#221 Homeopathic medicine, spiritual journeys, and healing with Indigenous healer Asha Frost
In this episode we welcome Indigenous medicine woman and best selling author, Asha Frost, to speak with us about homeopathic medicine, spiritual journeys, healing, and more! Asha is a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and has a BA in Psychology from the University of Guelph and a degree in homeopathic medicine. Her book ‘You are the Medicine’ is full of powerful teachings and has guided thousands. Today we learn about Asha’s path through Indigenous medicine, racism, creative ways to heal yourself, spirit animals, and much more! Asha is an incredible mentor and she also leads us through a moving guided journey, and gives us some great perspective into mental health.
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SP: COVID has affected us all and with all the negativity surrounding it, it’s often hard to find the positive, but one of the blessings it has given us is the opportunity to build an avenue for creating change. Starting right here in our community discussing topics that affect us most such as racism and health care, maintaining a positive mindset, creating change the importance of advocacy, and the many lessons we have all learned from COVID. If you or your organization are interested in speaking engagements, send a message to [email protected], reach out on Facebook @kwadcast or online at drkwadwo.ca
KK: Welcome to Solving Healthcare. I’m Kwadwo Kyeremanteng. I’m an ICU and palliative care physician here in Ottawa and the founder of ‘Resource Optimization Network’. We are on a mission to transform healthcare in Canada. We’re going to talk with physicians, nurses, administrators, patients and their families because inefficiencies, overwork and overcrowding affects us all. I believe it’s time for a better health care system that’s more cost effective, dignified, and just for everyone involved.
KK: Kwadcast nation, welcome back! We got a great episode with Asha Frost, and I tell you this, this one was extremely moving. We talked about ways of healing thyself, looking at creative ways to not only bank on conventional methods of healing, but also looking at spirituality, looking at our mental health, the mind body connection to create healing is tremendous. We go into some of the indigenous ways that could improve our overall health, we go through a guided journey, which as you’ll hear was extremely moving from my perspective, I was a little verklempt after that one. Then we talked about we talked about racism, we talked about our own experiences within healthcare, she tells her story about being treated like an animal, within the emerge our own experience not that long ago, which I think a lot of people need to hear. It’s tough to hear, but it’s just another reinforcing message that we got work to do. So, looking forward to you guys hearing that. Before I forget, please check out our new substack kwadcast.substack.com. We have all our jam on there. We put all our jam on there, our newsletter, previous episodes, we’re all in on substack. Video, video messages, our community chat, you could chat we have a chat community on there too. So please check it out. You guys gonna love it. It’s a better way of us staying connected. So, without further ado, check it – Asha Frost. Kwadcast nation, man this is a real privilege today, folks. It’s a real privilege today because we got Asha Frost, who honestly, I just met in November. We were both that ‘Impact’ live, amazing event put on by Meghan Walker. Your keynote, everybody was talking about this bad boy. I got to connect with you backstage. Show me your book, all the magical things that you’re doing. I was like, she’s got to come on the show folks. Asha’s got to come on the show. So welcome to the kwadcast.
AF: Thank you. That’s quite the introduction. Thanks for having me
KK: Oh, man! It’s the least I could do after all the magical stuff you’re doing Asha. Seriously, this is an exciting show for me. So maybe, to give context to why you’re doing all these workshops, the book, the essays, I think a lot of it comes from your personal experience. So maybe just tell us a little bit about how you’ve gotten here.
