Mandy Martini has been teaching people all over the world how to heal from stress and trauma-related illnesses and symptoms, using the knowledge of her indigenous people and her own experience. She is the founder of the online school SLG and the Mari Mari Project which is named after the Mapuche greeting [Mari mari kom pu che] meaning, "We are equals." Through this project, she gives back to her indigenous and black relatives which has always been her dream.

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

My full name is actually Mandy Martini Chihuailaf which means fog over lake. I have an online school called SLG and a project called the Mari Mari Project. Mari Mari means that you are a ten and I am a ten so we are equals. Basically every time someone enrolls in the school, a part of that goes into the project and it goes to the indigenous and black communities, so it’s like a circle of life [chuckles]. I teach primitive healing. This urban and colonized way of living that we are in right now is so unnatural, so what I teach is basically helping people connect with their primitive state because we have all these instincts, and we have all these responses but we are living in this modern society which is brand new, and I just help them make that connection. It’s a lot of unlearning [chuckles], that’s why it’s a lifetime course. It’s been going on for three years now, and we have members in 35 countries so far. It’s amazing because we really don’t realize how much that impacts us but as soon as people are allowed to act on their natural responses and primal instincts, everything just changes. 

"When you remove your body from that survival mode, your body gets a chance to heal."

I have this one girl in Canada, and she had been going to the doctor for 31 years. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her since she was little. All it was is that her body was in survival mode, because that is what this system does to us, it puts us in survival mode. When we constantly try to survive, everything else gets neglected, which is why you could have a lower immune system. You get sick or depressed. You start developing all these illnesses, but when you remove your body from that survival mode, your body gets a chance to heal. 

What’s the purpose behind your teaching?

"We don’t own nature, we are a part of nature, and when you remove us and put us in this society where there is racism, medication, and everything that goes against who we are, there is a lot of trauma that comes with that."

The way we live now started two hundred years ago, or four hundred years ago, when the colonizers first came. My family is first-generation indigenous, so it hasn’t really been that many generations. My mom grew up in the tribes, and my family is also related to the chief of an indigenous community and a healer. My “tia Maria” is the healer, or the “medicine woman.” To civilize means to develop a person outside of their primitive state. Even though indigenous communities are their own civilizations, you are still removing them from their natural and primitive state pretending that we are not who we are. I’ve seen this first hand because my family lived in tribes located in remote areas, you know, by rivers and mountains. They were forced to exile because of the US government and the military in Chile and moved to Sweden which is a very colonized, white society. I saw the effects of that and how painful it is. A lot of my family members suffer from depression and have been in pain after that. We are supposed to live with nature. We don’t own nature, we are a part of nature, and when you remove us and put us in this society where there is racism, medication, and everything that goes against who we are, there is a lot of trauma that comes with that. This trauma I have seen since I was born, and then I also went through my own trauma [chuckles]. It’s just reaffirming how disconnected we are from our true nature and how much it impacts us. I teach people how to heal and go back to who they really are.

I read in your website that you are a survivor of several traumatic events, what motivated you to keep moving forward?

"There is no way people are supposed to live coping with pain."

I remember when I was really sick, I was diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD. I just kept thinking to myself, “This cannot be it.” I don’t get the whole point of coping, why should we cope? Why should we live with pain? It didn’t make sense to me. I was in therapy for eight years, and I used antidepressants on and off. All of that did nothing for me. It just helps your symptoms, but there is no way people are supposed to live coping with pain. I thought to myself, “There must be a way.” I kept reading books by white doctors who got inspired by the indigenous culture, and then they got credit for things that we had been doing for a long time in our tribes [chuckles]. This doctor actually did admit in his book that indigenous communities have known real healing for years, so something in my head went, “Ding ding,” [chuckles]. When I remembered that, and I allowed myself to release my survival mode, it all went away. That is why I get so frustrated when I see people who think that the healing journey is supposed to last for the rest of their lives. You heal, and you move on! That is the whole point of healing, but we live in a society where they need you to stay sick. Think of who benefits from us getting sick, it’s the same people who got us sick in the first place [chuckles]. It’s the people who removed us from our primitive state. They traumatized us, and then they have the audacity to charge us so much money for the “medicine” [chuckles]. 

"Anything stress-related means you are in survival mode."

There are some things that are meant for a doctor of course [chuckles], but there are certain things about western medicine which you don’t need an actual doctor for. Anything stress-related means you are in survival mode. You can do everything you want, and it will help but nothing will make it go away until your body is away from the survival responses. I had a girl who enrolled in November, and the doctors were telling her that she needed surgery because her jaws were dislocated. The first day after she signed up for the course, her jaws started cracking because of an exercise she did to release the survival response, and the second time she did the exercise, the jaws popped back into place. You have stress coming into your body, and it’s like you are holding the stress really hard, so it will start to hurt the longer you hold it. It will get tenser with time, and it will start to travel to your body and make you sick. I teach the three R’s, so it’s release, reset, and recover. First, you release those stress hormones, so your body can reset back to balance, and then you can recover. These are all logical things, but society insists on making you believe you have to be in pain forever.

In your opinion, talk about the importance of spirituality and simple living.

I think spirituality and simple living are very different things than what most people might think of it. For me, spirituality goes back to my ancestors. It means that everything that is alive around us has a spirit and energy, so animals, nature, the cosmic universe, you, and me. It’s all energy, and it’s all connected just like we are in the ecosystem. It is so important because the way we are living now removes us from that initial ecosystem. I would argue that if you live disconnected from animals and nature, then you are not spiritual at all. When it comes to simple living, it just means to appreciate and pay attention to what’s around us and recognize that we are a part of it. Simple living for me is not getting distracted by shiny objects that this modern society gives me. 

If you had to give advice to the younger version of you, what would you say to her?

I would say, “Don’t forget who you are and where you come from.”

What would you say to those who feel lost and aren’t clear about what they want?

There’s no freaking wonder that the reason people are feeling lost is because they aren’t living true to themselves. They are living away from who they are and who they were meant to be. I would tell them to start asking questions like, “Is it normal for me to be on my phone this much? Is it normal for me to sit by the TV so much? Is it normal for me to never go out in nature? Is it normal for me to take medications even though it’s all stress-related? This society only treats the symptoms but it doesn’t tell you where they come from. Stress, depression, or autoimmune diseases are just symptoms, they are not who you are, so start asking questions about why and where all of it really comes from. I have this knife and wound analogy that says, “Pretend you have a knife in your hand, so you have a wound there. You ignore it and pretend that it isn’t there. Well, eventually it gets infected, right? Then, the infection starts to spread all the way to the rest of your body. It starts to hurt your shoulders and other parts of your body, so you go to the doctor and he gives you medicine for your shoulder pain, but hello? There is still a knife in your hand!” [Chuckles]. Basically, that is how people are living. Once you remove the knife, we can release, reset, and recover. 

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