group) and somewhat found the wildness I was seeking. I was lead singer and musician for the Zendik band. We performed on Venice Beach boardwalk, at local colleges and theaters. I also was Wulf Zendik's gofer, confidante and massage therapist. Though they gave me precious gifts, they also took a toll. I left in emotional turmoil, and ended up growing marijuana for a few years professionally. After several encounters at mutual gunpoint in the woods--including being shot at and warned of impending rape by local law enforcement officials--I decided if I had any other goals I better start them now because I may not live much longer. Pot plantation life in the northern California mountains has its guerrilla-warfare-like moments. (My buckass-naked encounters with Big Foot are another story.)

I ended up at a health resort at Murrieta Hot Springs, California, with my five month old son, Alex, for two years. (I was a carrot-farming heiress of Marshburn Bros. largest carrot grower in the country then--that's how I got the bucks to live as a guest at a resort.) I took the polarity therapy courses based on the work of Dr Randolph Stone. It was run by a community of polarity therapists and I was immersed in health-building and meditation. The second year I worked there and got a divorce when, after I paid for my husband to come to try and stop his dope-dealing, he left with a woman in his polarity class.

Drugs and alcohol inadvertently got a hold of me again, when the polarity community broke up due to a scandal. (It was a celibate crowd except for within a legal marriage yet, oops, the married president got his secretary pregnant on an extended "business" cruise.) I was in and out of rehabs for a few years (such a winning place to pick up cute guys) until I had to get real humble and sit my ass in an AA chair for a few more years. A woman who made a lifelong commitment to support me became my sponsor, Teri J, and that made a difference. Within three years I was publishing a community literary journal devoted to "ecological and creative recovery", performing one-woman shows with my tone poems and avant-garde music, acting in a real Broadway theater in the San Juan Islands and going to community college for my Associate of Arts degree. I began working with young people, providing circle time and art, coaching soccer for my 10-year-old son’s team and I took daily long walks deep in the heart of Earth's heaven.

I guess all this was so attractive I re-married and had two babies in my thirties. This was with a man I had met at Michael J. Cohen's Reconnecting With Nature workshop on Orcas Island, who resembled a cross between a Klingon (Star Trek) and Shawn Connery. While communing with the trees I discovered he had a condom in his pocket and hey, I like a guy who comes prepared. A Wilber-ite he was deep into Sex Ecology and Spirituality the discussion was, to me, a transcendence of the happy times I had enjoyed with Wulf. I married him amidst whalesongs and left the island to live with him in Bellingham where he made the big bucks as charge nurse of the operating room. I used to have to spend about ten hours just deprogramming him from the nonsense of that institution once his shift was over and he had hit the ferry to see me (still do). Little did I know his experiences as a Re-evaluation Co-counselor (RC) would soon be a big focus of mine. When our son was born I naturally used the attachment parenting approach. And every time my baby cried I breastfed him. Yet he seemed to need to cry. Information came into my life that agreed with that notion. Yet I was still uncomfortable when he cried. So I sought out an RC class for myself. Once I discovered what a good session felt like I was able to relax and allow my baby to have a nice cry too. The expression on his face after I'd held him lovingly and let him have his cry was so lucid and present. The leaps in development he made after these cries made a big impression on me. Three years later, in the thick of parenting two toddler-age young ones, we decided to leave Washington for Portland, Oregon, to pursue a larger RC community who are making ending racism central to their work. We also wanted more diversity for our children. Portland has been very good to us. I began the process of healing from the hurts of white racism and getting a peek out from under the boulder of sexism.

Before the move, back in Bellingham, I edited, wrote and sold ads for the environmental newspaper, Whatcom Watch, tutored writing and some ESL at the local community college, facilitated parent support groups for parents who had their kids taken away by CPS due to alcohol and drug problems, hosted a radio show on KUGS called “The Weekly Planet" through WWU, taught vegetarian cooking classes and put out a few more editions of the FogHorn, a literary journal I mentioned above. My partner Will Ganschow—who began peer counseling thirty years ago and became a registered nurse in the 70s in part to combat gender stereotypes (and in part because it beat his then-current job of cab driving in Chicago), interrupted an anti-Semitic remark I made one day and I was so furious (because I didn't get it that I was anti-Semitic). This began a process within myself. I began confronting my own unaware, racist conditioning as a white, gentile, raised owning/middle class female. For seven years now, I have been pursuing my own "unconditioning". I find that developing close relationships with people like me and with very different backgrounds from myself is a way to get my whole-self back and set things right on this planet.

Previously, environmental work was what I thought was key--and held a thinly veiled contempt for all humans. It is, but now I put ending racism and classism as central with environmental injustice a close second because it actually can't be perpetuated when racism is no more. I'm using a listening process which I call ListeningConnect(tm) as a way to unravel and recover from the hurts of racism whether it's as oppressor or as one targeted. Though racism and classism can be confronted and recovered from at any age, I believe that it begins as young ones--when we are all targeted by--bing!--adultism!!!

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Blogger Tereza said...

Sea, I wanted to introduce myself to you. I saw your comment on Ally Work and thought maybe we should meet some day. I'm also in PDX and just starting to do anti-racism work. Check out my blog: white anti-racist parent. I am hoping the blog will become more of a community with many contributors and readers writing in. I would love to hear what you think. Take care,

4:24 PM PST  

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