Reconciling The Past Darkness With Gaby Puma
Although the public spotlight does not pay that much attention to it, modern society has so much to learn from indigenous culture. For transformation teacher and coach Gaby Puma, her life was changed forever when she chose to dive deeper into western culture. Joining Tony Martignetti, she describes her experiences growing up in an ancestral, indigenous home filled with hardship and brutal punishments she could not face for a long time. Gaby explains how learning English and meeting western tourists became her escape from this horrible upbringing. Using the resiliency she built throughout the years, she talks about her work bridging ancient and modern cultures together, as well as guiding others in accepting the present instead of dwelling with the past darkness.
Listen to the podcast here:
Reconciling The Past Darkness With Gaby Puma
It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Gaby Puma. She is a transformational teacher, guide and coach who is a bridge between indigenous wisdom and Western knowledge. She came to this from her Inca ancestral lineage and her vast experience in the Western world. She has been a leader in the travel and tourism industry for over fifteen years. She's the Founder of AYNI Scholarship, which provides access to a world-class education for brilliant indigenous girls. She lives in Cusco, Peru with her family. She also spends time in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is my honor to bring you to the show. Welcome to the show, Gaby.
Tony, thank you so much for having me here. I’m beyond happy and grateful to be here.
I'm thrilled to have you. Ever since I’ve got a chance to be in your presence, it has been such a thrill. I wanted to have you on the show because I feel like there's so much to hear from your story and to see what brought you to where you are now. I'm looking forward to hearing it all. I know the people who are reading are going to be like, “This is such an amazing person.” No pressure.
Thank you so much, Tony.
What we are going to do and just to give you a little sense as to how we play on the show, is we talk about what's called flashpoints. They are points in your story that illuminate your gifts to the world. Oftentimes, people have multiple flashpoints that happened throughout their lives. We are going to give you a space to share what you are called to share. Along the way, we will stop, pause and see what's coming up. With that being said, I'm going to give you the floor and let you start wherever you would like to start.
Despite your pain points and experiences, your future will be whatever it is you are telling yourself.
It’s such a lovely, raw and amazing space that you hold and create, Tony. You have given me the permission to dive into what is there that needs to come. Allow me with acknowledging the amazing name of your show, which rung so many bells in my soul, my heart and my spirit, The Virtual Campfire. It's something I have been practicing in these times, sitting in that subtle fire every full moon or even every day in my condo, just doing my fire ceremony that now I'm embracing more than ever. The wisdom that our ancestors for Millennia practiced and in this amazing path that now rebuilding my trust within me, igniting fully my fire within me. Here in my community, where I was born and grew up, and with my clients for our work, igniting that subtle transformational fire. Not that fire can slave us, awareness can burn, destroy and create all the other things that we are seeing all around in the world in the times.
Having said that, I feel that my entire life has been a pivot in moments, pivot in times as early as it was being in the warm belly of mama. Saying yes to life, undergoing such violent, brutal punishments from as early as the belly of mama. Being so fiercely or to life, say yes to life. I was born and my mom fears that undergoing such experiences I, too, was going to pass away as my older brother did. Allow me please to be very open and vulnerable with this ever-highest intention that this serves somebody out there. The darkest moments that now we are being faced, especially on these times. We have this opportunity to transform all those experiences.
That’s a heavy burden to feel from an early age.
Now that I watch with these new eyes, when I was walking through those isles, through those darkest moments, yet being born in such a vast ancestral, rich, indigenous culture, having the whole amazing landscape, Mother Earth and all the natural world too, why did I have to walk? Why have I experienced such from such an early age? Now, I’m being so grateful for those experiences. Those moments have been marked in my life. Growing up with no commodities at home in our indigenous upbringing with no electricity, running water and bathroom, totally disconnected from our Western world. Walking to school kilometers as a five-year-old girl.
