Monday, April 11, 2016

Unschooling is Reclaiming Our Natural Way of Life

“Human beings are in a struggle to regain our humanity” Rigoberta Menchu

Homeschooling or life schooling is what our natural way of life was before the the colonizers came to this continent.  This was something that was brought up in the homeschooling panel we had and it resonated with me.  I sometimes forget what is means just to live and enjoy life.  The purpose of our life.  I become clouded with things that do not matter ego, success, money, social media, surviving in the city etc.  I sometimes neglect the things that matter and are real such as; love, family, friends, nature, etc. To live as we intended to live, a natural way of life.  Where I can imagine I would gather food, eat, play, make clothing, be creative, lounge and enjoy my surroundings.  Now I work in what seems to be a rat race to be “somebody”, pay our rent, buy food, or to buy crap I don’t even need but have an illusion it is needed.  In this rat race we begin to lose ourselves our humanity our natural ways of living and coexisting with other people, animals, nature, and the cosmic universe.. This got me thinking, how do we even begin to to gain our humanity, live a natural life in this unnatural society?

“The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.” Lily Tomlin

We as parents become caught up in this rat race even more because people judge us as “good” parents because our children have the latest toys, technological gadgets, or fashionable clothing.  One of our panelist brought up how having a television breeds into consumer society for our children and ourselves.  We know now that commercials are scientifically targeted to seep into our unconsciousness and tells us we are not enough as we are or we can only be happy if we buy this or that.  Our children become more vulnerable to this ongoing media brainwashing.

“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work don’t buy it” Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Much of our culture and our economy are based on exploiting people’s sense of emptiness and inadequacies of not being enough as we are. We are good enough to teach our children and the most important thing we can do as parents is to build an emotional connection with our children, cover their basic needs, foster communication, and attachment and it will be much more than schools are able to do.  This in itself fosters curiosity and creativity, in which learning comes naturally.  Dr Gabor Mate points out a lot in his talks how as people we have two basic needs authenticity and attachment, when authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.  We then begin to lose ourselves, and if we lose ourselves it become so much more difficult to live.  For me it took me too many years to realize the damage these institutions gave me.  I was forced to follow orders and be someone I was not in order to not get in trouble, or to fit in and be accepted.  I have used all my adult life attempting to figure out who I am and what I may offer the world.  By not placing my children in these institutions I hope they may be able to find the process of finding themselves easier.  As for myself I am trying to do what I love and make a living in my community without exploiting others, consume less and let go of more.

“The most important thing for everyone in gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody” Frida Kahlo

We also need to ask ourselves, what is being taught at schools?  Is it important or relevant to their lives? Or as a panelist pointed out, are they still teaching things such as the story of George Washington and the Cherry tree, then school does not have any real value or use.  In homeschooling we teach as we live many practical life skills and skills caregivers are practicing.  For my daughters this is growing food, cooking, herbal knowledge, art, midwifery, breastfeeding knowledge, music, etc.  For others it may carpentry, auto mechanics, massage, etc.  They do not waste time on the busy task of homework and are also able to fully explore their own talents and build on them.  This is what our homeschooled adult panelist did and it allowed her to become what she wanted at a much earlier age than most people.

“This is really what the whole debate over compulsory schooling is about.  Do we trust people’s capacity to be curious or not?” Astra Taylor

I live in the city where most people’s daily commutes take up a lot of time and energy because there are too many cars and too many distracted drivers stuck on their phones. Anxiety, stress, and road rage build up as they travel streets or highways almost killing themselves just to get to and from work.  There are also so many great events posted on facebook or instagram happening all over this great city that we cannot even rest on the weekends.  I often feel I have to be everywhere at once or I will miss out on something.  Many times the best thing we can do is just stay home and enjoy each others company. Sometimes it is best to stay put and leave a smaller carbon footprint. A solution was provided by our panelists; try your best to  live, work, and play close to home.  

