The Natural World
Join us this December as we discover how nature can be a catalyst for healing.
Nature is a source for growth and transformation, a wellspring for medicine that can help us raise our consciousness, relieve anxiety, and heal our souls. This series introduces plant medicine, psychedelics, and energy practices to aid us in a search for comfort, connection, and self-knowledge.
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December 21st, 2022
How can we grow, transform, or heal through the ancestral wisdom of plants in medicine, ceremony, and art? A diverse group of leaders from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities will be in conversation about access to plants and nature and their critical role in maintaining wellness, moving through grief, and spiritual transformation. Speakers include land steward Emanuel H. Brown who will reflect on the creation of a rural retreat center serving as a refuge for seeding, growing, and applying healing justice rooted in the Black Diaspora; curandera/florist Shayai Lucero (Acoma Pueblos/Laguna Pueblo) will share how her background in Indigenous healing has informed her work in floral design for life cycle events, including funerary tributes; and Carlos Plazola, co-founder and board chair of Decriminalize Nature, will share how his path towards healing led him to advocate for the legalization of entheogenic (psychedelic) plants and fungi.
Emanuel H. Brown (he/him) is a Black Caribbean Trans-Masculine Land Steward and Executive Director for Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom. Emanuel has a Master’s of Social Work with a focus on community mental health and has trained in multiple schools of somatic practice. As an Embodied Freedom Practitioner, Emanuel uses new/old healing, art, and spiritual technology to invite people into freedom as a daily practice. A work he calls “HEARTS Justice”, his approach gained the attention of numerous institutions and movement spaces over the last 6 years. He has been invited as facilitator, panelist, and curator by Auburn Seminary, Faith Matters Network, Allied Media Conference, St. Luis University Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, National Sexual Assault Conference, Resonance Network, and Facing Race. A creative in his own right Emanuel's voice challenges people to integrate a pro-Black and Trans*-affirming stance within wellness and healing spaces and create new narratives of Blackness. He has authored works found in the Deconstructionist Playbook: An Anthology, Women’s Studies Quarterly: Black Love, and The Gender Affirmative Model: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Children. Emanuel loves to share his ideas on freedom and has been a featured guest on podcasts and web series What's the Big Idea?!, TransLash Podcast, and Justice is Essential. Emanuel has been honored as a Senior Fellow for Pop Culture Collaborative, Southern Healing Star Awardee, and is currently a fellow for The Reverb online magazine. You can learn more about his work at emanuelhbrown.com and on IG @emanuelhbrown.
Shayai Lucero was born and raised on the reservations of the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna. In 2008, Shayai graduated from the UNM with a BS degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. It took Shayai 16 years from high school graduation to finish college. However, during that time she was Miss Indian World (1997), Executive Assistant for the All Indian Pueblo Council, and was the Tribal Liaison for Native Visions Arts and Communications. Upon graduating, Shayai became an entrepreneur with the purchase of a floral shop.
As owner of Earth & Sky Floral Designs, Shayai learned the art of floristry to eventually become the main floral designer at Earth & Sky. She is always learning floral design elements and techniques to create her own floral style with Native American elements. In 2019, Shayai was commissioned by the FBI to create the “Native Warriors Wreath.” She’s been featured in floral industry magazines such as Florists Review, Bust Magazine, Hunker Magazine, and most recently New Mexico Magazine. Shayai has competed and received honors in floral competitions such as the Mid-America Cup Invitational Floral Design (2019), the South African Flower Union Virtual Flower Show (2020), the PHILosophy Floral Design Contest (2021) and the New Mexico State Fair (2022).
Shayai is also a knowledge keeper of the medicinal plants of Acoma and Laguna. She began studying Pueblo traditional medicinal plants when she was 13 years old. She also published a book on medicinal plants (1997). In 2005, Shayai received a Certificate in Traditional Mexican Healing from the La Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, el Centro de Desarrollo Humano hacia la Communidad, A.C. and UNM.
Shayai is the daughter of Stanley and Cecelia Lucero. Her brothers are Haitsi and the late Payadyamu. She is the wife of Aaron Fry and the mother of two children, Kaweshchima and Maityaitsa.
