INVITATION TO AN ACCOMODATION FOR EXPANSION – A REFRAME IN THE SERVICE OF LIFE
Religious Exemption Accommodation Request Form: Peralta Community College District
October 7, 2021
“Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two us – it lives in the space we live together and that space is sacred space.”
I hope you and your loved ones are well. Thank you for hearing my reasons for religious exemption from this experimental injection. I have no doubt that the District has adopted these mandates with the intention of allowing our students to come back to campus and provide conditions that support their wellbeing. I appreciate that very much.
First, as the quote by Martin Buber suggests, I invite you and me to drop in the sacred space between us right now and to ponder these questions together: How is it possible that we may be holding such divergent views while feeling so certain that our own views are accurate? How is it possible that we both want the very best for our students but may be seeing the same situation completely differently? How should we go about holding this paradox going forward? What would assist you and me in holding this paradox for all others in the District community who have such divergent views on this matter right now? How do we help all of those who have such different views on this matter feel welcome and included? What would help us create sacred space right now? What would help us enter into a field of curiosity and “not knowing” together, suspending expectations and judgment? I am appealing to myself as much as I am to you, as this is a topic I feel very strongly about. I also know that when I feel strongly about something, I tend to be less open to considering other viewpoints.
Now, I invite us both to take a deep breath, feel our feet connected to the earth and sense into that larger web of Life that connects you and me right now, even as we are sitting on separate screens. I invite us to sense into that sacred space between you and me. I invite you to consider that what I am sharing here is coming from the bottom of my heart.
Please know that in terms of my employment here, I have nothing to gain. Based on the current mandates, I cannot see myself continuing to teach at Peralta beyond this semester. The medical mandates run counter to my code of ethics as a teacher, as a human being, and to my very understanding of how Life organizes itself. This is not only true for me personally, but also in how I see the mandates affecting our entire campus, college district, and beyond. That’s why I may consider there is no other option but to leave after the semester is over, unless, perhaps, we can enter into a shared learning journey together.
I will do my best to follow the format of your form:
1) Identify your sincerely held religious beliefs, practice, or observation that is the basis for a request for an acceptance as a religious accommodation
· Life, earth spirituality, and living systems awareness
· Scientific inquiry
I will elaborate on each of these in question 2:
2) Please briefly explain how your sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with the District’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement
I feel called to offer a bit more context here than the PDF exemption form allows for. I am concerned that many of our students’ very lives are at risk due to this mandate, which goes against my most deeply held religious beliefs.
2.1) Life, earth spirituality, and living systems theory
I believe in Life. My connection to Mother Earth has always nourished me. I derive sustenance, insight, and guidance from Mother Earth. I meditate and pray in nature, I regenerate in nature, I consider nature my teacher and my mentor. My connection to the biome around me is helping me connect to the microbiome within me. I recognize these as inextricably interwoven mysteries (and from the perspective of genomics, they are biologically inextricably interwoven processes. We need to breathe in nature’s biome in order to stay healthy). As above, so below, as within, so without. As Thoreau states: “The earth which is laid out like a map before me is but a lining of my inmost soul exposed.”
I experience Life as a relational dance. I ask for guidance from Life every day as I listen to her messages in my contemplative meditation and prayer. I experience Life as a relational dance with my fellow humans, as well. We impact and influence each other all the time. That’s why my share here is not only concerning the impact of these mandates on my own life but also their impact on my students’ lives and everyone else’s lives faced with these mandates right now. Our lives are all interconnected. This includes future generations, as well. I include them in my prayers and my concerns expressed here, as well.
I trust and believe in Life’s regenerative capacities. I experience the experimental vaccine technologies, as well as many of the other pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions that are part of the reopening plan, as an intrusion into my sacred relationship with nature.
Through my prayers and observations in nature and studies of ecology and living systems theory, I have learned that nature has her own pace of evolving and adapting. Nature is localized and contextualized. Nature doesn’t provide one-size-fits-all solutions as these vaccine technologies are marketed now. Nature thrives in pattern-rich environments that allow for a diversity of approaches.
