Financial Wellness and Spirit Exchange

Financial Wellness does not mean that we live luxuriously. It doesn’t even mean that we live to our basic means (i.e. Pay your rent, handle your bills, fill your fridge) 
I’ve been learning more and more that Financial Wellness comes from shifting our relationship to money. 
Removing the stress, removing the anxiety, removing the depression connected to money, can only happen when we remove our attachment to it- when we begin to see the beauty of how Financial “hardship” strips you down to live in-



Find the joy and magic of this- it is medicine. Taking my doses everyday; letting it help me learn survival detached from the need for money, learn to thrive detached from the need for money.
I know how difficult it is as an artist and a cultural worker to ask for monetary exchange. It is something that does not always feel appropriate. 
I know that many times over I have felt thankful for just the exchange of feeling an individual’s spirit uplifted by my work- felt their heart open up, felt them discover clarity and truth in our exchanges. I think of the artistic works I have created and birthed into the world and how often I have not asked for monetary exchange, and usually when I have it has been to support and give to others who had contributed and given of their talents, time and energy to the manifestation of the workings. 
I am reflecting deeply on this. I understand that Money is not something that should drive our work- that it should not determine the worth of what we create in this world. I want to make exchanges yes, that will sustain my physical living, and also… I want even more to make exchanges of my work to sustain my spiritual well being. I want to feel heightened integrity in what I ask and what is asked of me in exchange.
My sacred work that I have been called to do could not be more important at this time when the world needs more room to not be driven by Monetary needs. The gap is widening between those who are pulled into poverty and those who are living in mindless luxury. And as I realize this more and more I am working to find out how to navigate my counter beliefs in a world that wants me to believe I cannot survive unless I play the game and walk the path that capitalism has created to oppress and degrade those that create spirit medicine in this world.
I have experienced and watched anxiety, depression and so many other ailments occur because of the power given to money. As I am living in a present moment where I am faced with money being able to have a stronghold on me again, I pause and I look at the beast in the eye and I know in my heart that the medicine I have cultivated to hold and protect my spirit is stronger. I’m seeking ways to shift the monetary paradigm in my own life, and I am inviting us all to take a look at ways to find freedom from financial hardship.



To all the artists and healers and cultural bearers who connect with me on this- we are together.


Mercury Stationed Retrograde Grounding Affirmation- I am Listening

I am listening.

I am taking pause to survey the lessons that are being presented in this time of uncertainty.
I am sifting through my lived experiences, the ones that have fulfilled me and made me feel connected to my purpose and also those experiences that challenged me, made me feel uneasy and understand that they have also helped me to hold true and not give up on that purpose. I am hearing the No’s and understanding they are making way for the Hell Yes’s!
I’m letting myself be told that “there is something else…something better…something meant for me… And that something may not yet exist and I have the power to create it.” 
I am reminding myself that telling myself these things is not cliché, they are simple mindsets connected to truths to live in-that help me see how important my role in this world is. I am working to value the worth of what I am here to manifest and create. I am ready to serve, using the gifts I have been granted and have been growing to master throughout my living. I am making a list of that catalogue of skills and talents that are so powerfully mine and I am offering my service to the community and the world.
I am looking at true relationships and points of deepened connection that have offered me lessons- I am reviewing what I have learned and have adopted and looking back at what I may have missed or denied as a teaching that would serve me and I am accepting all of the teachings fully now. I am aware that I have to evaluate which relationships I should keep closest- that are of true betterment exchange.
All these things are healing my wounds of lack of self worth. It is helping me shred my invitations to the pity parties that my subconscious has been planning. 
I am letting myself be present to current experiences that have jarred my existence and cleansed me of life expectations. I am sitting in them in stillness.
I am listening.

All We Want is To Be Free

I love people watching.