“Being a Native American floral designer has made people in the art industry refocus on what truly is Native American art. I have been told by other artists, organizations, and art shows that what I create is not “real Native American art.” Sometimes those in the floral industry have given a similar response. But I am used to navigating difficult spaces and I just work harder to create floral art… to prove them wrong. Since the medium I work with has a short lifespan, I have to work quickly. And sometimes the product doesn’t want to behave. These flowers and greens were a living plant prior to coming to me as a cut product. Their plant souls and mine just have to learn to work together to create a bespoke design before they are returned to the Earth. Being a floral artist has allowed me to convey my Pueblo heritage into a piece of art that can be fleeting as time.” – Shayai Lucero
Carlos Plazola is the child of an Indigenous farmer from rural Jalisco and a powerful and loving Mexican woman who raised three children as a single parent. He grew up surrounded by struggle, but also by a loving Chicano/Mexican community that taught him how to stand upright in the face of adversity.
At seven, the death of a family member introduced him to the paradox of zero and the infinite. He spent the next 40 years trying to reconcile this contradiction where the universe is infinite, but death looms large over our personal narratives. Several mushroom and ayahuasca journeys in 2018 and 2019 enabled him to reconcile this seeming contradiction, overcome childhood trauma, and discover his healing path.
From 1989 to 1993, Carlos studied biology and anthropology at UCLA to understand the mechanisms of life. In 1993, He lived with the Achuar of Ecuador to connect with the sacred. From 1993 to 1995, he studied Environmental Science at Yale to understand the human impact on Earth’s ecosystems.
Upon graduating from Yale with a Master’s in Environmental Science, he came to a fork in the road: pursue a prestigious resume or hit the streets and become an organizer. He chose the latter. To learn the tools of creating social change, he worked as a community organizer in the 1990s. To learn the tools of legislating and political organizing, he worked as a congressional aide, chief of staff to a councilmember, and ran political campaigns throughout the 2000s.
Today Carlos builds housing in Oakland, which keeps him grounded, while volunteering as Chair of the Board of the Decriminalize Nature, an organization he co-founded.
Carlos has been married for 26 years and has three loving children who are constantly teaching him.
About Table Talk
We recognize that marginalized communities and cultures -- Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian American, Disabled, LGBTQ+, etc. -- have their own unique perspectives and shared truths. All of these groups face tremendous challenges in dealing with serious illness, dying, grief, discrimination. And there is a shared need for platforms to talk about these issues freely in order to connect, learn, heal, remember, and take action.
While individual Table Talks are developed by and for specific communities, we recognize that often these groupings are permeable. Many of us describe more than one group as “home,” and many of us have experienced oppression based on multiple aspects of our intersecting identities: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and more.
Reimagine invites people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen and learn at Table Talk. Ultimately we are creating space rooted in the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in order for everyone to thrive.
Table Talk is made possible with support from the Fetzer Institute and the John and Wauna Harman Foundation.
Track:Wellness, Spirituality, Environment, Social Justice & Race,
December 14th, 2022
Indigenous understandings and a deeper relationship with the natural world point us to deeper understandings of our relationship to growth and transformation. For example, visionary writer Gloria Anzaldúa interpreted the concept of Nepantla, an indigenous Nahuatl word, as a "liminal space where you are not this or that... but where you are in a kind of transition... in the midst of transformation." Join Brenda Salgado in conversation with author and scholar AnaLouise Keating to discuss her recent article, Nepantla Lessons for Transformation. After the discussion, Brenda will lead guided Toltec breath and energy practices to support you in connecting with the natural world and Mother Earth, lovingly asking for her assistance in releasing what is no longer needed, and calling in the rebirth and growth that is calling you forward.
"Only when you emerge from the dead with soul intact can you honor the visions you dreamed in the depths. In the deep fecund cave of gestation lies not only the source of your woundedness and your passion, but also the promise of inner knowledge, healing, and spiritual rebirth (the hidden treasures), waiting for you to bear them to the surface."
– Gloria Anzaldúa
AnaLouise Keating, professor of multicultural women's & gender studies at Texas Woman's University, is the author, most recently, of The Anzaldúan Theory Handbook and Transformation Now! Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change. She worked with Gloria Anzaldúa for the last decade of Anzaldúa’s life, editing her Interviews/Entrevistas and co-editing, with Anzaldúa, this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. Since Anzaldúa’s death, Keating has edited several of Anzaldúa's books including Light in the Dark/Luz en lo oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality. AnaLouise's academic work focuses on transformation studies, womanist spiritual activism, post-oppositional thought, multicultural pedagogies, and U.S. women-of-colors theories. She is also a certified yoga instructor (ERYT-500) and teaches Yin yoga several times each week.