We have access to education up until my generation. Again, saying yes to life before I was ready. Going to school and exposing myself as a five-year-old little girl and then becoming one of the leaders, one of the student mayors in my primary school and high school. As a seven-year-old being exposed to our Western world, to our modern world, what I mean with this is, in our indigenous families of upbringing and culture, we have all these ancient practices such as weavings, creating all these amazing crafts that we have done for Millennia. It’s our way of expressing and creating our own clothing. It's what we have been doing and it's what have we learned as only as 3-year-old, 4-year-old. I have heard from neighbors that they go to this lookout point where tourists, travelers, Westerners and foreigners come and stop there. They are visiting our country, wanting to learn about our culture.
That sparked a curiosity in me. I went to find out and figure it out like, “I could sell my crafts here and be able to support and sustain my family and bring some finances back home.” As a seven-year-old, I walked more kilometers even towards this local point to be exposed to the amazing Western people. I was just in awe. My curiosity was fully awakened and saying like, “Why are these people so different than me?” They are interested in my weavings and they speak different languages. From that moment on, I became obsessed with learning English and different cultures and sharing the culture that ultimately led me to convert my culture into my career in the tourism and travel industry. Learning and dreaming that someday I will be going into these amazing cultures that I'm learning from all these travelers that I am meeting.
This exposure took a lot of energy for you to come to this place where you are exposing yourself to the outside world. Sitting at this precipice between what you know and what you have been brought up with and wanting to hold on to that. Also, seeing that there's something so big out there that you want to grab and hold onto and embrace. In fact, that curiosity must have been so strong and you are saying to yourself, “I want to learn it all. I want to take it all in but I want to hold on to what is me and what I am because that is important.” It's hard to balance that, the old and the new as I would call it. How did you struggle with that feeling of the old and the new?
As I recall, I’m always having one foot in the old and one foot in the new in this amazing dance and delicate dance-off, not running away from my roots from this amazing gift being born in such ancestral old ways of doing things, of a way of life. The new, as much as beautiful vast indigenous wisdom practices way of life and love. Back then, it seems weird because I have been being brutally punished. It’s the darkest moment of being an indigenous girl. I’m wanting to escape that, thinking that this new world and people, they are traveling all the way here, they seem happy and joyful, and they are interested in me, in hearing me.
It became like, “I want to learn.” The first English word that I have learned was, “Buy me,” because I wanted to sell my handcraft so badly. I was like, “Buy me. Buy my bracelets.” It was my way of escaping the painful moments that I was living in my indigenous culture when I went and found friendship, and they were so interested in me, these Western friends that I started developing. To the point that one of these amazing ladies who have purchased so many beautiful handcrafts that I and my family created wanted to adopt me. She was from Ithaca, New York. We wrote letters and whatnot but my parents never agreed to that.
There's something about this that I wanted to pause on. It's about when you meet people who are coming to you, let's say on vacation or experiencing a culture for the first time, you are seeing them in their point of curiosity and the surface. You are not seeing it in their points of pain. You are not seeing their dark side. You are coming to them with your point of curiosity like, “I want to know more about them. They seem so happy.” As soon as you start to get that deeper connection and you start to realize, “They have pain, too. They have their own things going on for them just like I do.” You realize how much in common that both sides of the world, the old and the new, have. When you can be the bridge, as you are, it's powerful to realize that you can be that bridge. When you start to get deeper, you discover so much magnitude between the two worlds. I would love to hear your thoughts about that.
I'm telling you this and my mind and my beautiful soul is going back and forward into the depths of how I have retrieved all these memories and information. I'm coming at times from my eight-year-old mind, how I perceived at the worst and this strange look in people, different language, culture and beauty. I was so engraved with only the dark part of my experiences that as a child I’m struggling. That is the scarcity mindset in that survival mode and feeling so much in many of the darkest moments. They have a spark, that obsession with my age, language and learning English. I went to an academy in the major city out of my community to learn more English.
Therefore, I could communicate more with my child because from 7-year-old all the way to 8-year-old, other than going to school, every afternoon I was suspended and running my indigenous chores back at home, helping in the house. I was so weak in that world, with the Western people. That’s where I’ve got more in-depth. I was fifteen years old when I graduated high school and I graduated from my English language center. I immediately started in the tourism industry. Thanks to my English, and my innate, amazing, love and passion for my culture that I was starting as a tour guide assistant. Even more, my relationship with the Western world was going even a lot faster. I switched as an interpreter for Kichwa, our native language. We have ceremonies and spiritual trips that people from Europe and the US will come to seek unshaped ways of healing. There’s this moment where I touched so profoundly and I'm a sixteen-year-old girl, that I, too, escape in those dark moments in my reality.
