I am a writer and corporeal artist, an activist and speaker. An open door to sanctuary, refuge in birth and death, lover of the living and unlocking. As a birth doula and death midwife, a space holder for the mulitvocality of our public and private grief, a sex educator and an embodiment and creation workshop facilitator, I work with those crossing and crashing through transitions, questioning their gods, wrestling with love and art, dying into life.
My life and personhood are marked and sometimes marred by experiences of love and severed losses, illness and the trauma and wonder of survival, the stories of how these things came and shaped me, leaving me changed. Art and the living inform, intertwine, create stunning intimacy. Which means I care about things like the unlearning that happens after walking away from religious oppression, the places and ways we seek for the gods of our making and choosing, the need to continue to find language to speak of sex and death and the way bodies love and break, colliding with our urge toward revelation and revelry. I care about tending to grief, and awakening the want, and honoring the work it takes to survive and swim to the other side. I care about art as protest and honest expression, liberation and unbound voice. I care about letting go of expectations and assumptions and showing up in true presence. I care, deeply.
And so I make things,
and write the body,
and I offer my love.
Maps and bones
and the lattice of tree limbs
fingerprints' interlocking swirls
leave living residues
"I have been here."
Criss crossing palm lines
hold here and un-here
now and every other now.
Ink paper steering wheel son
Her and the hearth of love
track breath death cells renewing
and the real stories
hollow from missing,
but finding their how.
My portrait of Isabel"
-Pema Rocker, Founder of Story Charmer
I make art installation in the forms of hieroglyphic maps and feathered and papered wings of desire. I study and serve as a presidential merit scholar at Chicago Theological Seminary, exploring intersections of embodiment and sexual ethics, interreligious engagement as a secular humanist, religious ritual and cartography of faith. I live in a city that houses my stories, and I am always on my way back to Mexico and my beloved. I write medical anthropology on the wandering womb, secular prayers and love letters. With an anti-oppression orientation, presence and devotion to the shadow and inexplicable light, I serve on the thresholds, bringing over fifteen years of professional experience as a birth and death doula, sex educator and artist, all of this entering into the creation of now. And I bake pies and hunt for lilacs and again and again return to the open road.
I love this world. Love for coffee consumption, and the late night sounds of my alley cat, the trust of solitude, the hum of neon, the call of the secular pilgrimage, the insistence of contradictions, and heat. Love for the human and holy hedonistic hearts, for solid ground and belonging to the body, rough housing with words and re-envisioning the old myths, giving voice to the unnamed. A hunger for the sacred and profane, the return to the salt water, the study of adaptation and insistence on movement and messy beautiful things.
"I'd rather be whole than good." - Carl Jung
My professional background and education includes a wide and rich expanse of learning and engagement:
- Academic graduate degrees from Goddard College in medical anthropology, religious mythology, and women's and gender studies.
- I received my birth education and certification at Seattle Midwifery School, training with Penny Simpkin,
and have over fifteen years experience as a birth doula.
Certified birth doula with D.O.N.A. and childbirth educator with Birthing from Within.
- While working as a birth doula and childbirth educator, I have also trained and mentored new doulas and educators and created community organizations to serve those who have been marginalized in the medical system, advocating for reproductive justice.
- INELDA trained and certified death doula.
- I received my Sexuality Professional Education Certification with Planned Parenthood,
and have taught sex education in a multitude of settings for over ten years.
- In addition, I have also studied in BodySoul Intensives with Marion Woodman, Authentic Movement with Tina Stromsted, Ph.D,, birth as a rite of passage with Pam England, and Intimacy in Undefended Loving with Jett Psaris, Ph.D. and Marlena Lyons, Ph.D.
- Learning, both through experience in the fields and from those with years of knowledge and wisdom is deeply important to me, and endlessly pleasurable. So I keep learning, always.
There are, if you are lucky, a handful of people you will meet in your life who know how to truly and consciously share the space of this world with you. Isabel is one of those people and I am one of the lucky folk to have sat eye to eye with her. Here's the thing: Isabel seeks the questions that we somehow have forgotten to ask. She knows when to throw them at your fiercely (but safely) or blow them gently your way like a dandelion's seeds. And when you are ready, Isabel will sit cross-legged and witness your answers without judgement. She's no bullshit and all raw. She isn't afraid of emotion and conversation that veers in every direction. What's more is Isabel somehow manages to articulate this experience even through her writing. She shares stories as if they are her last breath. She dives deep to evoke memories; both painful and nostalgic. Isabel is the real deal, incarnated into a wild, tender raven of a woman.