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. 😉