A Mother, Healer, Yogini, and Co-Founder of BlackHealersConnect
What is your personal mantra?
My personal mantra changes due to life’s phases, but my mantra for 2020 is to “Speak Life.” It’s the title of a Damian Marley song I’ve been playing a lot recently. It reminds me of the power of my words. Words are spells which is why we call the way we build words “spelling.” We are magicians whether we know it or not. It is my overwhelming hope that my words amplify life as opposed to take it away. I don’t always land on target, but the fundamental attitude shift on words helps me greatly in my day to day interactions.
How did you come to be on the path you’re on today?
It’s been a multigenerational journey! Healing and wellness have been instrumental in my overall development as a human being. I grew up in a highly traumatic environment and intergenerational trauma has been a theme I’ve navigated all of my life. I grew up in a family with substance abuse issues as well as mental health challenges exacerbated by societal constraints such as race and class. My healing journey isn’t just for myself, it’s for my family line. I am working on my own capacity to heal so that my current and future ancestors can live a more joy-filled existence.
BlackHealersConnect is such a beautiful community, how has that journey been?
It’s been amazing! Black Healers Connect is a digital and in-person hub for Black healers to connect, share skills and resources on ancestral healing and well-being rituals. The organization was founded by myself and Monica Cadena because we saw a lack of Black representation in the wellness industry, even though many of our ancestral healing modalities have been marketed and profited on, Black healers have traditionally had a difficult time maintaining visibility in the wellness arena. Black Healers Connect was created to shift this narrative.
As a person of color, how is healing a political act?
Healing is a reclamation of our humanity. People of color, particularly black people in this country, have been conditioned to not prioritize taking care of ourselves which has systemically disrupted the way we have viewed our humanity. This includes the hustle and grind culture that a lot of us have normalized because of a tradition of scarcity and lack of access to resources due to living in a white supremacist society. The history of Black Americans in this country began with slavery and oppression. Our ancestors were not allowed places of rest and healing in American society and so now we must carve out our own. When Black Americans intentionally take time to heal and pause we are acknowledging our humanity. Audre Lorde said it best “caring for myself is not self-indulgence it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I fully support Black Lives Matter and asserting to white people across the globe why we matter but I’m personality more interested in and passionate about serving black people by helping to deprogram our thinking about feeling guilty about taking care of ourselves. When Black people care for ourselves, we better equipped to taking care of the collective. I am committed to creating institutional practices that make well being accessible in our community.
How has sound been a part of your healing? Any other practices that you live by?
I come from a musical family. My family has deep musical roots both in gospel and Hollywood entertainment. Music has always been around me but many times I grew up thinking that I couldn’t sing or I wasn’t good enough to perform and I internalized that for quite some time. I still loved music and wanted to be a music producer but I thought it wouldn’t give me anything in my career so I didn’t prioritize it. I was also afraid. I can be really shy but I was afraid to share my voice with masses of people.
About 2 years ago, I decided to shift my relationship with music. The first way I did this was by changing my musical diet. And what I mean by that is being really intentional about the lyrics about the songs that I listened to and the ways the music that I listened to made me feel. This shift with my relationship with music allowed me to use music as a healing tool. Within that journey, I began delving into sound healing. I would attend sound baths quite regularly in order to get into a meditative state and to have feelings of deep rest.
The second way I shifted my relationship with music and sound is a more recent development. For at least the past 2 years, I have wanted to purchase singing bowls but I felt they were inaccessible to me due to the cost. It was more of a nice to have as opposed to an essential, so I filed it away. I never took the leap and purchased the singing bowls. During quarantine with more downtime, I started a new phase of spiritual unfoldment and have been getting way more tapped into my creative side. About 3 months ago, I purchased my first set of singing bowls and it felt like a part of spirit came home. Not only has playing the singing bowls been instrumental with my own personal healing, but I’ve also been able to share this gift with people in need of healing sound. I’ve done this through partnerships with Lifeway Kefir, EO, Yoga Journal, WellSetCo, The Healer Collective, and my own personal sound healing practice.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to heal ancestral wounds?
First and foremost, you need to do shadow work. Shadow work is reevaluating childhood trauma, connecting with your inner child, being willing to love and accept all aspects of yourself – not just what is considered “positive”. This can be a difficult and painful process because it means examining those aspects of yourself that you typically try to avoid. Secondly, honor the mothers in your family line even if they may have caused trauma and pain. We are experiencing a collective shift on this planet that includes honoring the feminine. That starts within our own ancestral lines.
Has being a mother influenced your spiritual practice?
Motherhood opened me up to a deeper spiritual practice in two ways. First, the process of giving birth and being in between two worlds is a spiritual initiation. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have more education around this pivotal experience, but giving birth is a pretty esoteric experience. Also, being a mother taught me how to assert my boundaries. I’ve grown up being in codependent relationships due to responses to my own childhood trauma. Motherhood allowed me to interrupt codependency. It has helped me with saying no and becoming more aware of my need for self-care and rest. Motherhood reminds me of how powerful I am to not only bring life into the world but to shape life and that has enhanced my work as a healer and as an overall leader.
What was a piece of advice you received that you have always cherished?
Do what you love and do it well.
Discover more about Heather Archer:
Instagrams: @thriving_with_heather @blackhealersconnect
Events: Change Alchemy: Manifesting to Thrive July 12th, 3-5pm PST
31 Yoga and Self-Care Resources for Black Yogis: HERE