AF: Sure. So, I’d say my healing journey started when I was 17. I was diagnosed with lupus. At that time, doctors didn’t really know a lot about lupus and the antibodies that were positive in my bloodwork really were like quite serious. So, they were saying ‘You’re gonna have to go on medication for the rest of your life, you’re might not have children, you might not live a long life’ and of course, as a 17-year-old, I was really scared. At that time, I lived in a really, I’d say, non diverse town. So, there weren’t a lot of indigenous people. My grandparents had been in residential school, I had been colonized away from our medicine ways or away from our ways of healing and knowing and being. So of course, I thought, oh, we’ll try the medication. So, I did, and I got so many side effects from the prednisone and the anti malarial drugs. So I knew there had to be a different way. I went to university and at that time, I got really sick because of the stress of university, and somebody said, why don’t you go see naturopath. That sort of opened up everything for me, I saw naturopath at about 21. Then I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, there’s a remembering of myself and my blood and my bones calling me back to these ancestral ways of knowing and the earth’ and I had to uncover that. That was like the beginning of my journey just going on this. It’s always just been ‘How can I heal myself?’ and then, of course, as I heal myself, I share that with the world. So that was the beginning.
KK: Wow, wow. So really, unfortunately, having a relatively serious diagnosis at a very tender age of 17. Going through the conventional treatments, were you finding you were getting better when you were taking the conventional meds?
AF: Not really, I’d say, no, it made me so much sicker. I just I’ve had new symptoms that I wasn’t experiencing with the lupus symptoms. So, it wasn’t making me better. I thought, well, this doesn’t feel like it and maybe if I tried it longer it would have, but it just didn’t feel like a really good exchange of I’m taking these and I’m feeling worse in my body. So, it wasn’t helpful at the time, I have subsequently taken little small doses at times that have been helpful, definitely. But at that time, it wasn’t helpful.
KK: So you walk through this, this journey and will really having an incentive to heal thyself, like really looking at ways to heal thyself, and going through natural paths and so forth. What came of it? what was it mostly, nonconventional medications, was it meditation was a nutrition what changed for you? And was it effective?
AF: Yes, so I saw a naturopath who was amazing at homeopathy. She prescribed a remedy. It was all so new to me and I thought, this is kind of neat and she told me ‘this is going to match your physical symptoms, but also your sort of personality, your essence, your emotional body’ it really looked at the whole being, and it made sense to a part of me. I remember taking that that remedy, and my hair was falling and at the time really bad, and that got better. I remember my joints were really achy and not got better. So, I got really interested in lit up by homeopathy. It actually inspired me to go to school for homeopathic medicine, because it helped me so much in my own journey that I thought ‘I want to offer this to others’
KK: Wow. So basically, you wanted to help create that magic for other people. You saw how the homeopathy improved your quality of life, and improved your symptoms, and wanted to create that. That loveliness for the greater for the greater masses. How has that journey been? when it came to getting people healthier – how’s that been for you?
AF: I loved having a private practice. I loved sitting with people, I loved holding space for their highest vision of who they were. Everybody I feel like we are sort of conditioned to feel like there’s always something wrong with us, you know that everything over the messages are always coming at us that there’s something wrong with us. I believe that my private practice held space for the truth that you have this vital force, you are divine, how can we just remind your body? how can we remind your spirit? so my practice ended up turning into like a homeopathic practice. But then of course, I started to weave in indigenous ways of being and knowing and indigenous healing because that’s who I am at the core. That’s what I was discovering about myself. So, it was a combination of spiritual healing and then the homeopathic medicine.
KK: I think that’s what really attracted me to what you were what you were throwing down, was this the ‘spiritual’ component adding that indigenous side. Who you are to a healing practice and delivering it to patients. I must say, as ignorant as possible. I have no idea what that would look like. I have no idea not only what it would look like, and just the impact it can have. So, walk us through the potential and what treatment would look like, what the outcomes could be. I mean, I don’t know if you need to give a specific case, but just give us a sense of what the potential is from your practice?
KK: Well, I tend to attract a lot of people who had anxiety or depression. That was like a lot of mental health that tended to come through my practice. So, people would want to get off meds, like anxiety meds, or depression meds, and we would just do that with their doctor, they would be tapering, and then this homeopathy would support sort of their tapering off and bring them back to sort of that truth that they do have something within the MEK and help them balance themselves and come back to that healing. So, I saw a lot of a lot of folks with that. I saw a lot of folks with autoimmune conditions because that’s what I lived. So, I tended to know a lot about that. I’d say that people’s arthritis got better. Their fatigue got better. They their movement was better; they just had more ease and grace in their lives. I think, on the spirit level, they felt more connected to who they were, and for some reason, that just trickled down to their physical body. So, they would feel more connected to themselves through guided journeys, or meditations, or I would do hands on healing. They would come home to that truth, but they have power, they have presence, they have medicine, and for some reason that like switching on that light bulb really helped people.
