"Some of us may hear the Call sooner, others later. But whenever it happens, whenever it transpires that we find ourselves on an edge, out of our element, out of our skin, there is something in us still which hears, no matter how deeply buried...we know there is something we should be doing. We know there is a journey we should be undertaking. We cannot rest; we cannot sleep. Something in us knows that there is somewhere we should be going. And in the end, whether or not we think we can, we go because we must. We go, on a wing and a prayer, because to stay is to die."
- Sharon Blackie, "If Women Rose Rooted"
I spent the majority of my twenties working in the fast paced, high pressure world of film and television production in New York City. I hustled. I worked 80-hour weeks. I was a boss. I learned the power of storytelling during this time. The power of sharing one's creative vision with the world, of telling new and original stories. I learned what women in leadership looks like. I learned what it feels like to be a part of a community, the family that is created on every film set. I learned that committing the majority of my time and energy to work was unsustainable. That the work fulfilled my ego, not my soul. That I was distracting myself from the brokenness I felt inside. The depression that was ever-present. I was self-medicating with work and when I wasn't working I was self-medicating with weed and alcohol. Plus the anti-depressants I had been taking since I was 15. I look back at this time as a beautiful, crazy haze of fun and destruction.
In this haze, I began to explore outlets that eased my anxiety and depression. I started to feel a drive to look within myself, to knock on the door of the sources of my pain. It was subtle at first, buried beneath the haze of medication and self-medication. The drive, the call, grew as I did. I started therapy, a regular yoga practice, and received healing work.
As I dove deeper into myself, as I faced the aspects of my self and life that I didn't particularly like, I had to make a choice. A choice to leave. To leave the security of a job I didn't like and a relationship that wasn't serving me. To leave the safety of my misery. To be selfish, to listen to the call that became more and more clear. To move across the country and walk into the unknown.
I immersed myself in the world of healing as I started my masters degree in Integrative Health. I gladly welcomed the slower pace of California life. I committed to facing into all aspects of myself. I committed to healing. This is when I was introduced to ancestral remembrance work and the process of the recovery of my indigenous mind. This is when I met my teachers Atava Garcia Swiecicki and Kimmy Johnson.
My first introduction to my ancestors and the process of decolonizing and recovering my indigenous mind led me to stop taking the anti-depressants I had taken for 13 years. Soon after, I uncovered a memory of childhood sexual abuse I had repressed, which led to one of the darkest times in my life. My ancestors were there with me, holding me, and guiding me toward healing. In this dark time, my ancestors introduced me to herbal medicine, energy healing, and elders I'm grateful to still call teachers. They guided me as I pieced myself back together.
In the process of recovering my indigenous mind, I am finding and reclaiming my ancestral medicine -- my gifts, the medicine I have to offer my community. Learning about the practices of my ancestors who lived in relationship to the Earth. The Celts and Druids of what is now the British Isles. The Neolithic people of what is now France and Germany. The folk medicine more recently practiced by my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors.
In the process of decolonizing my indigenous mind, I am facing into the dark truths of my ancestry -- that of colonization, genocide, and slavery. How I, and my ancestors who came before me, have benefitted from and perpetuate systems of oppression. I am facing into the abuse, trauma, and pain of my ancestral lineage. Facing into the dark truths within my lineage, acknowledging that they are a part of me and my story, bringing to light what has been kept in the dark. In doing this, it is my hope and intention to heal the core wounds that I carry. To break the patterns. I believe that if all people do this, especially folks of European descent, we can work toward healing the core wounds of humanity.
In doing this work -- in building a relationship with my ancestors, the natural world, and the practices of my ancestors; in facing into the colonizer and the colonized within -- I am learning how to hold all of the truths of my story, the beauty and horror. I am learning how to trust -- trust in my path, my ancestors, in spirit. I am learning that I have the medicine within me. I am learning and I am remembering who I am.
Here I stand. A forever student. Integrating and embracing all parts of myself. The East Coast edge and hustle with the spiritual practices and slow(er)-pace I learned on the West Coast. Integrating the experiences of this lifetime with the wisdom and practices of my ancestors. A constant practice of healing through remembering. A life long commitment to healing.
I hold a masters degree in Integrative Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and am a certified practitioner of Reiki, Guided Imagery, and Integrative Health Coaching.
Deep gratitude to my teachers Atava Garcia Swiecicki and Kimmy Johnson and gratitude to their teacher, Dr. Apela Colorado. Gratitude to my ancestors, especially for the support from my grandmothers Ruth & Alice and my grandfathers Jake & Red. Deep gratitude to my ancestors who lived before colonization, who lived in relationship to the Earth. Thank you to my mom, Lisa, for her unending support. Thank you to my Bay Area community for supporting me and encouraging me through it all. Thank you to the land I was raised on -- Susquehannock territory that is now called Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania. Thank you to the land I now call home -- Ohlone territory that is now called Oakland.