“There is no place like Home.” The Wizard of Oz

Homeschooling especially unschooling is seen as “crazy” to many but we have to remember, we are not crazy, this society is crazy.  Our society is crazy and unnatural.  We live unnatural lives from womb to tomb, but we are in a process of reclaiming our humanity and our natural ways of life.  Birthing at home, breastfeeding, growing food, skillshares, bartering, sharing stories, unschooling, ceremony, dying at home etc all are a part of this ongoing process of returning to our natural ways of life.  This process will most likely take a lot of sacrifice, we have to be uncomfortable to create true change, and we have to do it now before it is too late.  We are already seeing the effects of colonization and capitalism to our mother earth and as humans this may be our last chance to keep humanity going.  I am a dreamer with too much love for my ancestors, daughters, community, and the universe to leave our faith in the hands of politicians and corporations.  So please let us keep talking, planning, and creating ways to regain our humanity and return balance to our universe.  Another world is possible.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”  Cree Proverb

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Cleaning and Blooming from the Inside Out

We have endured Winter and change, Spring is finally here.  I invite you to bloom yourself into Spring by Cleaning what is not useful for you.  Embrace yourself in this difficult but wonderful transformation.

Spring is perfect time to initiate cleansing since nature is itself cleansing with precious water from the sky renewing the earth.  Nature's own cleansing ritual invites us to follow its path and do our own.

In order to fully embrace this cleansing season I invite you to do it fully from the inside out including Home, Body, and Spirit.

I will share some cleansing rituals I am doing this Spring to inspire your own.  Remember that all 3 Home, Body, and Spirit are connected and a reflection of each other, we should work on all 3 in order to fully bloom this Spring. Clutter keeps us stagnant and does not allow transformation to evolve.  Let go, surrender, and embrace change.  It may be scary at first but once you reach Spring you will not regret the beauty it has created.

Home Cleaning
At home we tend to accumulate things sometimes we do not even buy but keep them for sentimental reasons and soon we are left with clutter that takes over our lives.  Cleaning on a daily basis when we have many things in our homes takes precious time from more important things such as family, friends, community, and enjoying nature.

How to do this.  Try one room or one drawer at a time.  Play loud music, burn sage, and let the cleaning begin begin.

When you pick up an item ask yourself when was the time you used or appreciated this item.  If you keep something for sentimental reasons ask how much space this is taking from your home or your life and whether there are other ways you may allow yourself to appreciate the sentiment it gives you without having to hold on to an item.

For children remind them that having a lot of toys and items is not necessary but once you practice what you preach they follow without much protest. Every time my daughters have a birthday party or receive gifts in any occasion I help them remove toys and clothing reminding them we need to let go of some things so we make room for new ones. First remove any broken toys you cannot repair or games that are missing too many items. Then remove any double toys you may have.  Finally ask your children: "do you still want this toy, book, or clothing?" and "do you actually play with this toy, read this book, or use this item of clothing?".  For clothing for yourself and your children you have to also ask "does it still fit?" (and be honest).

Clean with environmentally safe cleaners or make your own.  Goggle some natural recipes most require ordinary household items you may have such as water, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and lemon juice.  To add scent and to help kill bacteria and fungus I also use essentials oils my favorite are tea tree, lavender, and thieves.

It is important when we clean our homes to also do not add toxins to our earth.  Please use earth friendly cleaning products.

Not really home but technology clearing is also good.  Delete texts, voicemails, email messages, and even "friends".  Too much of anything may be distracting and clutters your focus.  Ask yourself "Is this really necessary for me to have filed?" "Are these really my friends or Are there other ways I may connect with these people?"

Just as our home we also accumulate clutter in our bodies that build up and manifests in illnesses.  Many of us in our busy lives stop making time to cook healthy food then we do not allow our body's natural process of cleansing itself, that is why I think a detox is necessary. For me a detox during cleansing season creates an opportunity to create healthy habits for a more permanent life style change in my diet.

I am a mother of two vivacious daughters and work full time at a non-profit with mothers in need.  I have two very demanding tasks and need to eat well to keep up my energy up so I do not believe it is realistic for me to do juicing cleanses.  What I have done and has worked well for me is 12 day Wild Rose Herbal Detox it has vegan capsules and herbal extract.  This detox helps eliminate waste from liver, colon, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Please read instructions or consult with physician to see if this detox may work for you.  With the herbal detox I am able to eat well with minimal side effects.  Each body is different I usually get headaches and have bad body odor, but other than that I am good and can function both at home and work.

Other ways to detox body I initiate the ritual of castor oil packs where you may detox your organs without any side effects at all. Steam is also important, my favorite is in ceremony with prayers and healing herbs but even just being in a steam room is great for eliminating toxins in our body. Vaginal steams also help cleanse our wombs and vaginal walls, you may include herbs such as mugworth, rosemary, basil, or lavender.