KK: That’s amazing. We talk a little bit about on the show, that whole mind body connection, how it’s all tied, how you feel, how you’re doing upstairs affects your body and your ability to heal and to get better. I’m just really interested to hear what its like to walk through the term, how did you phrase it again, you’re walking journey? Your guided meditation? what does that look like?
AF: Yeah, so from an indigenous perspective we really believe in the power of dreaming and visioning and quiet because that’s when you can hear spirit. So, getting somebody in that state of quietness, when they’re listening to their own connection to spirit was so powerful. So, what maybe animal spirits might come in to help with medicine that they want to offer, or it might be their ancestors, or their grandmothers or their guides. So, there was a lot of spirits support, helping people and then some of the sorts of techniques that were used were of a shamanic. I’ve taken a lot of training around like shamanic enters, there’s a lot of energy healing energy work, that would shift some of the blockages maybe for a vital force to flow through more effectively. It always came back to that person, again, like sort of seeing and remembering, oh, my goodness, I can do this, like, I have sovereignty in my own being and body. I have I have power, because I think sometimes in the medical system, we can sometimes feel like we don’t. Our power, we kind of give it over to say, ‘well, you have all the answers’ and that might be true. They might have answers, but we have answers to.
KK: Yeah, we have an ability to call on to contribute to our own healing. Right. I mean, like I said, this is not the typical approach to medicine, I’ve been practicing almost for 20 years. We don’t often add a spiritual component and, and, and so forth. Do you like how the results been in your practice? Asha, when you add these elements, on top of everything else that they’re receiving? How do you feel the response has been?
AF: Well, I no longer practice privately anymore, but I had a practice for 15 years, and it was really busy. So, the word of mouth was always really, really strong. I was booked solid with a waiting list. I would say the results were really, really amazing. People tend to leave my space, just feeling uplifted and feeling better. So, I wish I could quantify that with like, you know, we had this many cures or whatever that is, but I think that’s the difference between being healed and being cured. I think we look for a cure, but we kind of forget about, what kind of healing leaps have we made? how much more satisfaction do we have in life? how much more peace do we have in our heart? how much more gratitude and joy is emanating from our system and ourselves? I think those things are maybe not measurable, but they are really important.
KK: Oh, man. Absolutely. I think especially now, I feel like this is so valuable coming up, post pandemic where people were from a spirituality perspective, from a mental health perspective, just beat down. We’re seeing the resurgence, unfortunately, of so many ailments, which is obviously very complicated because of lack of access to care, people weren’t getting screenings, and so forth. This is something that I feel like could be so valuable to so many. I think one of the magical things that you’re doing ashes is, is creating that at scale now, you’re really trying to make this accessible to not just a patient in front of you, to everyone. So how are you doing that right now?
AF: So, I closed my private practice maybe four years ago now. At that time, I wanted to bring all these teachings online. I created like a global membership with indigenous teachings and healing. I loved doing that. So that really like scaled up the folks I was able to touch. At that same time, I got a book deal by through Hay House, and that has just expanded my reach, I think, to all the people that I can touch with my words. Writing that book is just it’s so interesting, because you write this book, and this little cocoon was in the pandemic, my littlest was two, and they were home. It was kind of a disaster, but I put myself in this little cave. I wrote this book. I didn’t realize I didn’t really think ‘Oh, these words might actually touch people, oh, these words might actually be shared by people’ I just kind of thought I’m gonna write this, put this out there. Now it’s rippling out way bigger than I could have ever imagined. It’s just rippling out in so many ways. That’s the most important thing for me is that people remember who they are. They’re touched by my words and it kind of ignites something within them. That was my intention for the book was that they could see that that presence that they are, it’s called ‘You are the medicine’ that they are the medicine, they carry medicine. And they can share that with other people too because we need that message shared, I think.