We do some means in Western people in the middle of the ceremonies with our ancient priests and ancient healers that I'm being the bridge, interpreting the healing sessions. These Western people are telling me all these darkest dark stories and where I have thought previously that these people are so happy and they are a family from all walks of life. When these people started coming to me saying like, “Gaby, I’ve got this trauma that I can no longer take. It's manifesting in something like these illnesses. I have been sexually abused by my father. I never was able to talk to anybody.
I’ve got this calling from Peru and to come to these ancient ways of seeing things. Please help me. Please tell me what I need to do to this ancient healing?” For a moment, I realized. That's one of the stories. I was sixteen-year-old and I'm like, “What happened to me?” Deep inside me, I'm going like, “Me, too.” I never thought I could speak it out or communicate those deeper pains that brought them to our beautiful Peru homeland seeking all this help, all those struggles. I said, “This is way too much. I already have my dark.” I feel like I'm not ready to hold all this energy.
I did a few years of being an interpreter. I have been initiated in by our ancient healers. Ancient healers are holding the space but I felt so heavy in me. I switched to the conventional tours, VIP clients. At that point, I already have my Tourism and Travel degree with me. I’m having my clients from all walks of life, millionaires or billionaires. They are coming to experience the culture here in Peru. Young students coming from such a high-end family, come here to experience the real part of the world. I was amazed by everything that I could have witnessed, the families, the children or the people.
It’s fascinating to think how far that this little curiosity has mushroomed into a full-grown career that was giving you so much exposure. I also heard this one thread through all that is that this underlying darkness that you felt around your own personal feelings that you saw in other people, you almost ran from it. How did you come back to say, “How am I going to face this,” so that you can help to face yourself and face others?
I remember perfectly the date and time. It was when I was in living in Sydney, Australia, far away from home and family. This time I was so determined that I'm going to make this thing work, life and family. I'm going to start my own family and all of these things. It was the 30th of April of 2017. Previously, I was let go of my job in Sydney. I had this urge that I needed to do something different. I landed into this amazing entrepreneurship marketing course training. I had to go with my gut and my intuition. I said, “This has to be it.” Something that I would never normally do, “Let's do it. Let's put the credit card. Let's buy this course.”
Deep and meaningful conversations will always reveal the pain and challenges the other person is going through.
I binge-watched that training course. It was 1:00 AM, the mindset part of this training course, it's like God was speaking to me on the screen of my laptop, through this amazing being telling me, “Are you living in the present, inflow and acceptance in seeing life as it is and seeing reality as it is? What is there that you can do to be in alignment with everything, with this beautiful gift of life? Are you living in the past? All that has happened to you, all your stories, struggles or whatever is the story you are telling yourself, that is ultimately just a story. It's the source of your pains, struggle, misery and suffering. Even you are creating all this suffering and misery a little bit in the future, thinking that somehow, the future is going to be whatever it's that you were telling that story to yourself.”
I was like, “Have I ever been living in the present?” My whole life made sense for the first time as far as I can remember for the many lifetimes I lived. It started making total complete sense like a flashback of my entire life right there and going like, “This is exactly why there's this and all of this happened.” Now I get to see things as they are. I know that God, the source, my ancestors, those core values, everything that I can see things as they are. I have this privilege now to shift everything around, to open my heart, my mind and to welcome the greatest gifts of life that I have been preparing throughout all this time. I felt so relieved and amazing. We can feel this amazing power and force, and then the real work starts.
I went downhill all over again. It lasted three days in awe like creating magic living every moment. Everything just aligned, the inner peace I felt never before. It’s like a complete rebirthing. I hope I'm not exaggerating here but it's what is coming to me at that moment. It's so hard sometimes to describe it because it's such a feeling. From that moment on, I started to face the dark and all these stories stripping down my soul, my heart, my being into the core and what is left of me without the story, all that I created throughout my path. All of these friends, the relationship or why I escaped and why I did that, why and how do I clean up this mess? I can only incorporate now and carry on with this newly gained mindset and perspective of life and ignore but that can’t be it.