Clean out toxic hygine care items are purchase natural food based products or make your own.  Instead of lotion you may use coconut oil, cacao butter, shea butter, or hemp oil.  For deodorant use baking soda with coconut oil and drops of lavender oil.  You may also make shampoo with baking soda and mint, rosemary, lavender water.  Scrubs are also easily made with sugar, coconut oil, and drops of lavender oil.  I make my own toothpaste using baking soda, calcium powder, coconut oil, cinnamon, and thieves essential oil.

Our body is important it is the house of our spirit.

Our spirit is very important since it transcends throughout the cosmos but we neglect the most.  We material beings but also cosmic beings and may feed our bodies but often forget to feed our spirits with healthy energies that allow us to transcend into our higher selves.  Our spirit that is often either poorly feed or feed only junk is full of clutter that we need to detox from.

Purge out negative energies from your life including toxic people and thoughts.  Remember you are worth it and have the right to not only exist but also to be happy.

 For those of us that follow the red road we know that this journey we call life is the ultimate ceremony our beautiful struggle and with support it truly is beautiful.  With that said, surround yourself with people that love you as you are, know your worth,and also lovingly you call you out when it needs to be done.  These type of friends allow you to grow.  Community support is essential for survival in this society, find your village.

Forgive yourself do not get stuck on shame, blame, and guilt.  Our family motto is "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy." from Ms Frizzle in The Magic School Bus, indeed that is what life is about learning from being able to take chances and making mistakes and this may get messy so we just have to clean it up and grow from this.

Forgive others remember we are all mirrors of each other, nobody is born evil, monsters do not exist, and we never know everybody's full story.  I believe we are all doing the best we can.

Do not judge just let feelings, and thoughts come without too much judgement just let it sit there accept them, enjoy them and know that they will pass.  We are constantly changing and shifting nothing is permanent so we need to let go of control.

Acknowledge that death is a part of life and live every day as if it were your last.  Say I love you often and mean it.

Smudge, Pray, Be Thankful, Be in Ceremony, and do what feels good to FEED YOUR SPIRIT.

Full Bloom
When we let go of things we also move energy and allow other items, people, creations, etc. to evolve.  Clear the way and make space in our homes and our lives.

Spring cleaning is about removing all the clutter that distracts us and clouds us to bloom to our full potential.  This also includes the clutter in our body and spirit not just our homes.


***I apologize for not including full recipes, will try to include them in another post*** thank you

Monday, March 7, 2016

Homeschooling Panel Review Part 2: Creating Homeschooling Support for Families of Color in Los Angeles

The purpose of the panel was to begin to give another option to education for working class families of color.  As Ticicalli many of us are struggling mothers of color and saw there was a need in our community in comparison to more affluent white community that has already built for years a stronger support network.  Our need is not to divide ourselves but to find ourselves and find support within our own people.

It was stated throughout the panel that homeschooling is extra challenging for families of color. It is more challenging one because of families and friends often do not approve so they do not support us in this journey.  Many of our families and friends judge us and often straight out say "This is not for you, it is only for rich white people."  There is a reason for this lack of support. For many black families it is part of they gained through the civil rights movement, access to free and "equal" education.  People died in order to integrate and receive a perceived equal education and then you choose to homeschool.  The same goes to brown families, many of our families died to cross that border to chase the 'American Dream'.  Black and brown families often are seen as we are disrespecting our elders struggle and hard work by refusing classroom education and choosing the homeschooling path.  They take our decision personal and it angers them.  This anger comes from a place of fear.  They fear that all their sweat, blood, and tears to give us a better life was in vain and we will not succeed in this country, but they do not know that success may look different to us.

For all homeschooling parents there is also a question validity in our ability to teach our own children.  In families of color the issue of validity is greater because we may be less institutionally educated or due the fact that we are of color we are seen as less intelligent to society because our ancestral knowledge is seen as ignorance.  This may not apply to all families of color in this journey but it does too many of us even those of us already in the path of self discovery, that doubt still stings sometimes. Being surrounded by other families with these same struggles will make us more secure in our homeschooling journey.

Both panelists and audience members had many reasons for wanting to homeschool.  Some stated that had planned this since even before their pregnancy.  Another stated it was due to having a child with a chronic illness and another parent had a child actor, both requiring many absences which school would not allow to make up or catch up.  An audience member brought up that now with the new California vaccine laws requiring all students in schools to be fully vaccinated, many of these parents are having to face whether to catch up on loads of vaccines at once or just pull their child out of school and figure out this homeschooling thing.  A teacher in the audience expressed how with all these bells and tests she is unable to teach what she feels it is important to her students and their lives.  Often the district and the state create more barriers to learning giving both parents and teachers not much of a choice.

