Set intentions: Consciously affirm, write or visualize your intentions for cultivating healing and wellbeing for all. Now talk them out loudly, to your community, to your country and even the planet and imagining the intentions are already manifesting or happening. This process starts rewiring your inner neural pathways and can bring upon transformation at country and planetary level.
Aspart of our series about 5 Steps That Each Of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Tanvi Gandhi.
Dr. Tanvi Gandhi, ND, L.Ac has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and practices as Licensed Acupuncturist in CT and NY. Her background is in Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics from UCLA and did her research internship at National Institutes of Health. She is the founder of Shiva-Shakti Acupuncture and Ayurveda LLC, She considers herself a bridge between the ancient healing wisdom and modern integrative medicine. She is passionate about empowering her patients with tools for self-healing, self-awareness and deep restoration. Dr. Tanvi is offering hybrid practice both virtually and in-person during the pandemic. She has her private practice in Fairfield county at Barefoot Living Arts and Stamford Sound view. She is part of the Chronic Pelvic Pain group at Stamford Health, and Wellness Consultant for Transitional Living Program at Silver Hill Hospital. She is collaborating and offering virtual programming @the-Well in NYC. She is also a part-time faculty for the Integrative and Holistic Health at Graduate Institute and is continuing her professional training in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She is cocreating Divine Feminine Narrative Podcast in collaboration with Aseemkala Initiative, a non-profit organ izatio that is transforming medicine through traditional dance. Dr.Tanvi enjoys being creative in her working with sacred sounds, and in her-spare time in nature and enjoys toning, chanting, channeling meditations, sacred geometry and ecstatic dancing.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
My childhood was filled with spending a lot of time/summers by the water, which allowed me to dream, meditate, and create in nature. I grew up in traditional Indian family and was raised on vegetarian/plant- based diet and lifestyle. I was also introduced to yoga, meditation and spiritual practices early on and chanting and reciting mantras were big part of my routine.
I was good in academics and sciences but also enjoyed art, music, sacred geometry, ecstatic dancing and participation in story-telling activities. During my high-school, I also published an article on Drug/Alcohol abuse and Mental Health issues among teenagers. Most important, I enjoyed spending time outdoors, hugging/climbing trees which connected deeply with healing powers of nature.
Is there a book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz and Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. The books are about Toltec wisdom and spirituality from the generation of shamans. I was introduced to the books and philosophy around the time I traveled to Mexico 7 years ago and has significant impact on my mind, body and spiritual wellbeing. Toltecs are Native American shamans from south-central Mexico, their worldview is that we are spiritual/creative artists of our life. This idea resonates with me a lot. The reason I could not choose between the two, may be because they are deeply connected. Mastery of Love, cannot be achieved or incomplete without Mastery of Self and vice versa. From both the books, the shamanic concept of Dreaming and Vision Quest are emphasized which plays an important role in creating our individual narrative and for the planet. As a Spiritual Artists we can cocreate a New Narrative of empowerment and release old paradigms of domestication/victimization for us, our collective, and for Earth. I can understand how this ancient shamanic way is translating as the modern concept of storytelling which has further inspired me to do my professional certification in narrative medicine at Columbia University.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
Imagine/The power of imagination by Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
In order to solve a problem in calculus we need to imagine our limits to infinity. According to quantum physics, to understand the probability of electron flow/energy through a circuit we need to be able to open our mind to different possibilities. According to modern neuroscience, Neuroplasticity is a term used for brain’s ability to physiologically change, release different electromagnetic potential current in neurons, and create new neural networks, pathways etc. In life and work, I am trying to bridge science and spirituality coming together as scientist and artist to utilize power of imagination for creative manifestation and providing solutions. Two major ancient spiritual concepts that I am working with are vision quest and meditation which can be explained with neuroplasticity and understanding deep brain waves. These create new neural pathways/rewire the nervous system and help the brain to release waves at different frequency to further guide the healing, wellbeing and restoration for mind, body and spirit. I am inspired from Bruce Lipton’s book called Biology of Belief which makes these connections of belief and intentions can impact cellular physiology.
Shamanic Journey/ Vision Quest is a practice of conscious dreaming or Journey for a vision to unfold to bring clarity, guidance on to create new pathways and new narrative.
Sankalpa: It means setting a conscious intention before a meditation practice and visualizing the intention to already be true and manifesting in the present moment.