But today
I watched in Dumbo, in Fort Greene, in Flatbush, in Alphabet City, and in the LES-
The reality
of how


White people Live

I watched

The Freedom
in how

And I couldn’t help, but

If they valued
Living in
The Freedom
That so many of us
Long for

I wondered so deep
I had
Stop watching


Look away


Time to Take Your Medicine

To the land
She knows what healing we need
And grows it
For us to
For our ailments

I sat in the Park
In pain from living

And the plants
Made their abundance
Known to me
Awareness of how
They surrounded

So they could
Speak to me
of their medicine

Plantain Major
I am here
To ease your
Throbbing wounds
To lessen
The swell of the bites
That you have been told
To endured

White Clover
I am here
To support your breath
To lift the suffocating toxins
From inside your chest
From the lining of your throat
In the crevices of your mouth
And on the tip of your tongue
That you have been told to get used to

Ginko Trees
I am here
For your re-membering
To help you
Put back together
That were your ancestors
That is your community
That will be your children
That is the You
In whole
That you have been told to forget

I listened
And I let their
Speaking of medicine
Clear away
The ills
Of what I have
Been told
To live with

I sat in the Park
I was not alone
I was with
The land
And she invited me
to be held by
Her healing

She said
I am here
To give you your medicine
It is time for you to take it




Re-affirming Life as Spiritual Practice


My spiritual path is not just about prayer and connection to the divine- it is about learning to heal. It is not just about healing self, it is about healing family, community, ancestry and the earth we have been given to live upon. It is not just about healing, it is about re-learning cultural teachings of survival that have been stripped from our communities so we can not only live, but thrive.

A society centered in capitalism, patriarchy and white privilege does not support a society centered on spirit, because when we look to spirit we value all life, we understand that we have everything that all of us need in order to live together on this planet equally, we respect natural order and seek permission of creation for its gifts and medicines and only take when we need, we look to our elders for wisdom and to our children for guidance toward elevated learnings and value their presence in our everyday living.

When we live centered in spirit we see one another as spirit first and foremost and we see our interconnectedness- we see ourselves in one another. Spirit centers us as humble beings who see the value in everyone knowing how to grow, utilize, connect to and Love everything that has been created by a greater source.

Life is a spiritual practice. No religion, or doctrine needed.


I believe that the center of every Revolutionary Movement is the Youth, that when Young People rise up that is when the fire of the people is fully ignited. It is important that youth educators take the responsibility of supporting the growth into consciousness and understanding of the injustices in this world of our young people, and we must do this by first and foremost helping them to recognize their power and ability to make change. In the wake of the people’s rising in continued response to the most recent killing of one of our Black brothers and sisters- we as a people look deeply at the rampant Racial Injustice that still thrives in this country. We are in the midst of historical happenings as the people demand justice for the stolen lives of the multiple Black and Brown people, by Police all over the United States.

This is not new to the discussions we have had to have with our students. Youth Facilitators across the nation working to combat Police Brutality and Murder, Racial Injustice, and Institutional Racism continue to face our students, staff and their families addressing and holding sacred space for their feelings of pain, anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, hopelessness and the fear that begins to arise with these happening. Our goal with any action steps that we take should make sure our youth and community feel held- that they feel community around them that is ready to help them rise. It is important in these moments to allow each other to feel what we need to, to mourn, to cry, to take the time to speak and also to the silent- and then we need to urge one another to act. Action being as simple as conversation, and as impactful as teaching our young people how important it is for them to create elevation of the issues that impact them through their talents and artistry, through organizing as youth.


The following is a toolkit compiled to help Young People process and connect to the issues at hand, and to find ways in which they can take action:



Get Educated about the larger picture- get Informed, Research, Read, Watch, Listen and gain as many diverse perspectives as you can to learn.