Nature evolves in bioregional niches. These experimental vaccine technologies were rushed into market at an unprecedented speed and distributed at an unprecedented scale. I consider this to be in violation of Nature’s rhythm of trial, error and learning in locally adaptive settings.
Nature thrives on decentralization. The worldwide implementation plans have continuously suppressed other viable treatment options. Countless physicians, healthcare workers, healers, and other sovereign beings being proactive about their own health, and the health of their patients, have been silenced, censored, and threatened.
Nature encourages localized learning, problem-solving, adaptation, and mutual support. Worldwide, public agencies have suppressed localized, bioregional adaptive solutions to this public health challenge that have arisen from the inherent wisdom of traditional knowledge.
Nature thrives in networks, via her countless seen and unseen communication pathways that nourish Life. These networks allow us to share viable information within and across regions, cross-fertilizing insights and ideas, sharing best practices and lessons learned, co-creating new visions together. Over the past 18 months, there has been an unprecedented censorship of scientists and concerned citizens seeking to share research with each other and the public. Censorship suppresses healthy network functions and thus weakens the very fabric life needs to keep learning and thriving.
I have studied the organizing principles of life extensively in my research. Contemplating them is part of my daily spiritual practice, not unlike so many Earth-based spiritual traditions. The same principles of Life that are part of my daily meditation have informed many disciplines, including ecology, terrain theory in medicine, epigenetics, and the groundbreaking medical discoveries in genomics over the last 40 years.
I believe that, as living beings, we are born with regenerative capacities. According to the theory of autopoiesis, life continuously self-organizes and renews itself in a dance of co-evolution and co-creation. Elaborating on the key conditions of autopoiesis goes beyond the scope of this form. Briefly, I am concerned that the mandated experimental injections that are currently still under Emergency Use Authorization (this includes the Pfizer injection) disrupt and hijack Life’s regenerative and self-healing capacities and thus the sacred gift of co-evolution that Life has asked me to contribute to. Thousands of physicians have documented this.
I believe in healthy, living boundaries and Life’s pattern-rich tenets: distinguishing safety-ism from boundary awareness
When I sit and pray in nature, I always marvel at nature’s beautiful multi-faceted patterns. I consider nature’s patterns to be messages from the Divine, from the Mystery of Life. Nature thrives on boundaries, which express themselves in many beautiful shapes and forms. Boundaries nourish and nurture. They protect, but they also absorb. Boundaries are membranes of communication. In fact, as Bruce Lipton, father of epigenetics has discovered, a cell’s membrane is much more important to co-evolution than its DNA. Membranes are always semi-permeable.
While I appreciate the purported concern for our “safety”, I question how this term is used to justify policies that have such big impacts on our wellbeing in the short-term and long-term. Life isn’t inherently safe. Life is always an exquisite risk, as spiritual teacher Tara Brach so beautifully states. Evolution is not informed by the value of safety. Life thrives on the mystery of the edge, the sweet semi-permeability of its boundaries.
Life doesn’t distance itself from Life. Life doesn’t stay six feet apart from Life (nor do viruses). Life doesn’t mask itself from Life (and viruses can go right through cloth and surgical masks, anyway). The dance of Life is meant to be danced together. Nor does the scientific literature support masking and social distancing unilaterally. In fact, scientific papers from sources of integrity tend to recommend against these measures.
Life does, however, need healthy boundaries, and I am not opposed to guidelines and mutual agreements that support healthy boundaries. What does that mean? This may be different depending on the context. In my experience, boundary discernment requires continuous attunement and feedback with ourselves and each other. This is something I practice in my daily contemplation in nature and with my fellow human beings. Boundaries in nature are always semi-permeable. Life depends on the continuous inquiry of what to let in and what to keep out. Life has gifted us with the most intricate gatekeeping functions to learn with and from this discernment process. Boundaries are living, learning edges, and as sovereign living beings, each of us gets to participate in this dance with our own boundaries and the boundaries of others we get to encounter.
