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My work and my own path has been shaped and formed by both ancestral/indigenous and western lineages of understanding hurt and the path to healing. The work of healing is as old as the mind-body-spirit wounds. There are many manifestations of healing - some which have been standardized and validated (like the lineages of mental health care) and those which are essential and ancestral which may not always be shaped by the same set of standards - but are equally valid and valuable. This is why I call the work that I do a kind of mixed-method medicine - a way of healing that has been shaped by more than one stream of wisdom. My own work and process is deeply informed by my own Andean Indigenous ancestral roots and by the mystical lineages of spiritual-emotional practice that have shaped my work over the last 20 years.

 

I am a practitioner in the lineage of the Q'ero Paqos - healers of Incan ancestry that carry generations of wisdom, nestled in the mountains around Cusco, Peru. My primary teacher is Maestro Alejandro Apaza from the Apaza family of Paqos in the Q'ero tribe, and the last living Chumpi (healing stones) Master. Within the tradition of the Q'eros I am known as a Nusta Paqo after completing the three initiations in the tradition. 

I am honored by the wisdom of nature - most especially the wisdom of the Mountain Apus (sacred spirits) particularly in the Andes of my birthplace in and around Bogota, Colombia. I am constantly learning more from engagement with nature and its healing wisdom as well as being informed by teachers as they come to me through my own learning process. My role is as as elder, mother, manifestor and simultaneously an eternal student - ready and willing to learn at the feet of those that carry wisdom I have not yet learned. In a place between I think those like myself are called to be both elder and student - both in a place of wisdom and learning, and maybe, the best of our intuition knows we always live in that place.

 

Along with the wisdom of nature, the elements, and ancestral wisdom study, I have engaged the study of herbal medicine, within the Paqo and Curanderismx lineages as well as via learnings through BIPOC herbal collectives including the Atabey Medicine BIPOC Apprenticeship the Hood Herbalism program. 

 

Other places of learning have included NYU School of Clinical Social Work where I received my initial training in trauma care through a western lens - which led to my 15+ years as an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) and trauma therapist, as well as Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training. Also, during my time with the Department of Veterans Affairs (and after) I built programming for trauma engaging the practices of meditation and movement, creative and expressive arts, and Equine-Facilitated Healing. 

I was trained with Ancient Song in Community-Based Full Spectrum Doula care and offer this work through my Doula + Birthwork project AYNI Roots + Ritual Doula Care learn more about that here. 

 

Through all these lenses of wisdom and healing, I offer individual, community and organizational guidance and consultation at the intersections of healing, spirituality, and activism - prioritizing BIPOC/QTBIPOC centering space-creation.​ 

I have also written three books centering around the work of trauma, healing and journeying: Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma, Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma + Recovery, and Going Naked: The Camino de Santiago & Life as Pilgrimage.

I am currently nestled in the Lenape land of Northern New Jersey and building healing community space with The Reciprocity Foundation where I serve as Executive Director in the Sugar Hill Neighborhood of Harlem which was historically Wappinger, Munsee Lenape, and Wiechquaesgeck peoples. 

 

I work the best I can to enjoy slower time on my tiny patio with my grandma-age Chihuaha-MinPin Mix Faith under the slowly setting sun while I work on improving my stilted Spanish and baby-step my way into learning Quechua. 

(for some more formal CV info see below)

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Western conceptions of science, medicine, healing and spirituality push us to put what we do in the world into neat and tidy boxes, ones that are so allergic to interconnectedness or complexity that they never touch each other let alone overlap.

 

For years I spent trying to work within one box or the other, bouncing between what I felt passionate about and how I saw and engaged with the world and the work of healing. Especially in my early years in mental health care in the largest medical system in the United States, there were such rigid lines about what we did and what we called it.

 

I have spent years of my life decolonizing my relationship with those boxes and allowing myself the beautiful complexity of work, passion, creativity and relationship that embraces the intertwining of who we are and how we heal. 

As I began to vision the best way to describe this space in-between places I struggled to find the right word or set of words to describe the whole. I aspired to create a space where I don't have to throw away the wisdom from my years of trauma and neurobiology study, but allow it to breath into the work of indigenous healing, and be symbiotic in its conversation with the somatic learning I have had. Where the healing dimensions of creative and expressive arts and the wisdom of nature, animals teachers like horses, spirit teachers of plants can all live in a village - working together....in a very Indigenous and organic way.

Ultimately I realized there is no set of words or names for a way of doing this work I do that explains it all fully or leaves space for everything - as well as the future evolution of what is - without the name itself being one of vastness and expansion. I reflected on the concepts within Mixed-Media art - work that stretches into multiple mediums to create something new. That felt most attuned to this world of healing I was leaning into and the work I see many other healers doing - particularly in BIPOC/QTBIPOC spaces - which is embracing ancient and new as well as multiple methods of wisdom. 