**Look for other toolkits that have been made from previous happenings- the resources are abundant. Here are some:



  • Begin with the Yourself
    • Make sure you have a conversation to hold yourself and the adults of the space prior to holding space for the youth whether it be at home, school, community center
    • Let yourself be held. Let yourself be heard.
  • Create Common Ground
    • Create a set of guidelines with the youth you are addressing to talk about what they need in order to feel safe in a conversation around the occurrences with #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile and #BlackLivesMatter
    • Make sure that creation for clear Communication, Ownership of Experience, Listening, Respect and Compassion are included
  • Give Students the opportunity to share what they know
    • Before giving them all the facts, and your knowledge, allow the students to relay what they are on he ground and privy to- through their social media, the news, conversations at home, on the street, etc.
  • Clarify the Facts and the History
    • Allow yourself to be privy to the accounts of what happened in the incident that you are addressing
    • Be aware of the laws and history- help your students understand those laws and the history of this country as well (see education)
  • Be vulnerable to your experience,
    • Know that your students/children and community are there to hold you- give them the opportunity to humanize you. If you aren’t willing to share, there should not be an expectation for them to share
  • Do not be afraid of Silence
    • Give the students moments to be silent, they may not have been addressed this way before, or they are unsure/unaware of what is going on
  • Address the Trauma- Taking Care of Oursleves 
  • Create room for Individual Follow-Up
    • Youth may not be incline to share in a large group, but may want to be held in a more intimate space of processing- provide this for them.
    • Remind them that the conversation is continuous- that they can be affected at any moment, that it doesn’t have to be immediate.

Other Resources on Conversations with Youth about Racism and Racial Injustice:

ALLYSHIP (For Non-Black POC and White People Connecting to the Movement)

The Question posed by so many outside the Black community in solidarity has been what can I do to help. Although POC share similar struggles it is important to understand what it means to be an ally to #BlackLivesMatter. This toolkit is greatly geared toward creating clarity on how to do that, but these are great articles, toolkits and videos that are specifically geared to inform Non-Black POC and White Allies.

Non-Black POC Allies



White People









  • 10 Minute Actions Donate to-

1) A Racial Justice Organization of Your Choice

2) GoFundMe: Alton Sterling

3) GoFundMe: #AltonSterlingFamilyScholarship

4) GoFundMe: #PhilandoCastile Funds for Family

5) GoFundMe: Lavish Reynolds & 4 y/o Daughter (Philando Castile)

  • 15 Minute- 1 Hour Action: Get your ideas out there –  On social media
    • Write an Essay/ Blog Entry
    • Record a video
    • Post a Meme
    • Create a Digital Art Piece
  • 30 minute Action: Engage people in your life: Talk about it
  • One Hour Action: Write about it
    • Write an Essay/ Blog Entry/ Article
    • Letters to the editor or online comments on Blog Entries/ Articles that have been written
    • Letters to the family of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in Condolences
    • Letters to Baton Rouge and Minneapolis Police Department, urging law enforcement leaders to take immediate steps to investigate police conduct and avoid unnecessary force
    • Letters/ Calls pressuring your mayor and city council to address gaps in the Police Review process



  • One Hour+ Action: Gather a group of friends to create a Video, an Installation, or a Performance to share (Online, in the Streets, at your Organization or School)
  • One Hour+ Action: Get involved with a campaign to change policies
  • One Hour+ Action: Research and Take part in Direct Action (Rally, March, Forum) or Hold Your Own Gathering or Action
  • Ongoing Action: Support Demilitarizing the Police
  • Ongoing Action: Join a Local Youth Organization working to combat Racial Injustice

Read about and watch videos on police brutality and the struggle for justice across the nation facing police violence. Discuss them with friends, family, and organizations. Check out these links that are centered toward how police brutality effects Youth of Color all of the US:





The #BlackLivesMatter Music Movement

As a Arts for Social Justice Rights Organization we know just how powerful Art is to a movement. Below are sharings of Music that Artists have created to support the conversation for education, awareness and the connection of self to community that we seek to build with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.


Celebrities / Artists in Resistance and Action:

 How Youth Have Taken Action:

  • El Puente- Leaders for Peace and Justice, Brooklyn, NY “#HandsUp, My Skin Color is Not a Crime” Campaign Ongoing Photo Campaign
  • Student Protesters on the front lines in Ferguson chant the powerful words of Assata Shakur in front of the police “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to loose but our chains.”