While I get to practice honoring my own and others’ boundaries, Life has also endowed me with a capacity to choose for myself, and I consider it my religious duty to choose wisely and in integrity with Life’s tenets and to speak out on behalf of others’ being able to live in integrity with Life’s tenets.
I am experiencing many of the reopening rules that are being presented under the auspices of the term “safety” as a boundary violation of Life’s divine plans for me. They are stifling to my soul and spirit, and I see no scientific reasoning for them. I have been listening to medical scientists daily for the past 18 months. There is no scientific consensus that cloth or surgical masks, PCR testing, physical distancing, or the experimental injections are effective universal public health measures. Speaking from my sincerely held beliefs in Life, these measures distort and disrupt the healthy gatekeeping and boundary functions Life has gifted me with.
I am also concerned that these rules disrupt Life’s natural capacity to nourish healthy boundaries for our students on campus, which impacts their ability to co-evolve and co-learn in continuous adaptation with Life’s wisdom within them and around them. These rules could unintentionally and inadvertently lead to many mental and physical health problems in our students. Once again, as I have stated in previous communications, I ask us to consider that every rule we put in place comes with intended and unintended consequences that may have short-term and long-term impacts.
Life thrives on rules and structures, in fact Life would not exist without them. I am not opposed to structures and rules per se. It is through being sheltered and protected by Life’s gentle AND firm boundaries that we get to nourish and nurture new ideas, just like a baby is nourished in her mother’s womb. And it is through expanding these boundaries and engaging across these boundaries that we get to cross-fertilize and co-create new ideas and insights. This is how life continuously co-evolves. So, please understand that I am not opposed to the District co-creating guidelines in a collaborative fashion. I do support guidelines in the spirit of compassion, empathy, and solidarity while acknowledging that Life has endowed us with a capacity to choose what’s best for our own bodies and take responsibility for our own health. I am responsible for my health while honoring your health journey. I welcome an environment where we can support and empower each other on this learning journey.
In summary, my sincerely held beliefs in Life run counter to many of the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical rules and regulations currently put forth by the reopening plans. I see them neither in accordance with evidence-based scientific literature, nor in accordance with my belief in Life’s rules which Life has so masterfully adapted and attuned over millions of years of evolutionary development.
However, I welcome the District pondering guidelines that support Life’s inherent self-organizing rules. Life thrives on contact. Ecophilosopher Andy Fisher defines contact as “an activity of ex-change, transaction, meeting, fusion-across-difference, transmission, encounter, or engagement with the world–without which no life or experiencing would be possible” (p. 65). Fisher reminded us of the need to awaken un-activated interactional patterns as an essential recollective practice for the healing of people and the planet.
Again, I appreciate the District’s intention to reopen the campus to help students see each other face-to-face. That’s already a step toward reactivating un-activated interactional patterns. Lockdowns have exacerbated a pattern-poor environment for many of us, leading to physical, emotional, and mental harm. So, now I invite us to take this a step further, to listen within and without and draw from Life’s pattern-rich language to help us re-envision how we might be able to nurture a pattern-rich campus that supports the thriving and flourishing of our precious students.
I believe in Life as a mystery and I am so grateful I get to be part of this mystery during this remarkable time. I am nourished by the con-spiracy of life and the con-spirituality of wholeheartedness.
I am exempting myself from an ideology that I consider to be based on an outdated mechanistic medical and technocratic paradigm that disrupts life’s very own capacity to heal, renew, and co-evolve.
I am embracing the regenerative capacity of Life.
I am inviting us to expand our notions of safety, health, flourishing, and thriving together, in shared inquiry. I invite us to co-create new rules and regulations that are grounded in scientific inquiry and nourished by Life’s very own organizing principles: rules that invite us to re-awaken un-activated interactional patterns together.
2.2) Scientific inquiry
I value shared scientific inquiry. I value science as a process of continuous co-creation and discovery, as a process of adapting, revising, and refining theories and insights based on looking at patterns and trends over time, examining current data signals, and asking open-ended questions. I value open, collaborative discourse in an environment of transparency. I value science as a moving body of knowledge that is always changing and evolving. I consider scientific inquiry to be a form of prayer and contemplation in the service of Life.
