Growing up, my parents — my mother in particular — always spoke of the importance of a liberal arts education that spanned from the cradle to the grave. They consistently challenged their children to learn whether through our schoolwork and recreational reading or through experiences-–- visiting churches and museums, traveling, volunteering, working or watching the nightly news. As the four of us have gotten older, our passion for learning, for having new experiences, and for trying to see things from a multitude of perspectives has not diminished.
At 40 I embarked on a transformational journey of sorts. I accepted a transfer to my then-employer’s new satellite office in Los Angeles. Though I had only seen Los Angeles from a taxi to and from the airport and knew virtually no one here, I knew that it would be a rewarding experience both professionally and personally. After a few years in Pasadena, I started attending All Saints and getting more involved with several of the church’s ministries –- the Women’s Community and later with Transformational Journeys.
This is a piece that the Dalai Lama reads each morning – to me it perfectly sums up why I was attracted to the Transformational Journeys ministry.
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly of others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
My first Transformational Journey was an all day trip to Manzanar for the Spring Pilgrimage. For this lifelong East Coast resident, this was a real eye opener. Until I moved here, I knew little about the Japanese internment camps in the United States nor did I know much about the “enemy alien” experience here in the United States during World War II. I learned much that day and knew that I wanted to read more about the internment camps and to learn about those who were marginalized and interned during the War. I also knew that I wanted to go on as many other Transformational Journeys as I could, whether here in Southern California or overseas. Since going on that first TJ in the spring of 2013, I have been on three other local TJs and to China in April 2015.
Don’t be surprised if you see me on future TJs. I hope that you too are inspired to go on a TJ. Whether your journey is via the Gold Line to Learning Works in Boyle Heights and to Homeboy Industries or to Cuba or to …. ????
Whoever you are and wherever your transformation journey takes you, I assure you that you will have a wonderful journey and be enlightened and transformed just as I have been.
For more information on the Transformational Journeys Ministry call Ada Ramirez at 626.583.2734