Other References in Compiling this Toolkit:

Compiled by Jana Lynne “JL” Umipig (Creator of “The Journey of a Brown Girl” , Summer Urban Arts Coordinator of El Puente Williamsburg Leadership Center) 


Tonight, I Light a Candle

I have always known candles to be sacred. The first place I remember seeing candles was on the Altárs set by my family at home. The wom*n in my family would light them to connect to spirit, to connect with ancestors. And I remember that aside from singing at church my favorite thing to do was visit the candles lit for prayer and remembrance- I’d gleam at the ability to place a dollar in the donation box as an honoring of my lighting a candle of my own. I would pray with eyes open- looking into the flame and seeing my prayer and spirit dance around it. The other times candles fill my memories were on cakes to celebrate years of living and holding wishes for graces and abundance to be received.
 The flame of candles are sacred to me, they symbolize life- lived, protected, honored, gifted and also lost, transitioned, ascended. Tonight I light a candle- in prayer, for many lives lost asking that with their Ascension that they pull us up to rising for justice, for change, for the dismantling of a system that does not serve our communities, but seeks to keep our wounds open, so they might be infected by the poisons and illnesses of our broken society, until it kills us, again and again and again… 

Tonight, I light a candle like my living elders taught me and our ancestors before taught them. Tonight, I light a candle for the unlawful death of countless lives to police brutality, lost to systematic racism, lost to all racism, lost to hatred, lost to fear, lost to mis-understanding, lost because we have forgotten we belong to each other and that we are all spirits walking in vessels seeking and deserving of the miracles that this life has to bless us with. Tonight I light a candle and know that I will have to light many more. Tonight, I light a candle.
No hash tags. Just prayer. Just light. Justice.