I value the scientific method, which includes the process of falsifiability. Falsifiability makes it possible to disprove a theory. Falsifiability requires accurate data signals and a commitment to examine patterns and trends over time. We need opportunities to ask ourselves: “How are we doing” and “How do we know?”
Unfortunately, as my colleague Dr. Julie Ponesse pointed out, the term “science” appears to have become a casualty of the pandemic. Not unlike the term “safety,” I am concerned it is used in a misleading way. Catchy phrases like “The science is settled.” or “Follow the Science” or “Science is Real” are indicative of this term being used to reinforce a dogma or ideology, rather than fostering open-ended collaborative scientific inquiry.
There are many ways I see the scientific method and participatory scientific inquiry currently being violated by these mandates. I will just mention a few:
· We are getting clear data signals that the injection technologies are causing significant harm and that they are essentially a vaccine failure. Any previous injection with this poor safety and efficacy profile would have long been discontinued. Yet, the mandate doesn’t take this into account, thus ignoring the “falsifiability” tenet of the scientific method. As Prof. Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Jessica Rose affirm, Bradford Hill’s criteria for causality have been fulfilled: We have a dangerous mechanism of action; there is a tight temporal relationship to adverse events; there is internal consistency between death and nonfatal events, and there is external consistency between various reporting systems. Hill’s criteria for causality have been ignored by these mandates.
· I am concerned that public health agencies haven’t honored transparency. They have suppressed and stifled dissenting voices. I speak about this in my previous communication to the District. As Prof. Dr. Risch says: “If people can defend their ideas, there is no reason for censorship. Censorship is a tool when the ideas cannot be defended.” Censorship violates Life’s tenets of transparency, networking, mutual accountability, and open information flow.
· Even though available public data signals are alarming enough, the pharmacovigilance system is woefully insufficient to capture the full scope of impacts. In fact, various data reporting systems of multiple aspects of the pandemic are fraught with inconsistencies and corruption. For example, there have not been nearly enough autopsies performed, even though we are seeing so many post-vaccine deaths. Scientific inquiry in the service of Life needs good data. We need this data to make responsible decisions for our students. Otherwise, we run the risk of causing substantial harm.
Here is my vision for a participatory scientific inquiry. Consider it my Credo supporting my Belief in Life, based in the tenets of scientific inquiry. I am sharing these here because I mourn that so many academic colleagues I admire have been labeled as “fringe,” “extremists” or “anti” or ...”deniers”... for following the very same principles that we are generally encouraged to nurture in our students in our critical thinking classes.
I believe in:
· Expanding the boundaries of inquiry
· Looking at the bigger picture
· Thinking outside the box
· Taking a bird’s eye view
· Examining the greater context
· Making meaningful connections between contexts
· Looking at patterns and trends over time
· Considering lessons learned from history
· Drawing on our own life or professional experience that have taught us to consider additional perspectives
· Requesting more information and asking for greater data accuracy and reliability
· Encouraging dialog of different points of view
· Connecting the dots
· Questioning assumptions and mental models underneath the narrative
· Asking “who benefits,” “follow the money” and “vested interests” questions
· Asking questions related to power dynamics and structures of inequality: e.g. Who is exerting influence or has any strings attached to any part of the narrative? Where is scientific research funding or pharma funding coming from?
· Requesting to exercise caution and consider what kind of delayed consequences to never-tried-out, experimental actions there may be
· Considering short-term, long-term, and unintended consequences
· Resisting the urge to come to quick conclusions
· Asking for accountability measures, including a process of establishing meaningful benchmarks and milestones to aid in successive approximation and continuous learning. This requires
· planning for evaluation periods in regular intervals to consider how progress is happening. (“How are we doing, and how do we know how we are doing? What could we be doing better? How can we assure we check in with each other on a regular basis so we don’t get off course and cause unnecessary damage?”).
