Ep#4: Reclaiming Rites of Passage: Doble Quincineara with Jose Richard Aviles

abundance ancestral healing arts Dec 01, 2020

In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Jose Richard Aviles, social worker, urban planner, and artist. Their work is centered around the intersections between space, place, and the body. We discuss the influence of their ancestry on their medicine and career path, their most recent artistic offering, and what they have learned and released along their journey. Jose shares the inspiration behind Semilla, their recent poetic publication, and even reads a beautiful excerpt from it.

With all the tension in the world right now, this episode is sure to distract you from it and bring a sense of lightness, gratitude, and joy to your day!

Where are you at right now? How would you describe your medicine?

I am in South Central Los Angeles, land of the Tongva and Chumash people. My medicine is my abundance and love in everything I do from art to being a planner. Everything is rooted in love. My medicine is also my smile, because smiles are a gift of body, mind, and spirit. 


What is your ancestral lineage and how has it influenced your medicine and your career path?

I don’t necessarily identify with Latino, though I’m not offended by the word. I understand the oppression that comes with being Latino and the context. In recent years, I’ve mostly identified as being brown because I’m trying to uplift the color of my skin, though I have both colonized and indigenous ancestors. 

There’s no room in urban planning for multi-linear thinking. That’s a framework that comes from indigenous backgrounds, a way of thinking that says we are one with the built environment. We are not observers just deconstructing and tearing things down, that’s the old urban planner that white men have conditioned us to be. Urban planning is a product of southern colonialism… slave owners were urban planners!

Constantly bringing it back to ancestors and how they have blessed me, it’s my responsibility to honor them and heal curses that have come up. We must defend these indigenous people.

You are also a poet and storyteller. Tell us about your most recent offering? 

My purpose on Earth is to be a healer and it just so happens that my healing modality is art. I’ve learned to detach myself from the work because I, myself, am a masterpiece. Everything we’ve known to be normal, I am not, so my job is to be unapologetically abnormal. 

Instead of focusing on the intent, I’m making sure the impact is aligned with the intent in ways I wasn’t before because the impact is so much greater during this time. So the most recent offering I have is Semilla, a poetic publication that came from not letting my inner voice be dimmed. It also includes some photographs of how I see the world, from bodies to built environments to flowers. Because of the pandemic, there’s going to be a Doble Quinceanera virtual performance called Semilla La Quinceanera to celebrate my 30th birthday. 

What inspired you to create Semilla?

Semilla means seed. It came after I hooked up with a friend I have known for 10 years and I was the first queer hookup of their life, which has been a pattern in my life. The first poems were about that and the rest are poems about the many firsts in my life, including the birth of my nephew. Falling in love with many people and things, over and over. The book is divided into four chapters, Fall is about change, Winter is about death, Spring is about coping, and Summer is about hot girl summer and thotties. 

Did you have a quinceanera?

I did not, but I came out in many as a chambelan! Though, I’m going to have a Doble Quinceanera soon. In Latinx culture, Quinceaneras represents a young girl’s rite of passage into adulthood and Doble Quinceaneras have risen as a celebration where Queer bodies celebrate their own rite of passage.

In your own process of shedding and blooming, what have you learned and what have you had to release?

I once worked on a farm in Wisconsin for a year and my boss told me that when you begin to harvest, you don’t go in thinking about how much or of what quality your harvest will be. You just cultivate the soil and whatever happens, happens. The phrase ‘cultivating the soil’ has got me to where I’m at today. I’ve prepared for life by aligning with my body, nourishing myself, finding slowness in times of urgency, and learning that my body is the leader. 

I’ve released the fact that historically, I’ve always overcommitted my heart, chosen everyone else’s happiness before mine, and that I’ve experienced deep rooted dysphoria around my image. 

As a future ancestor in the making, what words of wisdom would you share with others to help guide them into planting fruitful seeds?

Slowly learn how to calm down the audacity of the ego. It’s a beautiful defense mechanism when needed, but it’s also a very dangerous weapon to use when not in alignment. Create opportunities for yourself to find joy and lead through a place of love, which is easier said than done. If you can laugh with yourself and at yourself, you’re doing something right!

Conclusion: You are being divinely guided on your path. Focus on the light that is within you and let that light shine brightly and unapologetically. Cultivate your soil by keeping your body, mind and soul nourished and to leading with love and laughter. Find ways to slow down and listen to your body’s needs and wants. You are a masterpiece!

Homework: Find a reason to smile today, tomorrow, and every day. 

Share your reflections inside of our Facebook Community!

Learn more about Jose and their work:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jose-Richard-Aviles-MSW-MPL-773325996384681 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/soynalgona 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/soylamasnalgona 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/joserichardaviles 

Semilla: www.gofundme.com/f/semilla-performance-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

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