In my work, whether is virtual or hands on acupuncture or other healing modalities the most important is to involve my patients to imagine, and cocreate in their healing and wellbeing. Their participation in their own healing further opens their personal Narrative, or Individual Myth and Story connected to their illness. My job is to act as a space holder for their narrative to unfold, creating an opening, clearing, and allowing what needs to unwind, release. When peace and healing are visualized as already happening at the deepest levels in our cells and organs just like visualizing electrons increases the probability of their flow according to quantum physics.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I define leader as a one who is a visionary and leadership as a vision quest.
We need to be able to imagine the possibilities to empower ourselves and others and as any world leader/change maker, we must practice and model the change in order to bring the change!
My own personal vision quest is that we recreate a new narrative of peace, healing, compassion, reverence, empowerment for ourselves, for our nation and for our planet Earth to raise the collective consciousness. The old and outdated ways are victimizing us, no longer serves our personal, country or planetary growth and evolution. It is important to set an example for the new generation to treat each other with respect, love, kindness but it is only possible if we first offer it to ourselves. My goal is to role model the younger generation to start with place of reflection on how their thoughts and actions play an important role for their own health-wellbeing as well as for others especially during the pandemic. As a leader, visionary or change-maker I want to bring transformation in health care. It is possible if I can bridge ancient spiritual wisdom, with modern integrative medicine and the key is the science of neuroplasticity explained by mind-body-spiritual connection.
In life we come across many people, some who inspire us, some who change us and some who make us better people. Is there a person or people who have helped you get to where you are today? Can you share a story?
Nature has been my first teacher, healer, and a guide to understand ancient medicine for apocalyptic times. That is the original teaching of the Shamans, the Story Tellers, in Mexico, and Native America. In my travels around the world, especially my trip to Mexico, other parts of Caribbean and Native American reservations in United States has connected me deeply with Shamanism. I got to witness how they lived in complete harmony with nature, respecting planet Earth, and finding sacredness all the living beings. I also had opportunity to experience being in close vicinity of shamans when they prepared sweat lodge and conducted Mayan ceremony for healing, wellbeing and world peace. This has inspired me to learn and offer ceremonial ways of healing and wellbeing especially synchronizing with cycles of nature, seasonal changes and how we can support Earth and Nature during these current climate and planetary changes. I realized ceremony can be one powerful way to create neuroplasticity and bring transformation, not just at individual level but collective and planetary level.
Next one is Awakening Women, which is an online Yogini community taught by Chameli Ardagh. Being part of the community has developed my inner yogini to continue path of yoga and meditation. The 21-day Sadhanas, Spiritual Immersions are mythological narratives of divine feminine and sacredness in her manifestations. These meditations have inspired me to further create and develop my own meditative practices which I have offered it to my patients and community during the pandemic. Currently I am working on a creative podcast with Aseemkala initiative, non-profit organization that expresses divine feminine narratives in the context of traditional dance, arts and culture to empower women to realize their potential as changemakers in the world of healthcare.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a series of unprecedented crises. So many of us see the news and ask how we can help. We’d love to talk about the steps that each of us can take to help heal our county, in our own way. Which particular crisis would you like to discuss with us today? Why does that resonate with you so much?
An Ancient Perspective for Modern Apocalypse
Victimization Crises: How do we Pivot into a New Narrative of Empowerment
The ancient wisdom to honor cycles in nature & mysteries of Cosmos are emerging back in the modern times. We are pivoting or creating a new narrative of healing, wellbeing, and way of living a new life in modern times. The ancient yogic/shamanic practice of sankalpa/ vision quest involves the power of imagination, dreaming, visualizations, meditations, shifts in perceptions to create new neural pathways, patterns, myth, story, or narrative. The modern definition of Pivoting from the pandemic may be very well connected to the ancient shamanic practice of vision quest and can be explained with the science of neuroplasticity. This resonates to me a lot, because we are “Pivoting” at a crossroads of individual, national and global crises. We are turning around from a stuck, familiar, place of victimization, trauma, and moving into a new, sacred, unknown, conscious place of courage, empowerment, and compassion.
This is likely a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?
