I'm Mandy Kvyen Martini Chihuailaf.
Kvyen meaning Moon and Chihuailaf Mist spreading over a lake.
I'm a Mapuche writer and teacher. Creator of SLG, an online school and community that has helped members in over 35 countries heal from the effects of stress and trauma using Indigenous knowledge and wisdom.
My goal is to help you get more out of your one life on this Earth.
You being here supports my work and makes it possible for me to help our community in terms of contributing to legal fees, shelters for survivors of violence, rebuilding efforts, and food scarcity.
Chaltü may, thank you, for being part of this circle.
In the spring of 2016, I'd reached what felt like the end.
All those years of trying to cope with the trauma from my past: the weekly therapy, medications, meditation, self-help books- they'd been helpful.
But they only helped me live with the wound, not heal it.
On top of this, I was homeless after leaving my abusive ex husband with nothing more than gift cards I'd started stashing away months earlier from grocery stores, and trash bags in my trunk filled with the few things I managed to get with me out.
Part of me was terrified not knowing what's next, but I also felt grateful.
Two months before I got out, I'd told myself two very wise words:
And I was not only referring to the situation I was in, but also what I'd been taught to believe about my trauma.
For eight years I'd listened to who everyone told me were the experts. I'd listened when they said my PTSD was chronic, that I needed medication, and that I should learn to live with my triggers and depression.
But like when I was living with my ex, there was always a voice inside of me that kept saying, This isn't right.
I'd been numb for so long. Guess there's nothing like a good "screw it" to wake you up.
I was finally ready to listen to my own people and culture.
My great-uncle, who in 2020 became the first Indigenous writer to receive Chile's National Prize for Literature, calls what we see today, a "sickness of uniformity."
When we don't hear or see any other way of living around us, we stop questioning if it makes sense.
How I lived didn't make sense.
Neither did it for all the people who had to spend twenty, thirty, or even forty years of their lives coping and suffering with their trauma, before joining SLG.
In our community of Kechurewe (five sacred places), my grandmother and tia Maria were the healers.
Nothing like the self-proclaimed shamans you see in this culture, btw.
They diagnosed and treated members based on evidence-informed knowledge passed down generation after generation.
Knowledge that has been tested, tried, and known to be true.
Much like the other branches of Indigenous science.
I didn't know (and still don't) if that voice saying, This isn't right, was instinct, or if it came from memories of my childhood.
But I did know that as long as my body was fighting to survive from all the stress and trauma I'd been through, I would never be physically and emotionally strong enough to get me out of that house.
All that survival had numbed me and made my mind cloudy.
To escape, I would have to let my body leave the cycle of survival so that it could start to heal.
Here's a visual: imagine a knife that's cut into your arm. What's the first thing you would have to do to heal the wound? Remove it, right?
I explain it in the free mini class that you can watch here.
Anyhow, I did, and my energy started coming back, my mind felt more clear, and two months later when I saw my chance, I got out.
Then one month after I had a job; two months later I was living in a beautiful cottage with a garden; three months later I started my own business.
It goes fast when you finally let your body live instead of fighting for survival.
If you ever get a chance, I hope you'll join us inside SLG.
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