This post is part of a series highlighting alums Erica Hocking and Sherry Gobaleza’s six-week pilgrimage on the Colorado Trail. Learn more about the pilgrimage here. They are asking people to give to Naropa in honor of their pilgrimage – all donations go towards scholarships for Naropa students.
Below, learn more about Sherry how her Naropa education impacts her life and work today:
Hello! My name is Sherry Gobaleza and I am a two time Naropa Alumna (BA Interdisciplinary Studies and MA Transpersonal Psychology) and registered psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
My Naropa education has been an integral part of my personal and spiritual growth. I am grateful to many of my teachers and mentors who have supported my journey at Naropa and beyond.
This pilgrimage has been inspired by my class with Dr. Jeanine Canty on Indigenous Environmental Issues, where we studied the impact of globalization specifically around mining. In her class, we launched a letter writing campaign in solidarity with an organization called Cultural Survival and the Didipio people in my homeland in the Philippines. Her class reinforced the importance of action and service with contemplative practice. Dr. Canty’s words have stayed with me throughout the years. Now as a Ph.D. student, my Naropa education continues to inform my way of being in the world.
As part of my Ph.D. annual fieldwork, I will be hiking with my partner and co-researcher Erica Hocking and my service dog Nala. We will be highlighting environmental issues of mining within our local community and connecting the global issues to my ancestral homelands in the Philippines. I will be addressing the issues from my social location as a survivor of genocide, colonization and someone who lives with a disability. We will be sitting near mines and offer ceremony and ritual to the ancestors of the land. I will specifically practice my family’s lineage of martial art “Ma Paya Pang Paraan.” Through this form, I will be sensing place and interacting with the many plants and animals living in these areas. We will be recording our dreams and bodily sensations. We will listen to the many voices that may come from the more than human world.
My Naropa education is line with my Filipino value of kapwa. Kapwa is a Filipino word symbolizing the act of acknowledging and honoring the inherent beauty and goodness reflected in self and other, such that self and other dissolve; no separation exists between any aspect of life and the self. Upholding kapwa, it is my sacred duty to train in martial arts and with an open heart, engage social injustice. My spiritual foundation has pulled me into a professional realm of counseling where I am fulfilling my responsibility to affect change – not only with the individual client, but in turn, with whomever that individual may touch. This was a gift given to me, my heart song, and through the vital work of counseling, kapwa comes to life.