On the panel we also had an adult that was homeschooled all her life, except for 2 days which she hated and never attempted again.  Unlike the stereotypes we hear, she was able to learn to read and socialize.  She stated that homeschooling helped her discover who she was and what she loved.  It helped to expand her creativity because it allowed her to do what she wanted without restrictions of time.  She and her family were also able to do this because they found a support network within other homeschooling families.  She said that families took turns teaching something.  Her mother an artist taught art.  She stated that it is important to build community network with like minded families where you may organize each other so the journey may be less painful.  We need to organize and support one another so that this may be a choice for all including single care givers and low income families.  We do not have to do this alone because together our struggle will be less. The panel was inspiring and empowering; to see families connect, network, share stories, and resources.  We are beginning to create community support!

Thank you to all panelists and audience members that attended, especially the children.  And to all those that did not attend but have reached out asking for more events like this one or have shared your resources.

Below is a list of co-ops or groups around Los Angeles that our friends have shared, we hope they are helpful.

Homeschooling Association of California

Anahuac Cultural Center For Self Sustainability, East Los Angeles

Flying Birds Community School

Los Angeles Unschoolers

East San Gabriel Valley Homeschoolers

Homeschooling Southern California

Multicultural Homeschooling Network

Unidos Homeschooling Co-op in Santa Ana

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ticicalli's HomeSchool Panel Review Part 1: REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL

After reviewing all our notes collectively, we have come to realize that there are MANY things we learned through our  info panel held 2/27/2016. Too many to share at all once. So we will be sharing our notes and reviews through a series of blog posts.

Our first topic is:

Note: Our panelists were from diverse backgrounds as far as ethnicity, cultural affiliations, age, professions, and years homeschooling. Hence, their answers were very diverse and enlightening.

Here are some of the things that were shared as far as what made them begin to HomeSchool, and a quick summary of what we learned from their answers.

*A Child’s Illness-
When a child has a chronic illness, attending school may be challenging. Getting up early, making a trip to the school’s  campus. Not feeling 100%. All these factors can affect the child's ability to focus, learn and perform. Absences due to Doctor's appointments or relapses can cause a child to “fall behind” on the curriculum being taught to the rest of the students at school in their grade level. This may also cause the student to feel “not up to par” or caught in a race in which he/she may never catch up. Pressure from school staff or peers to catch up may also stir feelings of insecurity within a child’s heart and mind. So much pressure is not healthy for a child.
Though sometimes we just want our children to “have a normal life”, as adults we must understand that “normal” is different for everyone. If a child with an illness is displaying discontent, low energy and lack of interest in school or other signs such as emotional challenges, HomeSchooling can be a great option.  
A family can create a schedule based on the family/parent's time availability and work around that to make sure the child is in an environment that is familiar, safe and pressure free from school peers and staff. Once the child is comfortable with the schedule and routine, he/she will be more open to receiving information and embracing it. Feeling in a safe environment to learn  can increase concentration, motivation and self confidence. These attributes can transcend into other aspects of life and shape a child's character for life!

*Shyness and/or Social Anxiety-
Some kids are shy at first, then they warm up to new environments, people and routines. However, for some, getting accustomed to new people or being around a large amount of people can cause anxiety and withdraw. A child experiencing this can sometimes be mislabeled as a “loner”, “weird kid” or be outcast by his peers, leading a child to feel inadequate. School-age children are highly emotional and sometimes self-conscious. If your child is experiencing some of these issues, be sure to talk to him/her and see if there is anything you can do to help. Making after-school friends or activities, becoming involved in parent committees, etc. If your child’s shyness or social anxiety does not improve, you may consider homeschooling as an option. It can be temporary or permanent, according to your child’s needs.
Be flexible, open and understanding. It is not worth it to “push” our kids into an environment in which they don't feel comfortable in. This “pushing” can create inner insecurities within a child out of fear of disappointing family or peers. Some insecurities can transcend into early adulthood and even throughout life. Do not underestimate the effects of forcing a child into an uncomfortable setting for them. Talk it out. Check out your options and local resources! HomeSchooling may be right for you.