Bruja Botany and My Continued Path Toward Self and Ancestral Healing



I have slowly been creating my healing path- which has required so much unpacking on my own. I never knew to ask my elders, in particular the wom*n in my family about the healing practices that they seemed to inherently know, often their ways of giving to the nurturing, nourishment and healing of our families seemed like breathing- done with ease, grace and as it was in their nature. In recent reflection and reengagement with my grandmother and my mother around my developing healing practices, I have focused in greatly on the learning of plant medicine. But often these interactions have not been the easiest to extract learning from, because as I said, their ways of healing are so matter of fact to them, they learned by the application on them from their elders before them, and since they are so far away from me now, I settle on recalling memories of their practices and the little bits they reveal to me in long conversations of me trying to find the right questions to ask to help them uncover to me their secrets of knowing.
Learning from books has been the most accessible to me in my path and sometimes it becomes a little daunting because there is so much knowledge to learn and there are not many books about Pilipino practice. However there are many books about this land, about the Americas and what medicine the land has to offer. My first book that was teacher to me in this was “Healing Herbs for Women” by Deb Soule- as I stumbled upon it at a used book store and within the first 2 pages I knew why I have been in such wonderment of plant medicine- “Herbs offer us hope, beauty, and healing and give us the opportunity to create an intimate relationship with the Earth- one based on mutual respect, care and Love…too many of us have been uprooted from our homes, our motherlands, our blood ancestors and their traditions. Making relationships with plants and trees reunites us with Earth and reminds us to acknowledge the women who went before us and gathered herbs on the land we now walk on.” I felt held by this affirmation and I began to find clarity in learning from this Land that I am settler on, and in connection also learning from my living elders and recalling memories of the herbs and plants that I grew with as a child growing up in Hawaii in an Ilokano house hold. I was reading so much, and did not know how to fully decipher the plants I was learning, or where to begin finding them and what the protocols were in relationship building.
I believe that at the root of all things whether created or grown- is medicine. The base of all elemental beings is meant to heal us, and create balance to our existence, all that is water (tubig), air (hangin), fire (apoy) and earth (lupa) is connected to our bodies’ wellness and sustenance, to its healing and its thriving. I believe this and have invested in my own journey to create opportunities for learning and understanding this holistic healing more and more.
So I opened myself, and also began to extend an invitation to sisters around me to learn with me, and to grow in understanding. At Harriet’s Apothecary I reconnected to a powerful sister Heidi López who also had begun her healing path with plant medicine and she began to invite in my mind and body and spirit the need for a teacher, for a school in botany. And I began being very intentional in the conversations I was having with my grandmother and mother, as I mentioned, working to ease them into teaching me their about the plants and herbs I watched them both grow and cook and apply for healing in their raising of me. But I still was seeking a teacher, a mentor, a guide- and one that I could afford in this beginnings of my journey.
And then by the grace of the Universe a friend sent me an invitation to join a gathering with Brujas- an uptown/Bronx based all girl skater group who was hosting an Intro to Botany course, the base of the learning being about the plants in Manhattan that are available to us- and would include the learning of practical uses. It also was financially feasible to my current situation- I was more than happy to accept the invitation. I entered the course with pure openness and wonderment and ready to be a student to this process.
This was the declaration I wrote for myself with intention of beginning the course:
“My intentions for my journey in learning plant medicine is also to understand and grow in my relationship to the lands I live and occupy in my continuous journeying and settling throughout my life. Currently I am a body, a being, a settler taking up space, energy and resources in the land originally known as Mannahatta, originally inhabited by the Lenape peoples. My intention is to give gratitude to the land and the spirits that protect and hold and sustain the sacredness Mannahatta and in sacred exchange I want to learn more from all that lives and grows around me so I might honor my co-habitation with them. I feel so blessed for this privilege to learn, and tonight I pray with the deepest gratitude. My eyes, my heart, my mind, my spirit are open to seeing the power, the medicine and the magic of the plants that provide richness to this land.”
I arrived on the first day to meet Antonia Perez, who I have been so humbled to have been our guide and our teacher on this journey. I have so much to say about the foundations she has built for my forward exploration of the medicines of the land of Mannahatta and also of the remembrance of medicines of my ancestors and the motherland I long for. My reflections and my learnings were deeply around the sacredness and abundance that the Earth provides for us. One of the first things Antonia shared with us is that the plants grow in medicine of what the people need for their wellness- like red and white clover that helps with our bronchial and respiratory wellness and aids with fevers as the city’s air can create imbalance in our wellness of breath.  She let us know that the earth grows what will aid the people that live upon it. In reflection I thought on the malunggay (mornings) tree and how it’s leaves and pods are filled with such richness of vitamins and nutrients and aids  in malnutrition and its wood is strong for building- so our people on the Philippine motherland can live off of its medicine, it’s nourishment.  The other day I visited my sister Renee after her play production and the smoothie place we went to was selling moringa as an added “super fruit” for an extra $2.00 to your drink. I thought then how absurd it was that something that grows so abundantly and freely on our motherland and I remember my grandmother growing in her garden in Hawaii would be exploited this way. Just like many of our own herbs growing freely here in Mannahatta- dandelion, plantain, mugwort, nettles, mulberry and juneberries trees being sold at Whole Foods and herbal specialization stores for so much. Why should wellness be so costly, why should we not all understand and learn to live off the land and understand the abundance that it provides.
Antonia helped me to delve deeper into this inquiry and I was so humbled by the amount of knowledge giving she provided. She not only helped us to learn the practicalities of the plants we met and also showed us ways to use and extract their medicine in food, teas, oils, and salves, but she brought in the spiritual connection and exchange that comes with looking to our plants to give to our living. On our first day she taught us how to listen deeply to what the plant has to give to us, by using all our senses, what does it say in how it visually grows, how it smells, how it feels, how it tastes and also the sounds of rustling and blowing with the wind. She taught us protocols of asking for permission and giving tobacco to the spirits of the plant and the ancestors for gratitude and exchange. Although she did not say this was what she was doing- she taught us to pray to the plants, pray to the land, to be filled with humility by the magic and power and divinity of each plant being. On that first day I remember a very special moment where a red tailed hawk flew over us, and she took pause and invited us to understand that this was a gift, that the ancestors were happy for our gathering. I knew right then I had arrived exactly where I needed to be.
For 3 weeks she brought us on a deep journey of remembering, relearning lost knowledge. She awakened my senses to enhance my awareness of healing all around, putting names and meanings to the wonderment I have felt of the earth- the way I have been so connected to the trees and the greenery and the mountains. She made meaning of my feelings, she brought truth and affirmation to begin my path of deepening relationship to plant medicine. And we learned not only about the medicine of the earth, but about the medicine of the body, and how connected our re-membering of earth is re-membering of our physical, mental and spiritual self. Wellness of land supports wellness of self. Understanding the miracle of land to nourish helps us understand the miracle of our body to receive, and to heal from its offerings and in turn we learn to care for the land and our beings with more awareness and deepened respect and love.
My conversations with my grandmother and mother around their practices and what they grow and know of plant medicine and nourishment has also become another entryway for our relationship to expand. I feel that connecting with them this way has been a new way of speaking to my ancestors through them, to learn what they have been passed down of ancestral knowledge and understandings, to become a bearer of the past remembered. They also have been so joyful in my inquiry, they never thought I’d want to know, they didn’t think I needed to know. We all should want to know, we all should see the necessity in knowing. This awareness can only strengthen our ability to love the land, the sky, the waters of the earth in connection to loving our families, our community, ourselves.
To say the least, I am thankful for this beginning and for what Antonia has given me to initiate a deepening of my relationship to plant medicine, but “Thank You” would not be enough to express my gratitude for the guidance that was offered in abundance by this sacred being. Antonia- every gathering left me full and held me in nourishment, nurturing, and upliftment. The intention of every moment we shared and your openness in answering my many questions with such care, and the material gifts you presented us in every gathering has been tremendous. You are a gift to the world and to exchange with you has been an honor.
I continue my journey, with openness and hope for future guidance from other teachers who are willing to share in this knowledge for survival, for deepened relationship to the land, for healing of self, family and community and for the gratitude and love of what the Earth provides for our wellness and the way we understand and honor nature’s gifts of medicine and magic. I will share all my learnings with those in my life, who I encounter and who choose to exchange with me and hope it will give us all the opportunity to grow and deepen our understanding of self in relation to all living things in balance, in healing.