KK: Absolutely. Absolutely. Obviously, the book is out you do public speaking engagements. I saw also you’re doing workshops amongst folks, walk us through that, is it small workshops? Is it organizations? who are you seeing?
AF: Yeah. So, for the longest time, when I was in my private practice, I did healing circles. That was a way that my medicine was shared. I was doing a lot of those probably hundreds and hundreds of healing circles. Then when my book came out, actually last year, it came out last March. Folks begin to ask me to come and speak to bigger audiences. So, it’s lit me up. So huge, so yeah, it’s some like health conferences. People really need healing right now, so people are asking me to come and do like opening ceremonies as an indigenous person to offer some messages around like cyclical living. It’s really the vibe of healing. Everybody just seems to need it. So, I’ve been invited to do that and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do in like a bigger scale. So, it feels so in alignment, I hope it continues, because it’s really something that lights me up. But yeah, those workshops, you know, I do smaller workshops, during the pandemic online as such, that’s how we connected so I was invited to a lot of people’s programs to share, and to offer that healing component to their work too. So, I love being asked into spaces.
KK: What are the principles that happen there? When we’re doing a healing practice or speaking to the masses is it is it a matter of ‘Hey, folks take more time to be with yourself and, and or listen to this guided meditation’ what’s some of the take homes people leave with when they when they hear Asha throw down?
KK: So many times I speak of the medicine meal because our traditional medicine meal speaks about the importance of the whole system. So, I’ll take us through the way of living seasonally and cyclically and listening because we are Earth. All of us have been colonized away from that that truth that we are we do live seasonally, and we go through our highs and our lows, and the world wants to tell us ‘no, you have to be hustling all the time’ and then we end up in burnout. So many of my messages are around because I’ve had to do it myself. How do I come home to the medicine of rest? How do I come home to the medicine of listening? all the things that the world pulls us out of my message tends to be around that and I love working with animal spirit medicines. The animal teachings those are brought a lot into my teachings and then we always do a guided journey. I have done this with thousands of people. I can say that almost everyone that I’ve ever worked with has seen an animal spirit or they’re able to see sensor I do believe that I can hold a space somehow that can get people visioning and get people into that space where they’re connecting to something greater than themselves.
KK: Wow. Wow. So how do how do people get in more in tune with resting and listening? How do we get more in tune with our seasonal aspects of life?
KK: Such a good question, I think it’s really hard. I think the first question to ask ourselves is about our relationship to the systems. how has colonization impacted us? How has the patriarchy How is capitalism? just feeling the impacts of that collective energy and how we’ve marinated in it, it’s just sort of an acknowledgement and validating ‘Oh, right, we come by this honestly’ because we were born into it. And this is like the, the energy that’s up all the time. There’s a lot of unwinding. Especially if you have ancestral wounding, or generational trauma that is connected to a lot of the folks that I work with do have. So, we have to dive deep into that healing and say, ‘our ancestors did this so we don’t have to anymore’ We can take that like labor off of our back. We’re allowed to invite in rest and ease and abundance and it’s hard for folks of color to really lean into that, because our cells are telling us something different. It’s a lot of journeying, reflecting, going into our dream time, I think it’s like simple of just like rest actually going to bed earlier to say ‘Oh, my dream time is here, It’s going to offer me some medicine and some wisdom’ Can I allow myself to have that? So might be like sound kind of strange but to me, going to bed early during this winter season is a way that I receive so much wisdom.
KK: I mean, it makes sense. It’s a time to hibernate, recharge, with the sun going down that much earlier there’s a lot of a lot of things pointing towards being more restful during that time. The other question? this might be a tough one. I’m putting you on the spot here. What’s the guided journey? I don’t know if we could do one or if that’s too difficult. I want to get a sense; I think our listeners will get the chance to showcase Asha skills. You know?