· setting up transparent tracking and reporting systems to aid stakeholders in obtaining quantitative and qualitative feedback. This requires establishing scientifically accurate and meaningful variables and datasets and continuously re-evaluating the quality of measurement criteria.
As Harvard Prof. Dr. Harvey Risch states: “When you use science to further political or ideological goals, that is not science. That is cherry picking. That is selecting the scientific evidence you want that furthers your goals and rejecting/hiding the evidence that is opposed to your goals. That’s scientism, and that’s what we have been bombarded with for the last year in the name of science. “Follow the science has not been follow the science, it’s been follow the scientism.” (min. 47)
As Dr. Zach Bush states: “Science is in fact defined as an activity an exercise of intellect and methodology applied to advancing understanding. I want to point out the difference between that definition which uses the word understanding, and the word knowledge. We are advancing our understanding of the reality that we live within but at no point does science believe that it has finished the journey and we suddenly have that deep knowledge and we're done and we know everything.”
I am exempting myself FROM the dogma of scientism, and the dogma of safety-ism that I see infiltrating the public health narrative on our campuses.
I am embracing scientific inquiry as a journey of learning and advancing understanding.
Given that we have this unprecedented opportunity now to re-vision coming back to campus in a way that supports everyone’s thriving, I am inviting us to expand our understanding of participatory scientific inquiry, to bring in multiple perspectives (as I suggested during my Board testimony on Sep 18), and to co-create a campus as a flourishing and thriving learning garden.
2.2) Nonviolence and “Do no Harm”
I value nonviolence. I do not wish anyone harm. As an educator, I, too, subscribe to a code of ethics. I have been part of several religious communities based on the values of nonviolence. I consider the vaccination and many of the other pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical mandates a form of physical, mental, and emotional coercion and boundary violation. I have documented this in my previous public letters to the District. Coercion is a form of violence. It’s a form of abuse.
I am joining thousands of health scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and holocaust survivors in stating that these injection mandates constitute a crime against humanity in violation of the Nuremberg code, the Declaration of Helsinki, the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, and multiple other national and global declarations of medical ethics and human rights. I do not wish to be complicit in a crime against humanity. I do not wish harm to our students. I do not wish to be complicit in the injury and death of our students. Data signals clearly show by now that this technology is causing more harm than benefit for all age categories.
I am exempting myself from an ideology that is perpetuating an atmosphere of coercion and violence.
I am embracing an opportunity to learn together, to learn from best practices and lessons learned across the world. I am embracing the opportunity to examine the systemic causes of this public health crisis, including the systemic causes that have led already marginalized populations to be affected even more severely.
I am inviting us to expand our notion of safety and health to include visions of flourishing and thriving, and to consider the impact of these rules on our students: on their capacity to learn and to feel empowered as sovereign beings making their own choices in life, saying no to what has become toxic to them, saying yes to what nourishes them, reaching for the stars together while cheering for each other wholeheartedly.
Now, I invite us to take a deep breath together. Obviously, you do not wish our students harm, either. I know that from the bottom of my heart. So, how is it possible that we are holding such different realities at the same time? What can we learn from the space-in-between us right in this moment?
I value equity, and I recognize that I likely have some blind spots here, as a white European immigrant. I am very concerned how these mandated pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions present an equity issue. Let me point out some areas of concern I see:
Covid-recovered: Many of our students work in the service industry or have been essential workers these past 18 months. They have thus had much greater exposure to Covid in the past. They haven’t had the luxury of staying home during lockdown. Thus, they also have a higher previous Covid infection and therefore Covid-recovery rate. It is well established by now that Covid-recovered individuals not only already have durable immunity, they also run a much higher risk of adverse reactions from the experimental vaccine technologies than those individuals who haven’t had Covid yet. I consider it unfair to unilaterally impose these technologies on our students. I am concerned that this may disproportionately harm our particular student population.