As we have discussed it earlier an ancient way to address the modern crises, is by changing the personal, country and planetary narrative. Now it is time to release the old narrative and co-create a new one! The imagery of Phoenix rising from the ashes of death, disease, destruction may be very well representative of our current crises. The old Narrative and Paradigms of Patriarchy, Racial, Social, Climate Injustice are burning away in the transformational fires of our consciousness as we begin the new decade. At the end of the last decade, many of the outdated old narratives have been brought to attention. With #me too movement, the power of feminine has been collectively rising to dismantle the patriarchy. The socioeconomic, racial, gender, climate injustice has been brought to awareness through peaceful and meaningful marches and protests. The riots represent suppressed built up energy which needs space, direction, and meaning so it can be creatively channeled. Covid19 has triggered a transformational beginning of the new decade at a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual level. It has been the catalyst to bring forth and burn our inner shadow of anger, fear, resentment, trauma, old/ancestral wounds, and patterns that take up space in our collective unconscious.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience either working on this cause or your experience being impacted by it? Can you share a story with us?
I have been sharing Loving-Kindness meditation practice for myself, my patients, and greater collective community throughout this pandemic/protests. This is inspired by Sanskrit word Maitri, or Metta which means to send the vibrations of universal compassion for all even if we may conflict with. The intention is we break through resistance, barriers, judgments as our heart opens. Also, I have led Vision Quest practice with virtual narrative facilitations using storytelling, poetry, creating art to hold space for built up energy, anger, grief, etc.
In this practice, they are guided to visualize how is their story is unfolding, becoming, narrating itself in the field of awareness and allow sacred space for them to be creative.
One of the stories I can share, is when I led a virtual group and held space for the burn/stressed out essential health-care workers from NYC earlier in the pandemic. I was able to see how just by talking about their individual pandemic stories as a group/collectively were able to experience compassion for each other irrespective of their differences. Further, they were inspired to express their own stories by being creative in various ways. They could feel their nervous system shifting out from sympathetic state of stress, fight and flight into parasympathetic state of rest.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Steps That Each of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country”? Kindly share a story or example for each.
- Set intentions: Consciously affirm, write or visualize your intentions for cultivating healing and wellbeing for all. Now talk them out loudly, to your community, to your country and even the planet and imagining the intentions are already manifesting or happening. This process starts rewiring your inner neural pathways and can bring upon transformation at country and planetary level.
- Vision Quest: Also allow yourself to go on a journey/quest walking in woods, sitting at the beach, or any other special place and be open to what is unfolding, coming up in your awareness, your conscious thoughts, feelings, sensations, images and write them down.
This opens endless possibilities, visual pathways, and strengthens mind, body, spiritual connection.
- Meditate: Loving Kindness Practice to feel self-compassion and how to relate other’s suffering in our communities, country and the planet. Try to offer love-kindness with someone-or group/community that you possibly having conflict with and see how it brings upon emotional release, healing and wellbeing.
- Release Old Story/Victimization: Be creative and express your own story where you find yourself stuck in old patterns, victimized or domestication, disease, holding patterns and allow it to release through body work, sweat-lodge, sauna, writing, art, music, poetry or any other forms of self-expression.
- Write/Create a New Narrative/Story: Imagine yourself out of victim state and into new empowered state of healing, wellbeing, restoration. Create your own soul-portrait, what you are becoming, or find a piece of art, music, that represents it. I highly recommend acupuncture, or any other mind-body-spirit modalities for further integration ad facilitation of the new narrative.
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but what can we do to make these ideas a reality? What specific steps can you suggest making these ideas happen? Are there things that the community can do to help you promote these ideas?
The way to make ideas into reality is in the power of creative transformation and manifestation. When we tell our bodies a new story, new neural pathways are generated. We can apply the same concept of neuroplasticity to tell a new story/paradigm for our country and our planet.
The Shamans call it if we create and live our personal dream we can support our community, nation and planetary dream. One of the best way to promote the ideas is connecting in sacred circles together virtually during the pandemic and hold space for collective healing, wellbeing, peace, loving-kindness, empowerment. I have been hosting virtual meditations, sacred rituals and ceremony, vision quest and narrative facilitation, you can find info on my website. You can host your own sacred circle or join others. Here are some wonderful resources.
We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?
We are going through major crises. I am optimistic that old paradigm or ways must be released or dealt with before new ways can come in. The issues of victimization crises can be addressed by bringing power back to ourselves which will be good for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health of the country and the planet.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
I would tell the younger generation that they a have power to create. They can use their creative potential to visualize a new world for them and their generation to follow. I would encourage them to go on a vision quest somewhere in the nature, may be forest, on the mountain or at the beach and meditate on a new story for their own life, for their family-lineage, communities, country and the planet etc.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!