AF: I would love to.
KK: Yeah. If you’re interested, let’s drill down.
AF: Definitely, we’re talking about rest, we’re gonna set the intention for this journey, to connect with an animal being so you know, we talk about spirit animals or animal spirits. We want to do this in an appropriate way where we’re appreciating this animal. So, I’m just going to start by saying whatever comes forward to you, to trust what you get, to trust if we’ve not worked together before, your spirit knows. Then in a way after, when the animal comes to honor it with deep gratitude, because it’s an important practice and teaching. We’re gonna start with closing our eyes and if you’re seated, you can just feel your feet on the ground. We acknowledge the earth beneath us, the land beneath us. Just feel the land beneath you. I’m going to acknowledge that I’m on the lands of the Anishinaabe. We are still here. Feel the spirit of the land and all that it’s seen and experienced, rising up through your feet, warming you comforting you, grounding you, with every breath you take. Today we ask for all of the beings that wish to support and guide and surround us to be present here. We call upon the sacred door an opening to the spirit world. The store is shining with golden light and around the light. There’s this rainbow light. We feel this rainbow light spark ling and shining so bright. But as you walk towards it today, it flushes and washes upon you. Washing over you and you begin to feel sparkles of reds and purples and violets, greens and golds, pinks and turquoises in your own cells and tissues for you our prismatic being shining and sparkling here. As you walk through, you see the land beneath your feet, your feet are bare, and you sink your feet into the soil, squishing your toes with every step. You continue walking, feeling yourself being led down this path and in the distance, there is an ancient forest. The forest looks so inviting the trees and the plants that are here are familiar to you in some way. You walk yourself over to this forest. As you step in, you breathe and the medicines that are here. The medicines that are perfect for your body and your spirit today surrounds you. With every step, you walk in deeper, the forest gets a bit darker, surrounding you with care, holding you with love. As you walk deeper, we set that intention. That intention for the animal spirit that is helping us the most right now to appear in some way. As you are closer, there’s a clearing where the sun is peeking down through the trees. As you walk closer, we asked for that animal to become clearer, more powerful, and to appear for us in some way. Notice what you see, listen to what you sense or feel. who arrives for you? Trust this animal gets closer to you. You ask them ‘why are you appearing for me right now? What are you here to remind me of that I have forgotten about myself?’ and do you listen. You ask this animal ‘What is the word that I need to carry with me in my heart? The word that will remind me of who I am this year?’ and you listen. This animal becomes really sparkly, it wishes to align with your energy. You step into this light, and you feel this rush of light source through your mind body and spirit. The medicine of this animal dropping in tear being you feel that message in your heart that it was just to offer you. You feel yourself walking back out of that forest with that message from that animal making your way all the way back to that path where you started carrying that animal medicine with you, honoring it with gratitude and love and moving it all the way back to the door. Taking a breath here, the animal places a gift in your hands so that you may remember them that you are walking with them. You walk through that door and then you breathe yourself back into your space. Feeling your feet on the floor feeling the lands beneath your body and when you feel ready you can open your eyes. Welcome back.
KK: Wow. Wow, that was quite an experience.
AF: what did you see? if anything?
KK: It was some form of bird, a hawk or something like that. The message was like love, just focus on love. Past me in terms of an object image just some rocks, but yeah, love. Bird, love, rocks. That was moving.
AF: Yeah, it’s always is different based on the energy that I’m sitting with. But today, the animal really said, ‘I want to come into your heart’ So when you doubt your path, or you forget who you, place your hands there and just activate that energy there. I got a big moose. I got a moose. So, that was beautiful, but it was just really to remember that like they are here for us, to remind us to come home to ourselves. You can honor that Hawk in some way. Get your kids to make a little altar for it.
KK: Absolutely. It’s funny as you were saying, animal I was thinking Lion. I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about lions lately. A lot, too. I thought that’s where I was gonna go. But the image that came to me as you were speaking was a hawk. It was a bird was substance.