*Lack of Tolerance and Racism-
For most adult People Of Color (POC) it is evident that in American society we are still experiencing racism and prejudice through many avenues living in a system that was not designed for POC originally. In the school system, if a child does not assimilate into a “long day of sitting at a desk and only speak when spoken too” environment, a child is sent to detention, counseling, and placed on “special programs and lists” based around the child’s “bad behavior”. Though some efforts on behalf of school’s staff are noble, sometimes they are not comprehensive. Children; especially boys of color (Black and Brown) are quickly labeled as “trouble makers” or “thugs” in the making simply because the style of education is not right for them and the attempts to correct an “unruly” behavior are based solely around the behavior and not what's causing it. Some of the “unruly” boys and girls are actually VERY TALENTED AND POSITIVELY ENERGETIC! The “sit down for 8 hours a day at your desk” schooling is just not right for them. Some children need to be challenged with didactic activities, art projects, music knowledge, different teaching methodologies for math and other sciences. They are NOT bad kids!  Some of us have experienced working with the schools and trying to follow disciplinary and actions only to find that there is no in-depth reasoning behind the school’s orders. Sometimes children with “behavior issues” are really experiencing emotional changes or challenges. Sometimes schools miss this cry for attention and help from students. Some of us have came to the realization that the school is following outdated protocols that target and track our children in spite of their efforts to improve. In spite of parent’s efforts to be involved and change the course of their child’s behavior. It is then that some parents come to realize that the school system is a system whose foundation did NOT have the best interest of POC in mind when it was created. It is an institution with Euro-Colonial roots made for Euro-Colonial-American people.

A panelist who experienced discrimination and racism in her son’s school for some time, even after her and her son’s attempts to improve, chose homeschooling for her son and it proved to be an amazing choice!
Her son turned out to be highly gifted in the arts and music and went on to hold a career in music which he still holds today.

Sometimes, schools and staff are outdated in their methodology which is not inclusive of the many tribes, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities of all members of the community. If you are experiencing these issues, talk to your child and family and see if homeschooling is right for your child. You may learn that your child is not a “trouble maker”. Your child is a STAR. Always has been. Always will be.

For those of us that identify with our ancient Pre-Columbian culture, Decolonizing is a way of life. We are aware of who we are as a people and where we stand in the story of this continent. We have experienced what the American school system has to offer through first hand experience. Through collective in-depth analysis we have come to the conclusion that the curriculum taught in public schools offers very little life tools to our children. Not to mention that as far as historical curriculums, what is taught in public school is the perspective of the Euro-American.
As original people, we have made the choice to live up to the responsibility to educate our children and pave a path towards autonomy for them. We understand that it's up to us as parents to teach our children the ways of our ancestors and to give them the tools to survive in  current society and thrive towards self-sustainability.

A couple in our panel shared their story of decolonizing through shaping their lifestyle. Through many sacrifices they were able to open up a business that allowed them to open a cultural and agricultural center. Working their own schedules and having a place in which to grow food, they are able to provide for most of their families needs and be available to care for their children. This is a great example of what a family working together can accomplish! As original people, we have survived many tragedies rooted in colonization, but we have the ability to recover our autonomy and create the path we want in our lives by honoring our ancestors and passing on their knowledge and ways of longevity to our children.  We can do it! Working together as a family and community.

We would like to thank all our panelists and everyone who attended the panel and helped shaped this great dialogue. We will be sharing more information soon!

If you have a homeschooling story you would like to share, please email us at

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Midwifery School Check in

Welcome to my last year of Midwifery school

In the present moment

I am 22 births & 45 units away from completing my midwifery program. For the past 2 months, I have been transitioning from my role as a a junior student to being the primary midwife under supervision (senior student).

What is the role of the primary midwife under supervision? I get to midwife all the client’s in our practice, catch babies, provide prenatal care, well woman (person) gynecological  as well as postpartum care. On top of all of this, I am responsible for all the paperwork that comes with being a midwife, my least favorite part, but it does feel nice to have the responsibility as a hungry and eager student midwife. All under supervision of my preceptors of course.This is my final stretch before preparing to sit for my NARM ( North American Registry of Midwives) exam, which qualifies me for my licensure with the Medical Board of California.

