Lessons from my Grandmother: Little Voices

Somebody I know believes that your soul decides where it needs  to go before you are born. I’m not sure if I believe that, but if it is true I think I came into this body to gain wisdom from my amazing grandmother. If you haven’t already gathered we are extremely close as I was at her house nearly every day for the first twelve years of my life. We live in a sick world in need of healers and I was lucky enough to be born into her apprenticeship. It took me awhile to figure that out especially since I was sick myself, but now I realize that that is a tool rather than a hindrance. Continue reading

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The Vine that Ate the South (and My Heart)

I ventured into the deep south for the first time last August on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity.  I was just this snot-nosed kid from El Paso who somehow managed to get on this bus comprised mostly of very brave Mexican activists who were following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and being invited into the warm congregations of  African-American communities along the way. It was surreal, beautiful and humbling and I didn’t feel worthy. Everytime I think of that trip I get goosebumps. What an honor.  Continue reading

Everything is not Illuminated

I promise I will go back to writing about recipes and herbs and all of that good stuff, but for right now I am riding this wave of change…or shift? I’m not sure. When I sit down to write it is to describe mountains and beauty and the changing sky and how everything is magic. I want to dance and cry and roll around in the dirt. It’s like being a child again which in many ways is wonderful, but also a very vulnerable place to be. Continue reading

Questions on Healing

This entry may be a bit of a ramble…bear with me. Do you ever have that feeling that you may have just stumbled upon something, but can’t name it? I’ve been feeling that a lot lately. Life is becoming a huge and confusing revelation.

If you read my last post then it probably comes as no surprise that the idea of healing would become important to me, but that is only part of the story. Last year I began working with refugees and my main responsibility was to administer a virtual therapy project. What began as very promising only produced moderate results which was at first disheartening, but got me to thinking. Was it a problem with psychotherapy or the fact that therapist and client were not able to be in the same room? Does the healer/needer of healing relationship pose a problem in terms of power dynamics? How can we mitigate that without blurring boundaries? How necessary are bounderies? Our refugees tended to be from the same region…what does collective healing look like? If the problem was psychotherapy then what would be a more meaningful alternative? What role can nature play? What role does ceremony play? What role does activism play? Does sharing one’s story in this context help or harm? Can that even be measured? Continue reading

On Death and Dying

This is actually a post I meant to do long ago, but couldn’t find the right words. I’m glad I waited because I had the honor of seeing a presentation done by someone who does death midwifery and home funerals. The amazing woman who does this was one of my classmate’s at Sacred Journey School of Herbal Wisdom and she introduced the concept to us on the first day of class. For months I thought that meant that she specialized in still- births, and because I didn’t want to think about death I didn’t inquire any further. I can say with confidence that after 5 months of this class my fear of death has diminished greatly, and I was dying (pun intended) to hear her final project presentation about using herbs in deathwifery. As expected I was blown away. She spoke about how the modern funeral industry has taken the beauty and ritual away from death and has turned it into a vulgar and very scary thing. As a death midwife she gently guides the dying to the other side (preferably at home) and helps them come to terms with their passing. She spoke of sacred rituals, spirituality and love and reassured us that death did not have to be so terrifying, in fact if we came to terms with it we could truly find healing. These are ideas I’ve toyed with in the past, but to have it laid out in such a clear way was incredibly helpful and therapeutic. They are offering a very affordable workshop in June and I am so bummed that I will be out of town that weekend, but I’m sure there will be more. This is something I’d actually consider doing as a calling, which came as a surprise because just a few months ago I was one of the most death phobic people around. Actually, maybe it does make sense because phobias are obsessive thoughts, but that is a whole other story.  Continue reading

New Melodies

I’ve been debating writing this post for the last couple of days…to try and explain my recent silence. I wasn’t sure how appropriate it was to share such a personal story on a blog, but then I stumbled on this stanza from a Tagore poem entitled “Closed Path”:

But I find that thy will knows no end in me. 
And when old words die out on the tongue, 
new melodies break forth from the heart; 
and where the old tracks are lost, 
new country is revealed with its wonders.  Continue reading

I’m a Mutant. Are you?

Hello stranger! I’ve been dreadfully  neglectful, but I promise I have a good excuse. I was invited to go to Sweden to engage young adults about the Drug Wars and subsequent violence in Mexico. I am considering writing a post about it, but I try to keep my work seperate from this blog. It just means that I have been very busy and jet-lagged and did not have the energy to write anything until now.

In that time I learned something very interesting about myself that could change the course of my health journey. Prior to leaving the country I went in for some more blood tests to check my liver, thyroid antibodies, and take a genetic test to determine whether or not I have something called an MTHFR mutation. Honestly, I was really concerned about my liver and thought about it every time I had a drink in Sweden (but I still drank. At least I’m honest). So after a hellish journey home (Damn you, UNITED!) and a couple days rest I showed up at the Dr’s office to get the results. “Your liver is fine, you don’t have any thyroid antibodies, but you do have a genetic mutation and actually it is a double mutation.” I automatically thought of that three-eyed fish on the Simpsons and was surprisingly unattached to the news, but I must’ve looked concerned because she went on to say that it was really quite common (I believe she used the word rampant)  in Mexicans and people of Mediterranean descent. I asked if it affected life expectancy and was told that it affected quality of life more, but could be managed with a “clean lifestyle”. Continue reading