AF: You know, for the listeners, I know everybody the questions ‘what does it mean?’ Right? And there are different ways you can look up. The first question I’d ask myself is ‘what does it mean to you?’ Right? What does that animal? How does that animal move in the wild? What strengths do you think that animal has? How does it carry itself? All those things are the medicines it’s bringing you. Then of course, you can look up on Google if you want to see like, what is the animal spirit? Next year, I’m doing an Oracle deck that will have all the animal cards in it so that I can say you can look at my Oracle deck and see what they mean. But right now, there’s a couple of books ‘Animal Speak’ by Ted Andrews is really good, too.
KK: Wow. It must be pretty powerful. Doing this in a group setting. I’m curious to hear what people like the feedback that you get after having such a amazing, guided journey.
AF: Yeah, people always, it’s something I know because I’ve practiced so many times and edit so many times that it’s opening up some sort of portal to some sort of different understanding and people always come back touched. So that’s a common people say they feel touched or like part of their spirits moved.
KK: I mean, I’ll be honest with you, that’s how I’m feeling at this time. Touched. Something changed. So, thank you, Asha, for allowing me to be part of that. That was something. If you hear a little bit me being a little off. It’s because I am a little off. After that, was emotion. It’s a bit vulnerable. Why love? Why the hawk? It’s, it’s clearly something that was needed. Once again, thank you. Asha.
AF: You’re welcome.
KK: I can’t remember if it was at the conference, at the conference or, or another time, but, you know, we often talk about systemic racism and the experience of being a person of color when it comes to being treated as a patient. I wonder if some of this ties into your experience, and I don’t know if you’ve had any, any experience that made you really concerned about how systemic racism affects our people?
KK: Yes, I had one incident. It’s so interesting, because I doubted myself for so long, I gaslighted myself for so long thinking of that was nothing but then when I had the capacity to think about it, it was it was definitely something. My eldest was two at the time. I remember just, he wasn’t a good sleeper. So, I was really overwhelmed and burnt out and I got a really bad pneumonia. I was caring for him, I kind of left it a little bit too long. By the time I got to the hospital, I couldn’t breathe at all. It was very serious. In the wintertime, I always wear my mukluks because that’s what I wear. I think I probably had beaded earrings on when I went to the hospital. They put me in a corner, which I understand lots of people have had that experience. There’s not room and all of the things but I was there for a really long time considering I couldn’t breathe and I was really, really struggling. Then when the doctor finally came in in the middle of the night he said to me, he looked at me and he said to me, he knew I couldn’t breathe. And he said, ‘How much alcohol have you had to drink? And do you have a home?’ Those were the first things he said to me. So, he didn’t ask me how I was doing or what I was struggling with. I think I was so shocked by that, that I just I froze, I said ‘Yes, I have a home with my husband and my son, and I haven’t drank any alcohol’ I sat with that probably for a good six months, not really knowing what that meant. Then, you know, it sticks with you. So, I started speaking about it, because at that time, that was like 2014. But indigenous, I feel like we’ve been so invisible across Turtle Island. That continues to happen. So, it wasn’t really until the children were found her in the residential schools that people released her talking about some of these issues. So, I held on to it for quite a while before I really started writing about it and sharing about it. Of course, people are shocked and they say ‘how, like, how does this happen?’ the truth is, it happens all the time, every single day. Oftentimes, I think indigenous people just feel like we just suck it up, like, well, that’s just part of who we are. That’s what everybody thinks we are all about. So, we don’t speak on it, because it’s, nobody’s gonna hear and listen to us.
