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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Big Sur

  The empty blue sky of space says 'All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don't care, it still belongs to me.' 
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Spring Break 2014:
A time where most Prescott College students take full advantage of, and head off on road trips to Joshua Tree for climbing, Colorado for snowboarding and skiiing, Lake Havasu for recreation, or, like myself, the California shores.

 Now, we stopped in several places before and after we made it to Big Sur, but nothing really holds a candle to it, so I'm just going to fast forward!

The part of me that's romantic for the world and all it's wonders has been infatuated with even just the idea of a road trip to the glorious Pacific, particularly the central/north coast, where you venture away from hoards of people and towards full immersion into the stunning Santa Lucia Mountains. 

These mountains are what make Big Sur so beautiful. They cut sharply and steeply in, and the waves just crash like orchestral cymbals! 

For the Spanish-speaking connoisseurs out there, Big Sur is derived from "el sur grande," meaning the Big South. This is in reference to its location south of the Monterrey Peninsula, yet another breathtaking place I'll probably end up going to next spring break....

Anyway, with our car packed full of camping gear, food, and restlessness, we set out to Big Sur, arriving on a Wednesday afternoon. We claimed the very last spot at a campsite called Kirk Creek in the Los Padres National Forest, and promptly set up camp, made some dinner, and eagerly awaited sunset. 

When sunset came, we weren't even remotely prepared for the incredible color spectacle that is the only result of sun, sea, and a lack of outside interference. 

We also made some friends that night, a couple fellow campers, and threw together a make-shift party, celebrating the luck and life of the moment! (Let me have my romanticism..)

In my time camping, I've found that in the morning, when the sun's up, I'm up. So after a short night's sleep, I rustled together some breakfast for the group, and started getting ready for the day. 

Now come's my favorite part: actually going in (sort of) to the mighty ocean. 

So check this out: 

This is your typical "beach" at Big Sur... Not really sand so much as rocks.. lots and lots of sharp rocks, in fact... and not to mention that this is at the base of a cliff!

Basically it's kind of a moderately risky situation to think about coming here. If only I had a picture of the waves crashing over those rocks, that were literally fifteen feet above my head!

So what do I and my friend do?

We climb up!

We climbed up that rock in the middle, all the way to the top, and sat there in silence as waves crashed over us and around us. It was beautiful, honestly, and in those moments there was literally nothing else on my mind. 

You see, that's what places like this do to you-- they cleanse you and purify you, they release your negativity and allow you to be and to breathe. 

In an amazing array and combination of sense and element, I felt renewed. The waves, the sun, the wind, the rock... it all came together and allowed me to feel pure euphoria, even if just for our short time there. I cling to those moments, and that's what makes me such a romantic-- I seek more of them, more places that give me that and more people to share them with. 

So call me a romantic, a dreamer, whatever name you can think of, I'm in love with the world and I don't really mind all that much. It's too incredible to not experience. 

 Something good will come out of all things yet--And it will be golden and eternal just like that--
There's no need to say another word.
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

--Steph Doss

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Break '98... Woooo Hoooo!

The air is full of pollen and excitement for the spring bloom to happen... and college students who very much appreciate a quickly approaching spring break, which is happening only 3 weeks after the semester has begun. Alas, the campus will be as still as the night next week, and aside the fantastic exception of the Farmers' Market that's held every Saturday from 10-2, students and faculty will have plenty of time to adjust to family members and friends express their concern about losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings (which happens on March 9th at 2am for everyone in the US except for Arizona and Hawaii). Some of us will travel, visit that ol' familiar place that brings us peace, or some place completely new and exciting. Some of us will stay, and for those that do, here's some ideas if you want to go out and play in the community:

* Events at PC
Community Calendar of Events
* ...and some more events Here!

Need some alone time? Or looking to explore somewhere new with friends? Check out This Page for some local trails that you can easily access on your bicycle for some solid day hikes. Rather go climbing? Mountain Project has some great beta on solid local areas. Sometimes, all I need is a solid Bike Ride to keep me in check, and there's some great areas to check out.