The past two years

I have had the privilege of working with 6 midwives, in 3 unique midwifery practices. I’ve traveled to all directions in LA and surrounding neighborhoods and worked with a broad spectrum of families. All while, simultaneously working as a doula & wellness promotora. I have fallen in and out of love and learned the value of sacred partnerships. My definition of Love has evolved & grown so much.  Healing, healing & more healing! I have been able to heal from generational trauma. Spirit guided me to move into my own sanctuary in the hills of Happy Valley. I let go of the stability that came with working at the nonprofit sector. Learning to have an appreciation for sleep and self care has been invaluable. let’s see what else?

 I have grown closer to creator.This rigorous program has put me on my knees. Surrendering to the unknown has been challenging at times. Letting go of that which I have no control over has been a blessing in disguise. Learning to be vulnerable has not been easy. I have realized how much help I need and how much support I already have. My limiting beliefs have come to surface asking me to heal from them. Midwifery school is expensive & if it wasn't for creator & community support, I don’t know how I would get by.  I’ve never cried so much in life like I have been in the past two years. Crying out of love, fear, injustice and joy. Crying my butt to sleep because sometimes birth ain’t pretty & I've witnessed near death experiences for both mom and baby.I am currently being stretched in multiple directions, the burning sensation feels so good. This sensation is allowing me to feel and to come back to my body.Becoming sensitized, embracing compassion,  dancing with my femininity & masculinity, embodying empathy, opening up my heart and truly loving without any walls are all lessons I am mastering. I am completely naked, raw, I feel exposed & have discovered that underneath all these layers that I have let go off, I shine so bright. My journey to midwifery is a story of resilience, love, humility & deeply rooted ancestral medicine.


“ I am pregnant” says my client. I’m looking forward to hearing this statement more! I bet most of you thought I was pregnant. Just to let you know, that’s not happening anytime soon. However,the plan is to complete my midwifery program in 9 moon cycles, that’s 252 days, and 3 seasons. I have been working really hard to complete my academic portion of the program by completing 20 units per quarter. My clinical portion of the program will also be completed at the same time. Stay tuned! There will be plenty of opportunities for you to see me in action as I grow into my role as a licensed midwife.

One of the perks is being able to organize well woman (person) clinic days, where folks can receive gynecological care/education including pelvic & breast exams. After I complete my program, I will go on a hiatus to study for my NARM. Please keep me in your prayers! Midwifery is my way of life now. Everyday I’m being asked to step into my role as a midwife. This also means shedding skin and letting go of my role as a doula. I am asking for your support to help me complete my program.

Support  a women's-led conscious business:

 My doula & wellness practice sustains me in my midwifery program and in life. Unfortunately, there is no financial aid for my midwifery education. I am very grateful for all my clients who seek me out to support their journey; the fair exchange to this is that they help to pay for my tuition & personal expenses. Here are some ways that you can contribute to the development of a community Midwife:
  • Promoting my services to all your networks
  • Hiring me to support your childbearing & wellness journey
  • Some of my services include: birth/postpartum doula, placenta encapsulation, reiki, childbirth education, wellness consults, belly binding, health classes,  traditional postpartum ceremony, doula mentorship, ect.
  • Have I already supported you? If you feel motivated to do so please consider writing a review on my website, Facebook, or Yelp. (links below)
  • Hugs always help!
  • Check in's are always welcomed


Mil Gracias! Tlazokamati! Thank you!

-Maria Teresa

Yelp: Womyns Medicine
IG: Womyns_Medicine

* Pictures posted with permission 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Flowing With The Winter Blues

Winter is an event that is experienced by all living beings on Earth.  Characterized by drastic changes in nature and the "holidays", it is a time for a change of pace.  However, sometimes a change of pace can throw us a little bit off balance. During the holidays that take place during the winter, we experience changes in  our routines in school and/or work due to the extra days off that most of us are able to enjoy. For some, this time off is very appreciated and it is spent with family and loved ones; while for others this is a time of melancholy and solitude and sometimes may fall into the "Winter Blues".

The Winter Blues can affect many different people, for different reasons. For example,  migrant workers may find themselves feeling lonely and missing their families if they are far from home and are unable to visit. Those who have recently been through break-ups , separations, or death may also have a hard time during the winter and holiday season. 
Whatever the circumstances may be, it's important to acknowledge that it is healthy to take time to reflect and heal if necessary,  but it is also important to know that melancholy can develop into mild depression if a flow of sad emotions is not addressed. 