KK: What you’re describing I’m sorry, you experienced that. I’ve seen it firsthand. Okay, folks, I’ve seen this s**t firsthand whether I was med student in Edmonton, whether it was being a trainee or staff person in Ottawa, you name it. This, unfortunately, that attitude towards racialized folks was, but especially when I’m talking about with indigenous population is a reality. I talked many times, the episode we did with Mike Curlew about Sioux Lookout, not that long ago, have segregated hospitals, running out of medication, running out of sedative medications, antibiotics in our own country. Yes, we have been increasing the awareness, which is great. In terms of these issues, like George Floyd, the residential schools, you’re hearing a movement and you’re seeing that push towards diversity, inclusion, and equity, and so on. But I’ll tell you this, this is not enough. I’ll just say, we’re moving in the right direction, but it is not enough. These attitudes are deep seated. They’re systemic. From my perspective, maybe I’ve got a little bit of edge here, but it’s like no more. No tolerance for this s**t. I am just done. I’ve been in those experiences to Asha, where you, you question? ‘Oh, maybe it’s not really me, or maybe its what I was wearing’ I’m now at this stage. F**k that. I’m sorry. No, enough, is enough. I hear these stories and it just breaks my heart. Folks this is one example. Picture yourself. You’re relatively new mother is right, with your two-year-old. You’ve been fighting off going into a hospital because you want to be there for your family, you can’t breathe because you have pneumonia, and some cat comes in and asks you how much you drink? Do you have a home? what part of me is screaming ‘I have a problem?’ Just by the way I look you make these assumptions. How are you feeling at that time? How vulnerable do you feel you bring your life in somebody’s hands, that is judging you out of the gate? This is this is not right and I hear these, I hear the naysayers ‘who gives a s**t about D&I and all that stuff’ If I’m being honest, there’s ways to approach it and there are ways not to approach it, and I think people are trying, but this is why diversity matters. This is why it matters. This is why you need people at the table, at your boardroom, in your exec room that look like us. So, they could so they could address these needs, they could put awareness to these needs and do all we can to prevent it from happening to some of our most vulnerable folks, enough of abandoning these people. I’m just so sick of it. I’m so tired of it. I know I’m making this about me a little bit I’m sorry, a few months ago my kid got my eldest kid got called the N word at school. I gotta say, it was very triggering for me, I look at my nine-year-old son and knowing now that his innocence to a certain degree has been taken away from him. He knows now get that sense that we’ve many of us have had, you and I have had that we’re being judged by our appearance. He now knows what that’s all about. I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for my boys. I know it’s a reality. I know are gonna have to go through talking to them about how they conduct themselves with police. I will have that conversation. But you and I shouldn’t need to have that conversation. It’s just heartbreaking hearing like this not that long ago. How old is he now?
AF: He’s ten so that was eight years ago.
KK: Eight years ago, but s**t. Like enough? I just went off there unexpectedly. But it’s just like I said, I get triggered by this s**t. How did that frame your practice? Do you feel like that change the way you deliver? Care? Did you like it? Was that motivating in any way? How’s that shaped you?
AF: Well, something I was really, really present with was the fact that I am in a privileged indigenous woman, and I have a ton of support family friends. I have a home; I have a ton of that and it impacted me so deeply. I just think about folks who don’t have that type of support system, to even go bring it to a therapist, or to even like, you know, it just keeps building up building up building up. So, it really struck me in that way. It really struck me that I need to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice or a voice who don’t have those who don’t have the capacity to speak up. That’s when I started speaking up on social media, I can’t not do this. So. And then I wrote this letter called ‘Dear White woman that wants to be like me’ because at the time, I would just see a ton of whiteness. I know people hate this term, white women, but it was white women, it wasn’t black women, it wasn’t South Asian women, it was white women taking our teachings and our beautiful things and then using them for their profit or using them for their advancement. Obviously, all these white women rising in the spiritual places on social media and in their online businesses, and I thought ‘I’ve been in business for 20 years. Why is this? How, like, why is this happening? What like, why am I so invisible?’ it just hurt to have these things taken and no acknowledgement of where you’re taking it from, of the history of our country of indigenous people. So, when I wrote that letter, I wrote it on my blog, and I thought, oh, maybe like 20 people will read it. It went viral. And I think 25,000 people shared it. I think it was at hospital incident that just kind of led to this, like, speak up, let your voice be heard, even if it’s scary, all those things. Then when that went out really wide. I said ‘there’s no turning back now’. This is this is the truth. This is the truth about how our country doesn’t see us. I want to be a voice for those who cannot speak it.
