“It Takes a Village” — Why We Need Each Other

I’ve always been one to lean into community spaces. Perhaps it was my being raised in a big family of grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws that made me value the bustle of people making food together, sharing updates, and looking out for ways to playfully interact and accommodate one another. 

When I moved to Santa Cruz, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in new creative communities. Dance and yoga, theater and performance, herbalism and natural medicine, the healing arts and metaphysics. Then there were the gardeners and farmers, naturalists and environmentalists who were part of a movement that felt antithetical to what the larger world was adhering to. So many out-of-the-box options to discover and learn more about.

When I became a mother I learned how midwifery and feminism were one and the same in a lot of ways. It was extraordinary to learn about ecofeminism which combined the idea that as the earth was being ravaged and disrespected, so have women been going through the same experience.

These communities and conversations sparked my passions, instigated ideas, and made me want to be a part of something bigger than myself.

In my personal pursuits of changing the world, I decided that I wanted to begin taking women backpacking. My own backpacking experiences, both as a young woman and an adult, had transformed me so tremendously and I wanted others to have the same transformative experience.

I took out a group of friends and a few of my cousins. I took my own kids and my brother’s family. My dad had taught me to backpack originally so when I led these trips, a few of which he was included in, I shared my new skills and improvements in packing and planning meals and gear with him. I had begun to create my own community around the outdoors and backpacking which extended into a rite of passage program for teen girls. I continued to lead these trips which eventually led me to more and more communities.

I received my training to take youth and groups backpacking through Bay Area Wilderness Training, a local non-profit. I later offered workshops at The Association for Experiential Education, a national organization that continues to hold a yearly conference. Boys to Men and Girls to Women invited me to participate in a training program with the intention of bringing mentorship for young people to schools around the North and East bays. It was always a gift to find like-minded individuals and groups who felt the same inspirations and passions as I did.

Working in the healing arts field, I became close friends with acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, nutritionists, ayurvedic practitioners, and integrative medical doctors who wanted to extend health care to include a broader spectrum than what was standardly offered in western medicine practice. I shared clinics and centers with really enthusiastic people who believed strongly in what they offered and continued to study and research new aspects of what they already knew so much about.

I’ve come to discover that when I immerse myself in communities that resonate with my heart, the world feels more supportive of who I am becoming and where I want to be headed next. When I know I’m not alone, the adversity of my ideas doesn’t consistently wash over me. The wind is pushing me forward and there is more evidence for my success instead of staring down the barrel of the impending challenges.

Three women in a community in Santa Cruz

If you are looking into beginning something new or diving deeper into something you’d like to be offering on a broader scale, I encourage you to lean into community. This is why I host events.

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