Photograph by Chema Salinas.
Photograph by Chema Salinas.

Sarah Amira de la Garza is the name I chose in 2002, and I am a poet, author, and performance ethnographer in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve worked with Arizona State University since 1990, in various administrative and faculty positions, and since 2002 have been Associate Professor and Southwest Borderlands Scholar in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. In 2000-2001, I worked as the Academic Dean of the University of Creation Spirituality* and Naropa-West,* and the co-director of its Doctor of Ministry program, in Oakland, California.

Mindful Heresy is a concept I was led to develop after writing a letter to God in a personal journal in 1993, in which I used the phrase, “this is not a prayer of obedience, Lord, but a cry for heresy.”  After that, I reflected upon it and allowed it to teach me.  It was not until 2010 that I began to publicly “work” with the idea, debuting it as a panel at a conference in 2011, toying with the idea of a journal, and in 2014, publishing an autoethnographic essay introducing the concept as I have experienced it in my personal cultural life, and leading a doctoral seminar on the concept more broadly situated. I organized around the core elements I believe are important, and invited esteemed colleagues to guest lecture as part of the continued effort to learn what it was I was invoking each time I used the term. Indeed, I learned a great deal from them, and each has contributed to how I consider, speak and write about it now.  There is a vision for a book developing–not an orthodox publication, of course, but I hope to be able to share its availability with you in 2015.

This blog is my effort to share my thoughts and ideas as they come to me in my engagement with the world around me and the experience of human existence, relationships, and collaboration or work.  I use the writing process as a surrendering to what I need to learn about something that is compelling me.  The blog will share my poetry and essays, and as of summer 2014, the goal is to have several short blog entries each week, with one more lengthy piece each weekend.  Poetry will be subject to the muse.

In addition to my work with mindful heresy, I have worked with the Four Seasons since the early 1990’s, and a blog related to that work as a guide for ethnographic research, and a template for spiritual practice is under revision and will be re-launched in late 2014.

I thank you for your interest and invite your correspondence to me through this blog.

Thank you,






*The University of Spirituality had a name change and shift in its mission years later, after its founder and president, Matthew Fox, stepped down from leadership. Naropa-West was an accredited branch of Naropa University, in Boulder, CO, and offered a Masters program with an emphasis in Creation Spirituality.  An July2010Burackwas written by Charles Burack, former faculty at UCS, and close collaborator and instructor with Matthew Fox.  He is now professor at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. I plan to write an essay about my experiences with Matthew Fox, UCS, and Creation Spirituality in the coming year (2014-2015).

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