Here is a brief summary of common causes for depression as listed in "The Melaleuca Wellness Guide" Chapter 12: "Healthy Body" pg. 133
Here are some Simple Tips on how to flow through the Winter Blues:

Water: We all know hydration is essential for our body to function since we are 70% water.  Water also is a great medicine for headaches, fatigue, and many other afflictions.  However we have noticed in the winter we often forget to drink water since it is so cold.  Just a reminder, we may warm up our water and drink it just like that or add some lemon juice or peppermint to it.  We may also drink teas such as Chamomile or  Tulsi, Martha's favorite that can help decrease our stress levels. Finally we may make more nourishing soups or broths that may provide much needed warm hydration for the winter months.

Sunlight: Our body craves the sunlight vitamin.  We are meant to spend more time outdoors enjoying the sun and unfortunately we are often in our home, offices, or cars. Sunshine gives us much needed Vitamin D that is essential for a healthy immune system and one of the best medicines for depression. Wake up earlier when possible and greet the sun as it comes up, take lunch outside or do your best to seek the sun whenever it is out.  Also if you are still lacking sunlight you may supplement with foods such as mushrooms, fish oils, eggs, tofu, or get Vitamin D drops from your local health food store.

Movement: Exercise or movement is a great stress reliever.  When we move, shake, boogie, or just walk it is not only beneficial for our physical self but it also moves  and clears stagnant emotions.  In this technological age we may not have to go outside to workout just put youtube on your gadget and look up tai chi or yoga for beginners or put some music and dance your heart out.  Finally whenever weather permits do go outside for a hike in nature or a brisk walk around your neighborhood.

Touch: In this digital era we hardly ever hear people's voices much less touch them.  Touch is very important for us humans it is scientifically proven to calm stress, decrease disease, and strengthen our immune system. If possible go get a massage if you cannot afford one get a partner and look online on how to give each other a massage or do self massage to hands or feet.  Have a partner, friend, pet, etc. near to cuddle, hug, or carress.

Cacao: This is our ultimate favorite for preventing depression!  Chocolate is a superfood and was an important and sacred drink of our ancestors.  Cacao affects dopamine levels in our brains which promotes relaxation, increases focus and alertness and helps us feel good.  Please do not get the sugary chocolate that will make you feel good one minute and horrible the next, you may get good raw cacao nibs or powder at your local health food store and enjoy such a sweet glorious food by itself or mix with water, vanilla, honey, and cinnamon for a warm winter drink.

Finally, make positive affirmations. Thinking positive thoughts increases self-confidence and can instantly change your mood and perspective. Understand that is normal for ALL beings to go through changes, challenges and even sadness; but it is also normal and a great gift from life to experience laughter, happiness and a sense of achievement and triumph. Believe in your self and always walk towards the light at the end of the tunnel. As long as we are alive, we are able to look for solutions to the issues that burden us. Also remember that you are worthy of joy and love and the key to your happiness and prosperity is your hands!

To close, we would like to share an affirmation with all of you. May it empower us to flow with the changes of life and the Winter Blues:

Thank you for reading. We wish you all a beautiful winter season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why should we support Mothers in prison?

                Since I joined Ticicalli I have thought of and worked towards supporting mothers in prison.  This is due to the fact that mothers in prison are some of the most vulnerable womyn here in the United States because they are judged harshly and are often forgotten.  Also because I see myself in these womyn I’ve just had a bit more luck along my life’s journey.  The innocent children are left behind and suffer the most, as a society we must think of them before we demand harsh criminal sentences to mothers.  I believe that everything in this universe is interconnected and what happens to one affects us all.  As a “justice system” we also have to realize that how it is filled with institutionalized racism and classism. 


                Who are these womyn? And why should we support them?  Most womyn in U.S. jails and prisons are womyn of color affected by historical transgenerational trauma of colonization, genocide, slavery, rape etc.  They come from low income communities that lack resources, quality schools, employment opportunities, quality food, etc. Due to the lack of important things that enhance quality of life there is high crime rate, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, violence, etc.  According to FAMM, more than 56% of women in federal prison are mothers, the majority are non-violent drug offenders.  Although these womyn live in less than optimal living conditions they are usually very resourceful and resilient which allow them to be able to survive but the challenges often outweigh the strengths and very few are able to thrive and live a different way of life.


