My Experiential Reality

Since 2008, every few months I get together with my good friends, Susan and Meera, to discuss our shared passion for phenomenology**.  “What is phenomenology?” you ask.  Why, it’s the philosophy of human experience!   Although developed by the grumpy and, at times, unpleasant German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, phenomenology is grounded in ancient Greek thinking and shares some aspects with Buddhism.  What I love most about phenomenology, is that our experiential realities –  that is, our feelings, our sense perceptions, our interpretations, our EXPERIENCES, count as important in understanding and making meaning within our worlds.  In this meta-data-show-me-the-numbers driven life, I find it reassuring and delightful that, in phenomenology, our whole-body experiences are valued as knowledge and representations of the truth. I also love that phenomenology gives me a reason to see two wonderful friends every few months, or my “phenomenology ladies” as my husband, Brian, calls them!

It’s not all deep thinking when the three of us get together. We talk about ourselves and our lives, and of course, eat delicious food and drink fantastic wine!  Our past few gatherings have been week-end retreats at Susan’s and her husband, Charles’, Santa Cruz Mountain lodge.  It’s a lovely place complete with fruit orchards, views of the Pacific, and wonderful wineries to visit – a perfect activity when we need a rest from our scholarly discourse. 😉

1 The view
The view from Susan and Charles’s lodge. Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean.
2 Flowers and Bees 2
One of the lovely flowering trees on their property. The bees approve!
4 Flowers
I love these exotic beauties! Does anyone know what kind of plant they are?
5 Olive Tree and orchard
Susan and Charles’ orchard. Complete with pear, apple, grapefruit, and avocado trees. They also have a very large olive tree. One year, Meera and I cured olives from the tree. They were not bad. Mine were quite salty though.
5 Sally
Sally – a phenomenologist’s best friend.
6 Little People
Susan and Charles’ house is full of interesting objects. I spent one afternoon taking photos of their objet d’art. These little people turned out the best.
6 Swiss Chard
Both Susan and Charles are fabulous cooks, so we always eat well when we visit. Here is some fresh Swiss Chard about to go into our dinner: a tasty vegetable frittata.
8 Loma Prieta Vineyards
Finally! Wine tasting! This is now a bonafide CCC blog post! The Santa Cruz Mountains have a small but growing wine region. This is the view from Loma Prieta Winery. They have a gorgeous outdoor patio where you can bring a picnic and enjoy their wines – and this beautiful view.
9 Susan
Susan. Of course, her outfit matches the wine; the mark of an authentic California Cocktail Camper.
10 Charles 1
Charles. Yes, he is the most interesting man in the world.
13 Wright's Station
Our next stop was Wright’s Station. I loved the wines there. They were “blended and integrated” (an inside joke between the CCC and her phenomenology ladies!).
13 Wright's Station Bar
The bar at Wright’s Station. I love the lighting concept!
15 Wine Glass
One of Wright’s Station “blended and integrated” pinot noirs. (Photo by Meera.)
13 EM 1
I am never happier than when I am sitting at a bar drinking with good friends. (Photo by Meera.)
16 Susan and Meera
My phenomenology ladies, Susan and Meera, standing on the patio built by Charles. Thank you ladies for being such a fantastic part of my experiential reality!

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about phenomenology, I recommend checking out Hans-Georg Gadamer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

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