Hello everyone! Well, this is my very first adventure in blogging. I am not sure if the world needs yet another blogger, another blog, more things to read on the internet, but I have been thinking, what the heck?!  As many great thinkers, past and present, have written, it does us and others no good to live our lives small.  So, here I am, living out loud, living my life boldly, by putting stuff out there: my thoughts, my musings about my life in Pollock Pines with our now 8 animals, and my path from the darkness of alcoholism to the light of sobriety, and a slow, loving, compassionate process of spiritual awakening.  On that, to me, enlightenment, or a Great Awakening, is more or less a journey of the soul, not a final destination.  Many of us are a part of the wider evolutionary process of expanding out our consciousness.  But, to be honest, I do not think we reach an end point.  It is kind of like death.  When we die, we begin again, and again and again and again.  At least that is how things look on my map of the world.  Not right, not wrong.  It just “is.”

So, to tell you a little about who I am and why I have decided to create this blog…. Okay, well, for starters, I am a Professor of Criminal Justice in the Division of Criminal Justice at California State University, Sacramento, where I have been teaching since 1999.  It was my first real job, and I have decided to keep it.  I left for a brief period of time to try out what life was like in an “8 to 5” State kind of job, but that was not working for me.  I am a “color outside the lines” kind of grrl; I like my flexibility, and I do not appreciate having someone breathing down my neck, more interested in whether I am 1 or 2 minutes late than my progress on the project.  So, I left that after 6 months to return to university life where I felt more at home.  I love working with students, seeing them grow and learn, and then finally graduate.  Sure, the job market is not “all that” right now, but things are cyclical, as I believe, and the jobs will be there when the time is right for the graduates to enter them.  I also enjoy working with my colleagues in various capacities, whether it is research, personnel issues, assessment, our graduate program, and on and on and on.  Though it can be stressful, university employment has served me well, and the bottom line is that I really have no complaints about it.  Well, I COULD complain, but what good would THAT do?  Well… hey, maybe that is why I am blogging! Haha!

Right now, I am on sabbatical for the entire Spring 2011 semester, and I have to say… why did not do this sooner??!!  We faculty can apply for a sabbatical after 6 years, so typically, once one becomes tenured and then promoted to Associate Professor, one will go on sabbatical.  Well, my version of that sabbatical was to take a professional leave of absence and work for the great State of California, to which I alluded to above.  I worked for 6 months as a Research Analyst II for the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, beginning in February 2005.  I had recently become sober in July 2004, and thought for some reason that this job was “my destiny;” it was “meant to be.”  Well… not exactly.  Suffice it to say, it did not work out, but I learned A LOT: about myself, about working in a state office, being a state employee, what “8-5” feels and looks like (not my kind of ‘art’), and I learned all about methamphetamine and other drugs, drug treatment programs and databases and the like.  So, all in all, it was a great learning experience.  I also met some really wonderful people in that department and in my office!

For this current, and real, sabbatical, I am working on a manuscript which I plan to submit to a peer review journal sometime in the spring.  It focuses on animals as victims and their absence from the field of victimology and past and current victimology texts.  More on this later in another post, but that is what I am working on… for the most part.  With this sabbatical, I also have time for other pursuits, more spiritual in nature, which I am truly enjoying.  I will also elaborate on this in another post, but I am currently taking courses to become a Licensed Religious Science Practitioner, or spiritual counselor, which I find to be a more accessible term.  I feel as though that this is my true calling in life and did not realize it until sometime in April 2009 when I began searching for a place, a church or center, I could call my spiritual home.  After some searching in the El Dorado County area, I found Mountainside Center for Spiritual Living, and ever since coming to that Center and meeting the minister and people there, my life has not been the same.  I am now on their Board of Trustees and volunteer every Sunday in some capacity.  I just love it.  The “religion” is Science of Mind (or Religious Science), which is a faith, a philosophy, and a way of life according to founder Ernest Holmes.  It supports the notion of Oneness, that we all may be on different paths but are headed to the same Source (Many Paths, One God).  Anyway, for me, this teaching works, and I will speak more about it in future posts, primarily how it is helping me in my daily life.

Well, I guess this is it for now for a welcome post!  I wish all of you well and bless you on your path.  My goal for this blog is to get out, in hypertext (I almost said “on paper!”), a lot of thoughts I have had and currently have about all sorts of things and, hopefully, have a dialog with others who are interested in what I have to say, are on a similar path, or have some words of wisdom to offer me.  I truly am a student of life as well as a teacher; we all are, every one of us.  There is something to be learned from each person we meet, from each experience we have on a daily basis.  I am looking forward to this new adventure in cyberspace!

Namaste, Sue

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