KK: I want to really commend you Asha for being that voice, because it’s not easy. You have to go to a difficult place anytime you speak up. When we speak to issues such as this, go to your own experiences. It’s great to have that courage and to have that will and it’s what we need. It’s what we need. That’s why we have a mentorship program for black youth that are aspiring to be physicians and then go into the medical field and one of the things that I’m trying to do instill in these guys is it’s okay to be authentic, I want you to be you, I want you guys to be you, for your mental health your overall wellness. There are a lot of messages that being you is not safe, but I’ll tell you, we’re gonna change that. We’re gonna be our authentic selves walking through the door, so that you could thrive. It’s similar to the Impact event just like enough of just surviving people. I want you cats to thrive. When y’all excel, I want you to get a seat at the table and realize that you could achieve your dreams. When I give that example of walking into a hospital and a young black kid was a patient and he saw me he’s like ‘Wow, that’s incredible. There’s a black doctor here’ at the time, I thought it was awesome. I’m being a role models to folks. At the same time, I was like, how? Why am I a unicorn? I shouldn’t be special. There’s no way I should be special. So like a lot of you know, racialized community members don’t even think this is a reality. Us doing what we do, they don’t think it’s a reality. So, you know, putting ourselves out there being an examples, being a voice to say like enough is enough to important.
AF: I realized how long I carried sort of so much responsibility over responsibility. When the, the children were discovered, I said ‘If every Canadian could take one piece of like, what’s on my shoulders, you know, if you could just carry some of this with us, and really be allies for our voices’ Yes, we do this and it’s important and we have to and we’re so tired of always having to do this. I’d rather just go dance in my living room to be honest, I want to call him that grace, ease, joy, abundance. Speaking the truth doesn’t always do that. I know I’m making huge changes for the next generations. I feel like it’s so impactful and also I’m tired. So, I would love to like invite folks to like, can you also just like, you know, spread some awareness and care. Just care.
KK: Yeah, more importantly be that ally. I mean, just sit with it, think of the kids in that school. Think of a kid who is alone, away from their people, abused and dying alone. How can you not have compassion? Most of us are our parents, think of your own child. Really sit with it. Think of your own child being away from you and being abused and neglected. This happening in our own country, these attitudes persist, that we could treat people like animals. Still to leave that and not have a lens of compassion or not want to be an ally. Screw that, man. It’s time. It’s time. I’m, I’m ready to drop kick some of this racism stuff in the pelvis. I’ve always been a bit. You know, we need to do better but George Floyd, residential schools, seeing it in my own child. You know, for me we have no choice but to speak up. We really don’t. Oh my God, this is an emotional episode, Asha. Going from love, the anger to sadness. I’m exhausted. This that’s a sign of an amazing interview. So, I wholeheartedly want to thank you for all that you’re doing – your courage, your voice. The ability to reach so many folks is what we need and just being creative to like, to you thinking outside the box on how I can reach more and more folks. I really want to commend you. Can you give folks the best ways of connecting with your book? ‘You are the medicine’ , your website, I also want them will have a link to ‘Dear White women’ too
AF: Yeah, my websites ashafrost.com and if folks are open to looking at oracle decks, I have my Oracle deck coming out the end of February. It’s called ‘Sacred Medicine’ Oracle. It is so beautifully illustrated. You get to choose a medicine for your day, every day. So, I invite folks into that next part of my work and then follow me on Instagram asha.frost. I’m there most often.
KK: Your IG is fresh and growing. Listen, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. You’ve truly moved me. I know you’re gonna move many of our listeners too, thank you so much.
AF: Thanks for having me.
KK: Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you enjoyed that episode. Please check out all our content on Instagram YouTube, Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter @kwadcast. Check out our Substack that’s where we have everything housed now. I’m telling you changing the bogey. Leave any comments at [email protected]. Leave that five-star rating. Everyone would give some love to your loved ones. Let’s start healing together.
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