Brenda Salgado is founder of Nepantla Consulting and is in the process of establishing the Nepantla Land Trust, and the Nepantla Center for Healing and Renewal. She holds degrees in Biology (BA), Developmental Psychology (BA), and Animal Behavior (MS). Brenda is an author, public speaker, facilitator, teacher, healer, and organizational consultant. She has over 20 years of experience in transformative leadership development, nonprofit management, spiritual teaching, movement building, women’s health, and environmental and social justice.
Brenda has received training from indigenous elders in traditional medicine and healing ceremony. Trained by teachers in the Purepecha, Xochimilco, Toltec and other indigenous lineages, Brenda draws on the healing powers of the natural world to guide her work.
Brenda's first edited book, Real World Mindfulness for Beginners: Navigate Daily Life One Practice at a Time, was written particularly for those who are new to mindfulness. It includes a collection of short mindfulness practices and guidance from 10 of the most trusted mindfulness teachers in the country that will help you navigate anxiety and stress, anger and hurt, grief and loss, and more. As she was working on this book, Brenda expressed her commitment to including diverse chapter authors, and authors serving and bringing mindfulness into diverse and social justice communities.
Brenda currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Charis Foundation for New Monasticism & InterSpirituality. In the past, she has served as the Director of the East Bay Meditation Center, considered by many to be one of the most diverse Buddhist Sanghas in the country and a model of gift economy and collective leadership. She has also served as Associate Director at Wisdom & Money, and as a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, and on the boards of Movement Strategy Center, Lion’s Roar Foundation, and Unity Church of San Leandro.
She is also the founder of Moons Rising Women’s Circle, and has taught, facilitated and led ceremony at numerous gatherings, including Rites of Passage 20/20 Vision, Bioneers, Mindful Life Conference, The Future of Religion and Interspirituality, Science and Nonduality Conference, Commonweal, We Will Dance with Mountains, WisdomWomen, Wild Woman Project, Fairy Congress, and more. She has also brought her teachings and ceremony to foundations and organizations such as Decolonizing Wealth Project, CODE2040, California Institute of Integral Studies, SF Department of Public Health, Genentech, The Ford Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and the Latino Community Foundation, among others.
Her current projects are focused on transformational leadership, sacred economics, reconnecting others to remembrance and relationship with the land, mindfulness practices that draw from multiple traditions, ceremony for ancestral healing and collective transformation, and the weaving of mindfulness and indigenous teachings for understanding the times we are in as a human family. She is committed to co creating a society filled with wholeness and beauty. Brenda is grateful to her ancestors for the values that have led her to spirituality, healing, and transformative leadership development.
Track:Wellness, Spirituality, Environment,
December 7th, 2022
Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils throughout the pandemic in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. Tonight's program will include a conversation with environmental activist, Matt Deen. The Vigil kicks off Reimagine’s December series that explores the natural world through the lens of post-traumatic growth.
About Matt Deen
Matt Deen (he/they) is Pastor of Newfane Congregational Church in Newfane, Vermont, and of Marlboro Meeting House, a seasonal worship community in Marlboro, VT. He also serves on the programming team at Auburn Theological Seminary, focused on congregational engagement and public theology. Prior to joining Auburn, Matt served as a Community Minister for Judson Memorial Church, where he co-facilitated an ecological grief support group called Extinction Resilience. Matt graduated in May 2020 with a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, where his work focused on constructive ecotheology and animal liberation. With Reimagine in 2020, Matt co-facilitated "From Death to Breath", a community ritual to breathe life into our collective losses including COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
Reimagine hosts community-driven experiences that bring creativity, connection, and essential conversation to face adversity, loss, and mortality, and channel the hard parts of life into meaningful action and growth. Reimagine envisions a world where we can embrace life fully—from this moment through the end—and collectively contribute to a more just and compassionate society. Reimagine experiences encompass arts + entertainment, healthcare + social services, spirituality + religion, and Innovation + design.
Type:Ritual & Ceremony, Talk, Panel, & Conversation, Community Gathering, Celebration & Remembrance,