Hispana and Proud

Hiking, Writing and Connecting With Your Roots with Reclama Retreats

I tend to believe that things don’t happen by chance; that people walk into your life for a reason. So, when I kept bumping into Cindy Rodriguez, the creator of Recla.ma at the WeAllGrow Summit, I knew there was a reason why. Cindy is a Latina (peruana) from NJ who created Recla.ma as a space for women of color to “reclaim their space, in nature, culture and themselves.” 

Cindy Rodriguez Reclama founder

Now, if you know me, you know that nature and hiking and woods and outdoorsy things aren’t at all in my comfort zone, by by the fifth time I bumped into Cindy I decided I was meant to try one of her retreats. Just my luck, she had a summer solstice retreat coming up in “my neck of the woods” ie, New Jersey. She said it was a beginner hike and that it would be perfect. 

So, after I went back and forth on it, and tried to find a ride, and almost didn’t go because I was going to have to do something that I’m not comfortable with doing that much: driving. Not only driving in NYC, but driving on the highway to New Jersey. I tried to get a ride, it seemed like all the ladies attending were in Jersey and I was the only one driving from NYC. So, I took that as a sign that I needed to just do what I had said I wanted to do in 2019 which was, get over my fear/discomfort with driving. This was meant to be, I decided. I decided I wanted to go to the hike and I was going to drive damnit. So, drive I did, and hike I did and it was amazing. 

hiking and writing Reclama retreats

 

 

By the time the hike came around I had offered to pick anyone up who needed a ride, so I ended up riding with Graciela from Manifest Your Soul. It was lovely and I felt like I knew her forever. 

Hiking, Writing and Connecting With Your Roots with Reclama Retreats

That day, a group of ladies got together to share some of the most intimate details of their lives. Some shared what brought them out there that day, some shared their struggles, some shared their joys. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, and of course, we hiked and danced. 

Sometimes people ask (by people, I mean white people) ask why POC or WOC need specific spaces to be, why is it necessary to separate themselves… do we need affinity groups? Isn’t that creating more division? 

I think the reason why we need these spaces is because in them we can be our truest selves. If we speak about our immigrant parents’ struggles, or our own struggles as daughters of immigrants growing up wanting to maybe fit in more, or being translators for our parents, or having a hard time finding financing for a kick-ass project, or losing a loved one, or our crazy big families… we don’t have to explain any of that because others will get it. When you’re in a room full of WOC chances are you won’t have to explain why you’re 37 and your parents are calling you asking you what time you plan on being home, or “are you on the road yet?” We don’t have to explain any of it because these ladies get it. It’s incredibly freeing and touching at the same time. 

The Recla.ma summer solstice retreat included chakra balancing with Annie the Alchemist (you should follow her on IG!) and also intuitive face painting by Graciela from Manifest your Soul. I’m not going to life I felt like an Incan princess with my face painting on! Everyone’s was different and beautiful. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mala energía, be out. My father always says, “Primero se limpia la casa, y ​después se limpia la casa​.” And, the same goes for you. First set an intention about what you want to clear out of your space, then move from corner to corner and smudge away negative energy. Use around your body as well. I turn to Palo Santo to ease any tension I may have before taking myself on a hike. I also do it for the women who come on our Reclama Hikes. The smell is relaxing, keeps me present and helps me visualize bringing good energy into all parts of my life. Palo Santo also makes for a dope meditation, manifesting and/or journaling companion. Burn responsibly. #ReclamaHikes 📷: @umbra_et_lux

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The thing about hiking is that you have to be present. You have to look in front of you, and you have to look for bugs (or animals that may cross your path, as spirit guides) 

And let’s be honest… the views are pretty amazing, amirite? 

Now, let’s talk about journaling. The last time I had journaled I think was when I traveled to Romania on a service trip, back in 2004! I actually don’t know why I stopped because quite honestly, pen and paper is the best thing to write down your ideas and see them turn into reality. Now, I usually write down lists of things I want to accomplish, but I hardly write about my feelings anymore. It is something I am trying to back to, but it isn’t easy. I think we have taken social media and blogs to be journals where we type our feelings out (I guess like what I’m doing now!) 

As moms we don’t give ourselves the permission to take the time to center ourselves, with quiet, in nature, alone, with a book, with a notepad or meditating. So, I have been trying to get more of that into my life, but it’s not easy. 

The face painting really helped me appreciate and feel in touch with my native roots, which I have been wanting to learn more about. Once we understand that these roots were meant to be erased by colonizers, we allow ourselves to reclaim them, and learn about them, uphold them… find beauty and worth in them. For, many of us have been taught that indigenous and traditional practices of our ancestors were not worth and shouldn’t be explored, passed down, and should be erased. What I see is that newer generations of WOC are looking to reclaim them and learn about them and uphold them (even if our parents don’t understand why we want to do that). 

That’s why I’m so thankful for Cindy and her retreats! It was so much more than I could ever explain here, so I invite you to take a look at the pics and I invite you to follow Recla.ma on Instagram so you are up to date on when Recla.ma retreats are happening. I’m sure you will meet someone or have an experience that will touch you profoundly. 

There are two retreats coming up… so face your nature fears (if you’re like me…) and just do it! 

 

 

 

Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a mom, activist, nonprofit professional and writer from Queens, NY. I blog about motherhood, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural kids in NYC. I have two kids, a 7 year old and a toddler.

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