What else? If you haven't checked it out yet, check out the new releases @ Frontier Village and use your student i.d. to score a discounted ticket and relax in some reclining leather seats (it's fantastic). Peregrine Book Company is also hosting some intriguing discussions and their book selection is out of this World! If you're looking to revamp for spring on a budget, Prescott has some of the best thrift stores that I've had the pleasure of supporting, so check them out Here!

Have a wonderful Spring Break, everyone!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Who's Writing Your (His)story?

For my senior project two years ago, I began researching inwardly and reflecting on the question, “how do you create balance in your life?” This question came to me through the process of journaling, and conversing with close friends. I came to find that listening to the community of friends and acquaintances around me, they were also experiencing similar situations and questions in their lives. This made researching more potent as I journeyed to find the multitudinous answers that comprise this query.
As I began to focus more intently on the question at hand, I found myself gathering friends to walk with me on this expedition into investigating our own, individual livelihoods and how they comprised myriads of ways to pondering and implementing a practice to bring more balance into our lives. We met four hours a week as I facilitated them through improvisational theater and dance scores which we used to open up our minds, hearts and bodies to further explore and deepen our group dynamic as well as our personal journey...alone, together.
What we came to find as a group were different stories relating back to what we find fulfilling and how we get the fulfillment we need from friends, lovers, family, nature and ourselves. Through meeting twice a week, as a group we started to discover the dynamics between us, and characters began to emerge. A story based on personal life experiences was reinterpreted through dance, music and dialogue. The story came out of a calling for finding my center, my agency, my voice, and developing a performance around our personal and collective struggles as a group. Though I cannot say the original question was answered, it was explored through movement and dialogue, while opening up spaces that are not necessarily open for investigation in the meandering of everyday living.
The process was a fulfilling experience, encompassing dark, sad, humorous and mundane moments in a human’s life. The art of balance is a pendulum in constant swing, and researching this question through my and other peoples lived experiences was a profound connecting piece of exploring myself more thoroughly and looking at the world around me in different perspectives.  
Now I am currently in the Social Justice and Human Rights Masters Program. This program seeks to educate students on why environmental, economic, political, and social inequalities exist and and how ordinary people can make change. Learning histories of globalization is a major component to understanding how the United States, as well as the continuing globalization of the world, creates and recreates our society and how it is presently situated. I've been re-learning and re-imagining research as other scholars enlighten me in their respective disciplines. One author, Linda Tuhiwai Smith is an indigenous scholar who positions herself around critically examining Western research. The idea that history has a starting point, which is to say the history I learned, “1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue” claims that peoples histories didn’t exist and weren’t important until other people ‘discovered’ them.
The notion of a linearly structured history, is a strategy for creating a dominant culture, the dominant therefore being Western, and the subordinate being indigenous peoples who see their own history reflected through a Westernized lens. From this vantage point, Tuhiwai Smith  describes and advocates for a process of decolonizing research, which is founded in the understanding that systems of western knowledge production are both product and instrument of imperialism. She explains that there are many methodologies to decolonize the typical Western framework where we see that the Western archives of research have predominantly come from colonizers observations, telling and sharing indigenous histories that aren’t theirs to share.
Instead of taking ultimate validity or truth from what has been shared (or I would argue, told) with us through Western paradigms, we can begin to question the claims that have been made, and ultimately ask ourselves, "who has been writing our history?"  "why have they chosen to write it this way?" We can then continue to think and act in ways that support ongoing movements for decolonization, rather than perpetuating imperialism.
From the examples above, I am learning how to critically examine, analyze question and reflect on stories around me while continuing to find threads of resonance in the knowledge I will shortly be producing. There are many methods for researching, and my hope is that we can learn to understand and participate in research methods that are born from and accountable to decolonizing movements, which then serves purposes for alternative knowledge, and therefore alternative ways of living and doing things (p.34). There isn’t just one perspective of history, and together we can help those whose stories have been silenced, and rewrite, I mean reright the histories that have been fragmented (Tuhiwai Smith, p.28, 1999).

Which method will inform my research?!

Jennifer Iadevaia