                As mothers I feel we all do our best we can do with the information and support we have.  The womyn inside jail and prison walls I believe are no different than any of us but usually have little to no support which may lead to disastrous life’s decisions.  Most have a history of substance abuse, dependency of system and/or men, and mental illness.  Also often have history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse usually by family members and/or close friends.  Many times they are from single parent homes and have one or more family members with a history of incarceration.  It is difficult to break the chain of abuse and to learn how to love in healthy ways.  How can we love someone else when we often do not have any love for ourselves?

                When I see that trauma death which includes homicide and suicide as the number one cause of maternal mortality, it is evidence on how trauma manifests in mental illness and violence especially with the added stress of motherhood.  Often we create children in less than prime environments because of learned lack of autonomy for our bodies and the neighborhoods we live in.  If incarcerated while pregnant we create one of the most stressful and damaging environments for a baby to develop.  Think about it the meals do not offer proper nutrition, there are no bathtubs or even bath mats in showers, the buildings are filled with cold concrete floors, many have little to no exposure to sunlight and fresh air, and they are very isolated.  As Dr Gabor Mate stated, “How we provide supportive environment or stressful environment has a huge impact on the long term development of the unborn baby.”


                As stated before this could have been me, I too have a lot of trauma, struggle with depression and anxiety, and am still learning what healthy love is and healthy relationships look like.  The difference is I have been lucky to have found a support system and organizations that have helped me initiate healing and create changes in myself.  I have learned about the importance of things such as: self-love, emotional intelligence, healthy communication, and much more.  We need to end the cycle of violence, trauma, etc. and heal ourselves and our children.  As a mother I try to provide to other mothers: empathy, support, resources, and information.  Instead of judging mothers I attempt to learn their story, walk in their shoes, and remember that each one is doing the best they can under almost impossible circumstances.  All I can do is create support systems in my community and find creative and effective ways to distribute known resources to as many womyn and families as possible.

We are resourceful and resilient and we cannot settle for just surviving we have the capacity to heal and thrive!


Listed below are some groups in Los Angeles that I know provide resources and support for mothers and families and/or are helping with policy changes in creating alternatives to incarceration.  If you all know of more please let others know.  Thank you, we need to support one another for the good of our children and the world.

International network for recognition & payment for all caring work, and the return of military spending to the community starting with women the main care givers everywhere.

Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. As such, our work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness. The success of the movement requires that it reflect communities most affected by the PIC. Because we seek to abolish the PIC, we cannot support any work that extends its life or scope.

Prototypes’ mission is to rebuild the lives of women, children and communities impacted by substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence. We promote self-sufficiency while ensuring safety and shelter for those in need.

Our goal at the Village is to give you, our clients, and the practical lifestyle tools for taking charge of your own health. As one’s health improves, so too does the quality of one’s life. Come to one of our events and let your voice be heard. Be part of our growing community where diversity is always valued, where there is an antidote for physical and emotional pain, and where the possibility of a long healthy life is available to everyone.

Our Perinatal Outreach and Education program reaches out to women in the greater downtown Los Angeles and East Los Angeles areas to provide short-term assistance, case management, health education and support.

The mission of Un Paso Mas is to provide caring, culturally relevant services to these diverse, underserved communities. Un Paso Mas and Project Return Peer Support Network are responding to the tremendous needs in this part of the county, where there are limited mental health services and support groups.

The Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) is working to build a youth, family, and formerly and currently incarcerated people’s movement to challenge America’s addiction to incarceration and race, gender and class discrimination in Los Angeles County’s, California’s and the nation’s juvenile and criminal injustice systems.  The YJC’s goal is to dismantle policies and institutions that have ensured the massive lock-up of people of color, widespread law enforcement violence and corruption, consistent violation of youth and communities’ Constitutional and human rights, the construction of a vicious school-to-jail track, and the build-up of the world’s largest network of jails and prisons.  We use transformative justice and community intervention/peacebuilding, FREE LA High School, know your rights, legal defense, and police and court monitoring to “starve the beast” – promoting safety in our schools, homes and neighborhoods without relying on law enforcement and lock-ups, preventing system contact, and pulling people out of the system. We use direct action organizing, advocacy, political education, and activist arts to agitate, expose, and pressure the people in charge in order to upset power and bring about change. –

The mission of Echo Parenting & Education is to support and facilitate child raising rooted in connection and empathy. We teach parents, teachers and others who strongly influence children’s lives an approach that integrates current research in human development and trauma-informed care with the practice of nonviolence.

The mission of Maternal Mental Health NOW is to remove barriers to the prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County.