My Prayer and Invitation to Exchange with Intention to Learn, Grow and Better Self and Other in Moments of Human Ignorance

Disclaimer: I understand that everyone in every moment will come from where they are coming from to arrive in exchange with me, and this is my prayer in expression of self wholly and an invitation for anyone who holds me dear to them, to arrive in exchange in a way that will allow for healing. It is an invitation to let folks know that I know I am ever learning and that I have patience with that process as I become more and more who I am in this world and I honor that in all of us. This is my way of saying, “Homies, I’m down to be “called out” so please do, but I’m open, so it doesn’t need to inflict more pain for either of us,  it doesn’t need to because I will hold your truth, I will listen, I will learn.” Please see me in this with patience and purpose.

My Prayer and Invitation to Exchange with Intention to Learn in Moments of Ignorance-  

In my moments of ignorance Dear Ones, please invite me to a space of knowing rather that shaming me of my unknowing. Offer compassion and allow me to humble myself to learn and to grow in expansion of my understanding of the world through your eyes, through your experience, through your spirit. And please open yourself to understand my journey as one that authentically wishes to know, to heal, to remember and to better self.
I am open to exchange. I am willing to hold this space when approached with connection in humanity and the divine in me with the humanity and the divine in you-as sacred, and I will invite you to hold this sacred space of exchange with me, with great Love and deep Care.
Don’t call me out,

Rather- invite me in.

Don’t put me on blast,

Rather- hold me in my humility to learn

Don’t tell me what it is

Rather- exchange with me understanding, open me to learning, offer me your knowing to expand my own.
Let us rise together in the convergence of the bearing of our individual truths.
We are ever learning life, let us gift one another with the blessing of learning from each other.
I think it’s important that we recognize when we are being divisive. How can we invite others into a conversation around our valued perspectives and join us to reflect in exchange about how our experiences have served our growing? I have observed, experienced and also in past moments contributed to conversations where my own or another’s experience is hailed over someone else’s. But in my current space of self work and self healing I have made the intention to not contribute to this negativity anymore.
We are all walking our own paths, and experiencing what upliftment, understanding and growth of living looks like for us. We often walk in ignorance in this journey, and that is okay to begin in this, because we are constantly learning to be human and it is so complex. Ignorance does not have to be something we remain in. We can be open to receiving insight and knowledge that has been gained by another walking an entirely different path. How can we invite each other to understand this fully, and to have compassion and even joy in inviting others to see the world through your lens? And how can we humble ourselves to accept invitations to shift lenses that are shared with us beside our own? Many truths can live harmoniously beside one another.
I seek to see how often I can allow for myself to accept this rather than deny another’s experience for favor of my own, especially when we at core of our living seek the same outcomes of betterment of all humanity.