“Dalawang Buslo” (two baskets: what do you want to receive? what do you want to give?)

Kapwa: indigenous Filipino value of “deep interconnection, shared identity, seeing self in others.” 

Here, community connections (like art, collabs, fundraisers in my neighborhood/our planet, healing energies, more) are shared to celebrate and support our diverse stories. Maybe we’ll see each other as integrated into The Story mosaic.


We have co-labored to make grief circles with other communities of people ready and willing to tend to the many ways grief is happening within and around us. Francis Weller, psychotherapist and soul activist, has called them the 5 gates of grief (not stages–let’s face it, grief is not linear!)

The gates are:

*everything we love we will lose (Western culture accepts this loss but barely allows us bereavement)

*what has not known love (e.g. our shadow sides, what we’ve been shamed or forbidden from expressing)

*sorrows of the world (climate catastrophe, wars, poverty, white supremacist colonial capitalism)

*what we expected but did not receive (e.g. during the Pandemic, there were no funerals, graduations, weddings)


These offer us a conceptual shape for these ceremonies. Rather than say we’re ‘inventing’ rituals for grief, we are becoming aware that our ancestors have always honored and held relational space for grief. We are re-membering these community acts of love and care. Here are a few photos of one of our grief circles. In these gatherings, those led to facilitate have shared their passions and gifts: we integrate indigenous practices (drum circle, call and response poetry, smudging, calling in our ancestors), we eat and drink meaningful and healing dishes, we share memories, we journal, we are silent, we cry, we rest while music or sound bowls wash over/through us, we listen to ourselves and each other (our ancestors, our more-than-human kin, our dreams).

One of the gates of grief, ancestral

One of the gates of grief, the sorrows of the world

Part of our grief-tending, a sound bath to help hold and metabolize what is moving through us


Maui Healing Circle and ongoing Support Efforts

In Sept 2023, At San Diego Mesa College, our Kapwa Learning Community held a healing circle to respond to the devastating fires on Maui. A local plumeria farming family donated fresh plumeria for us to embody our shared grief, presence (aloha, shared breath) and commitment to support the long-term recovery, most pressingly for the native Hawaiian people and their land. We chanted, metabolized grief and concern for native Hawaiians, infused our aloha and mana (power) as shared fragrance with the plumeria, and sang our promise to mālama.

aloha :: love, compassion, shared breath

aloha kekahi i kekahi :: love one another

mālama :: to take care of, tend, attend, preserve, protect


Kenda Willie, Native American storyteller & Kapwatid (kapatid = sibling :0)

Kenda is a powerful poet, a geeky (tha’s a super compliment!), dynamic friend. They are a fellow, “Where We Come From” ethnoautobiographer who wrote and performed this true story based on the theme of “Roots” for San Diego City College in Spring 2023.

Witness for yourself how stories ignite the cells in our bodies and around us in the atmosphere.


“Change Starts Here” (January 2023)

Dr. Catherine Luib, Hilot (indigenous Filipino healer) opened the “Motions and Emotions”—performances by Filipino Americans on intergenerational healing—with a community ceremony/prayer, an embodied commitment to healing. February 5, 2023 at the New Americans Museum on Kumeyaay territory (San Diego, CA.)

Part of my re-membering of my full identity (including the web of life all within and around me) is via my chronic illness. In Fall 2021, my skin began another overwhelming flare. I needed help beyond what I’d tried in the past. I was led to Luib Health Center and Dr. Catherine Luib–acupuncturist, chiropractor, hilot (indigenous Filipino healer), nutritionist, community activist, AKA, Dr. Cat–for healing and more. I receive acupuncture & other traditional Chinese treatments, join ceremonies for ancestral connection, and celebrate the wonders of the known/unknown in creative & joyful community. I also co-direct wellness events with Dr. Cat– and much more.

Geophyte Mandala (created 2021-2022). This is the “above ground” bloom. Below is where I mostly felt for the past years. Since I turned fi’ty, I am ‘officially’ embracing [read: surrendering to! trying to partner with!]
the transitions of menopause.
These collages were made at writer-artist-teacher, Susan Ito’s annual Community Silent-ish art and writing retreat in Santa Sabina, CA, March 2022. The word I ‘heard’ last summer: GEOPHYTE. These underground and cosmic ‘bulbs, tubers, corms, and rhizomes’ carry all their water and nutrients with them. They are “disaster-ready” bodies, stealthily steadily moving.

The geophytes started relating/speaking/playing with me as I made space to “meet” with them. They kindov look like a Zoom screen, don’t they?
The world(s) where the dark nourishes, where spirals of wisdom go down, up, in, out. My stories, our stories, can torch the falsifying white supremacist, ivory towers. We are the “type righters” in the form of geophytes! Carrots, garlic, ube, taro, daffodils, onions, surprise lilies, woman in menopause…

“S(kin)” 2021

An application question asks, “Where does your strength come from?” I’m sharing from a once-scary, now-emerging source. “S(KIN)” The photo I share is of different creations around where I live. They are different skins: of trees, fruits, my own. I have had to live in a bubble for decades because of my very allergic, scratched and peeling body. But in the last two years, and especially during the global coronavirus Pandemic, I have been learning to touch and relate to Nature’s own scratched and peeling bodies. “Allergy” means “strange action to something strange.” My skin disease, atopic dermatitis, means “strange” (atopy) as well. “Stranger” also means someone who leaves for a long period and returns.

I no longer believe I am a stranger to myself nor to nature. I can finally sit and listen, converse, relate to nature as my skin kin: S(KIN). There is power here.