So this is what I call Mixed-Method Medicine. Mixed-Method as a nod to the creativity of of Mixed-Media as an art form and a way of creating, organic and unexpected. Medicine as a way to honor that medicine in an ancient and ancestral way is not "medical" as we know it in the narrow Western scope. It is more than doctor's offices and medical procedures. It is Medicine for the heart-mind-body-spirit. It is from an eternal line of knowing and funneled to us through different lineages, but there are some elements that are true throughout lineages and throughout time.

If this ethic and process of healing work resonates with you - one that is tailored to what is needed from a wide variety of streams of healing - you can learn more about particular elements of my work in my SERVICES section. After you have investigated that space you can reach out via email to schedule an appointment and/or explore more of my community-based content on my "Mixed-Method Medicine" Patreon (link coming soon). This work is both individual and collective work. I love to support the work of community healing as well as one-to-one work. I am grateful for my journey and am grateful for the ways I can share dimensions of this journey with others. 

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Supporting my work helps me support others without the resources to seek healing, spiritual care and support for themselves and their communities. A LOVE OFFERING supports a loving and radical collective practice of equity for those that can to give towards the care of those that can't afford and supports the lifting up of BIPOC/QTPOC care providers who always struggle against systemic inequities towards their own resources. Give, if you can, in LOVING EQUITY.

You can also donate monthly via my Patreon.

DEGREES & CERTIFICATIONS

B.A in English Literature with a Minor in Women's Studies (and a focus in Creative Nonfiction Writing), Dec 2006

Masters in Clinical Social Work, New York University, September 2007

 

Acceptance to The New School's MFA in Creative Nonfiction (although deferred attendance to start work at Dept. of VA with PTSD treatment), August 2007

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Training, Clinician Focus, Trauma Center, Winter 2008

 

200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga & Inner Peace, Sivananda Tradition, March 2009

Yoga for Vets Certification, Spring 2010

Traumatic Incident Resolution, TRI Center, Miami, Winter 2011

Clinical Supervision Certification (for mental health), Miami-Dade County, 2012

3-Yrs+ of Clinical Hours in tandem with an Equine Specialist in Equine Facilitated Pyschotherapy, 2011-2015

Community-Based Full Spectrum Doula Training, Ancient Song, 2024

Ph.D in Philosophy + Religion, concentration Philosophy, Cosmology + Consciousness, California Institute for Integral Studies, in progress

AWARDS

NYU Outstanding Recent Alumna Award, 2008 - for Yoga & Creative Arts/Multimedia Programming for Trauma with Combat Veterans and Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

Dept of VA, Vet Center Services, Award for Yoga, Equine and Creative Arts programming with Combat Vets and Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma, 2013

Rabbi Schalmann Interfaith Leadership Award, Fall 2016

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PRACTICE BACKGROUND

  • 8+ years of experience as a trauma therapist with the Department of Veterans Affairs working with Combat Veterans and Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (in NJ & Florida)

  • Co-founder and program creator of a trauma/addiction intensive outpatient program integrating creative arts, mind/body practices and Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)

  • 4 years as an Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy provider (EFP)

  • Experience working with refugees, survivors of torture, co-occuring issues of addiction, eating disorders and trauma/PTSD, combat veterans, activists and community organizers, People of Color-centered care (individuals and communities), international and interracial adoptees, survivors of religious trauma & cults

  • Experience working with creative and expressive arts (art, writing, photography etc) for healing, embodied care for healing (yoga and movement), mindful and meditative practices for healing, animal-based therapies for healing, intergenerational reclamation and ritual for healing

  • Crisis Triage provided for immediate post-deployment service members, at Standing Rock for water protectors, in Charlottesville, Louisville and beyond.

  • Continued consultation provided for (mental health) clinical service providers and organizations, spiritual and religious organizations, activist and community organizers, spiritual and religious abuse survivors and communities, POC communities.

  • Equity-oriented consultation for spiritual and academic institutions across the United States with a focus on BIPOC/QTPOC and LGBTQIA+ centering and equitable space-curation. 

  • Creation of unique programming for trauma-conscious care, embodied mental health, equine facilitated psychotherapy, trauma-conscious yoga, and more.

  • Co-creation of a trauma care for social movements and activists training curriculum and community supports through TRACC4Movements (trauma response & crisis care for movements).

  • Curriculum built from 2019 and beyond for programming related to healer and spiritual care providers in social movements and for BIPOC/QTBIPOC communities.

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