African-American students: I appreciate that it was acknowledged during the Townhall that a vast majority of African Americans nation-wide have not been vaccinated. I invite us to continue exploring together what this means for Peralta. How are African American students at Peralta currently experiencing these mandates? How has this affected access to counseling and other on-campus services? What do student enrollment data suggest at this point? What kind of student surveys has Peralta conducted to assess impact on different student populations?
Second language learners: How are these rules impacting second language learners, particularly how are mask wearing and social distancing impacting language comprehension?
Students with disabilities: How are these rules impacting our students with disabilities? What can we learn from our staff working in Accessibility Services? What feedback have they received in terms of how these rules are impacting our students needing accessibility services? How has this feedback been taken into consideration?
Women and students of child-bearing age: I would love for our younger generations to be able to follow their dreams, including to have biological children if they wish to. There are very concerning data signals regarding fertility, and many of the implications are still simply unknown. How has this been taken into consideration? I consider this an equity issue. I do not want our future generations to be at a disadvantage in terms of being able to have children.
Nursing mothers: Many of our students are young mothers, many likely nursing mothers. There have been some concerning data signals of babies having adverse reactions through their mothers’ breastmilk. How has the impact on nursing mothers been taken into consideration?
Students with comorbidities have higher incidences of severe adverse reactions to the experimental injections, as I have pointed out before. How has this been considered for our particular student population?
Student athletes: Many of our student athletes are black and brown students. Incidents of heart inflammation after receiving the injection are truly alarming in young males, and I am concerned how this will impact their future. Please, take a look at these four compilations of student athletes who have already died or been harmed:
and have a look at this recently published scientific paper in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology documenting VAERS data on heart inflammation following the injections.
Since there are safe and effective treatments available that do not pose the significant risk that these experimental technologies present, have you thought about giving students the option to practice preventive care instead? Have you thought about distributing prevention and early treatment kits, as they have done in other countries? For all the students who have good reason not to be injected, this would offer additional protection. It would contribute to greater protection for the campus at large.
Students who have medical or religious exemptions; current or prospective unvaccinated students: I am concerned that mandates could foster a climate of discrimination, especially since faculty, according to announcements at the recent Townhall, will be given the information who is exempt and who isn’t. I expressed my concerns about discrimination, segregation, and dehumanization in my three previous testimonies. I am concerned that the mandates will discourage unvaccinated students from seeking on-campus student support, impacting their student success. I am concerned the mandates will discourage unvaccinated students from continuing with their studies. I am concerned that these mandates will discourage unvaccinated prospective students from enrolling. Again, what efforts has the District made to solicit feedback from students?
3) Please provide any additional information that you think may be helpful in processing your religious accommodation request
I do not want to be complicit in a crime against humanity. Based on available data signals, as I have pointed out in my three testimonies, I am concerned the policy will contribute to destroying many our very students’ lives. As Prof. Dr. Peter McCullough stated at a recent presentation to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons: “The disability that we are going to see due to these vaccines will go down in history as an unbelievable atrocity.” He also quoted a former executive of the American Medical Association warning that we have the biggest biological catastrophe on our hands in human history with a medicinal product. I cannot, on the one hand, support my students in reaching for the stars, and on the other hand be complicit in a policy that harms them.
I invite you to drop into your heart and touch into what you most deeply love. I invite you to think about your children, nephews, nieces, and other young beings you love. I imagine you would love for them to reach for the stars, to follow their dreams. Perhaps they would love to start families of their own and have biological children some day. Perhaps they would love to become athletes. Surely you would want them to be physically healthy and strong. Based on available data signals, the experimental injections potentially jeopardize all of these dreams for our very own children. Too many students have already suffered and died from adverse reactions after having received the injections. In fact, these injections are destroying more lives than they save, for all age categories. It just breaks my heart, and I feel it is wrong.
Tell me, what would you do if you were in my shoes, when the college you have served and loved is now going down a path of, perhaps unintentionally, harming its very own students? Whoever reads this at the District, what is arising in you as you hear me share from the bottom of my heart? Again, I am happy to complete this semester. After that, I don’t think I will be able to continue, based on my sincerely held beliefs in Life, my grounding in scientific inquiry, my values of nonviolence, and my commitment to equity.
