The Victorious Goddess
Jaïa Devi, the victorious goddess, is the name that was channeled and given to me by Swami Premananda and Kanti Devi after choosing Durga ma, the divine mother as my avatar. Kanti Devi is a direct senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, imminent disciple himself of Swami Sivananda. It is an honor to be named as such and to have taken part in this ritual that initiated my year long nomadic living / backpacking adventure through Latin America ending in the Pacific Northwest. I had to sit with it for four years before choosing to publicly live up to it. It is through my offerings that this meaningful name is used to honor the divine mother, in all of creation.
Through this lifelong process of healing and self-mastery, I choose to inspire you to reconnect to your truth and own it, unapologetic-ally!
The Medicine bus tour is my Karma Yogi (selfless service) American Dream. I've always wanted to tour around this great nation bringing my gifts to people from all walks of life. The mission is to organize empowering and healing actions within immigrants, indigenous people and secluded communities at large.
Indigenous cultural preservation and regenerative farming for women in Morocco (and globally) is my long term dream. Healing the earth, it's people and empowering the mothers of creation.
I've launched the first draft of this practice in the spring of 2011 as a small social business out of my home office in Montreal, Canada. Coming from a background of grass roots social work, I wanted to offer more, a place for healing, connection and education on sustainable living. I then started organizing educational workshops to both businesses and social agents. These workshops sometimes took the form of DIY classes that ignited a growing interest on my herbal medicine practice. This eventually gave birth to my small batch apothecary line! In the meantime, I thought yoga, meditation, dance, fitness... aiming to approach healing, holistically. Throughout this journey, I have always felt strongly about the need to democratize education and address matters of accessibility and representation. I have shared my humble understandings with under-served communities in Canada, Morocco, California and now based in Atlanta, independently.
Let me start with this: I am not a victim. My childhood was a labor of love. I do recall "seeing", "hearing" and seeking answers in the mystical realms from an early age.
People I look up to invite us to turn our struggles into purpose and to share our story. I will display the struggles that drove me here, today. My father's heart suddenly stopped beating at home in his 50s. I remember resting his head on my lap as we drove him to the hospital, a little too late. He chose to take his last breath in the comfort of his home, by his wife and children. I was 18, my brother was 13. Here goes trauma. A few months later, I obtained a scholarship to go to college in Montreal, which I called home for a while. Denial, alcohol and binge eating were my coping mechanisms for a few years. Depression was my companion. Until I came across yoga meditation and reiki. A light in my world! As I grew in self-understanding I chose to address my low self-esteem, self-destructive patterns and co-dependent tendencies.
After 10 Canadian winters, I chose to move to the US. I delved deeper into the studies of mental health, mindfulness and herbalism. I then moved on to becoming a (great, mind you) addiction counselor for the state of California, Humboldt County. I experienced a few abusive relationships, both in my intimate and professional relationships. I was also told to "go back where I come from" a couple of times, a sentence I had never heard before, and never since. Shortly afterwords, I was then laid off for xenophobic reasons...
"turn your struggles into purpose"...
the American chapter of my company took form. I went on to independently provide self-care tools to indigenous communities and people of color.
Un-documented in trump (no big cap for this one) America will isolate you. It will make you live in a state of chronic stress and constant hyper alertness. My legal battle is easing, things are settling, I am documented now... to a costly price. My health. Cancer had grown, understandably so. Chronic stress and trauma will do it. Meditation wasn't enough. Yoga wasn't enough. Reiki wasn't enough. Organic produce wasn't enough. Veganism wasn't enough. 2 years of constant hyper-alertness will do it.
Now that my legal situation is eased, I feel safe in sharing my story. I feel safe in being. I can let my guards down and heal. Hopefully it's just a matter of time before this cancer goes in remission, inshallah.
Atlanta has been treating me well and welcoming me with a warm embrace. The south has soul, makes me think of back home... feels like home.
Remember: I am not a victim. I am healing.
There is more to people that meets the eye. My struggles don't define me. They strengthened my psyche, validated my path as I grew in resiliency.
"turn your struggles into purpose"... the new chapter is in writing.
I believe that nurturing of mind, body and spirit connection is the foundation of peace and wellness and that it’s better to buy fewer things that hold a higher frequency. I see great richness in multiculturalism alongside values of respect, authenticity and compassion.
All of my offerings are accessible in English, Español, Français & الدارجة.
SUPPORT THE WORK
I offer sliding scale and trade opportunities to our people undergoing financial hardship. If you wish to sponsor a sister, a brother or my work you may send your donations through Venmo @leila-bihkak-gutierrez, Cashapp $Leilabihkakgutierrez or via Paypal >>>