Now, I invite us to come back to the quote we started with and drop in the space in-between together. I am noticing that, for myself, just having expressed these different possibilities of reframing this challenge we are facing, I am feeling more expanded inside. I am feeling some more spaciousness around my heart.
Before I end, I invite us to take a moment to envision a campus together that is based on the values of flourishing and thriving. I invite us to try that on: Instead of “health and safety,” which are terms that are now so loaded with different meanings, how about “flourishing and thriving.” What might that look like? I invite us to take a moment and drop into our hearts and give gratitude for Life that has brought us together to engage via this submission form.
I invite us to give gratitude to our amazing bodies and the countless life processes that have contributed to us being able to take a breath together, right here, right now—life processes we may never fully understand but which we can appreciate as Life’s mystery that is co-conspiring with us moment to moment.
Now, I invite us to envision a campus that is flourishing and thriving for everyone.
Here are some ideas that are bubbling up for me:
- I am envisioning wellness clinics on campus (an expansion of the vaccination clinic concept). What if we had raffles for Vitamix juicers and exercise bikes? What if the wellness clinics gave away Vitamin C, D, ivermectin, and oxygen meters?
- How about workshops on wellness to specifically address the risk factors of Covid and the systemic causes of this public health crisis?
- How about a medicinal garden as part of the campus garden?
- How about a series of decentralized learning communities exploring the systemic causes of the pandemic and their interrelationships with some of our other most pressing global problems, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and toxic overload of our air, water, and soil?
- How about Peralta contributing to the growing global grassroots research on co-creating a flourishing and thriving world together?
- How about a global student exchange program where students from different regions get to learn about each others’ creative approaches to flourishing and thriving together during these dynamically unfolding times?
- What is your vision of Peralta Community College District as a network of decentralized but interconnected learning gardens or forests? What living edges can you envision? What nourishing boundaries?
- What guidelines would support the flourishing and thriving of Peralta right now, guidelines in the service of Life?
- What new ideas are arising for you? I’d love to know!
Many blessings. May you flourish and thrive. May our campuses flourish and thrive. May our world flourish and thrive. May all beings experience peace and healing.
This is my religious belief protected under title VII of the civil rights act of 1964.
P.S.: This accommodation request was denied by Peralta, yet it is granted by Life.
And Invitation to Co-Conspire in the School of Life
If you are a student, staff member, or faculty in a formal educational institution, I invite you to appreciate the many lessons the school of Life has taught you, within and outside the boundaries of an institution. I invite you to remind yourself of your inherent worth that you were born with. No academic degree can give expression to your inherent worth. You are valued by Life, just as you are.
I invite you to consider that Life has endowed you with discernment boundaries as your natural gate-keeping functions. You were born with survival instincts and have developed a capacity to navigate Life’s winding journey based on a multitude of experiences. I honor your choice what to take in and what to keep out. I honor your own knowing as your human right. I honor your instincts as essentials messengers guiding your life.
Life thrives on yeses and noes, and we get to participate in the dance of saying “yes” and “no” every day. Boundaries are beautiful. With every step we take in life, we choose. As a relational species, life has endowed us with a capacity to care and extend our hands and hearts, across these boundaries. With every step we take in life, we get to choose with care, for ourselves, and for others.
If you are feeling heartbroken over the response of our academic institutions to this public health challenge, please know that I am heartbroken with you. I celebrate your courage to feel, to grieve, to cry. The word “courage” comes from the French root “coeur,” which means heart. As systems scholar Joanna Macy states: “The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe.” I am so grateful to be learning, alongside with you all, in this beautiful school called Life.
If you are in inquiry, like me, how to respond to these challenges right now, I invite you to reach out. Every day I wake up with new ideas for learning gardens, learning forests, learning mangroves, and learning oceans in the service of Life. I strongly feel Life’s calling for decentralized yet globally networked schools of flourishing and thriving. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to co-conspire with you in the con-spiracy called the School of Life.