I immediately ended my relationship in Sydney and decided to come back home to where I was born. We are now in these times, I am in my community. There is where I understood exactly why I had to walk through those darkest moments in life, being punished, brutally abused, sexually abused, all of the abuses that you can name. To come back to my community and face these people who have created such experiences for me. To come from this space of compassion, understanding, forgiving, and love, how our ancestors, my people, the Inca people have done for Millennia. Coming from that space thinking that I'm ready to do that work coming back home. Once I started facing that, it all came fresher.
I want to recognize that, the power of that moment. Trust me, I don't think you exaggerated that in any way you performed. I have seen those moments in people and I have seen it that you realize that all the stories you have been telling yourself, have all been made up or they have just been not the truth. They have been a truth but not the truth for you. It starts to have you strip away all that and you rebuild. Sometimes it’s called reboot. The strength and courage that you exhibit in that, I have to celebrate you for that. It goes to show you that as you stand now, you are a symbol of strength and power to be the person you are now.
To live through all that and to go through that transformation. I talked about how this is about people who have been through a transformation. That is a transformation like none other. In the interest of shifting gears a little bit and moving towards the next part of where we are going, I feel like there's so much we could dig into here. I want to know, as you reflect on your story and being who you are, what are the biggest lessons you have learned about yourself if you could summarize it? Maybe 1 or 2 things that you want to make sure people know.
Thank you for providing the space to speak up. Even though now are different times than what we are living back then, I didn't have access to technology or all these great platforms now. To speak up, ask for yourself, not hide your truth or whatever it is that you are carrying, you are living yourself solely, thinking that you are this individual so disconnected and separated from everything. Despite any experience that you were undergoing, there’s got to be someone out there and that if you are willing to open up and dare to ask for that help, speak up sooner than later. In my case, I feel like it's my own personal story.
Back in 2012, I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which is systemic inflammation in the body. I feel like my body has repressed from the darkest moments in my life. If only I could have speak-out earlier and set free my soul and my body, I could have prevented this chronic illness. Not that now is my greatest escape. I have entirely changed my life, my diet and my mindset, and coming from the space of forgiveness, beauty, unconditionally loving and forgiving myself and everybody else, and be in alignment with the real-life force. If we can avoid all of these illnesses that are consuming our humanity, especially our feminine people, please seek out help. Speak up. Don’t hold it to yourself until it starts manifesting in your body, an illness or whatever that could be.
It's a powerful message. I feel it so much that there's an element of, many people don't speak up enough about what's going on inside and they wait too long. I want people to feel like they can be safe to speak up about what's on their hearts and mind. I can't thank you enough for coming here and sharing the messages. I feel like I want to be here for hours and keep on digging in and hearing more. It's crazy. I have one more question. It's very lighthearted. What's one book that has had an impact on you and how you think?
I have quite a few of them. Let's start with the crucial moment in my career and so many things in my life. I’ve got a voice telling me like, “You need to do something about this.” I don't know even how somebody gifted me or I found it at home. I don't know how I landed into this book of Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones. When I heard of Wayne Dyer, how he came across in writing this book when he himself drove in all this journey and finding or wanting to connect with his dad and being in the tomb of his dad at the cemetery. Finally, he has forgiven his dad. In only seventeen days, he had come up and wrote Erroneous Zones. It was a hit and changed the lives of many. The stories he tells in the book, in clients and all of it, I identified so much with all of them. All my stories and practical psychological skills that I had to develop from early on in my life, for my career, for dealing with a multicultural setting, from all walks of life, from around the globe and helping my clients.
I have read a fair amount of his books. In fact, you mentioning it makes me want to dig back in and rediscover him again.
You are a rule breaker. You've got three books. You are not the first who has broken the rules but I love it. It was some great recommendations. I can't thank you enough for bringing your greatness, your warmth and energy into this space. Thank you so much for coming to the show, Gaby. This is powerful.
Thank you so much, Tony.
One of the things I want to make sure I do is give the people the opportunity to know where they can find you if they wanted to learn more about you. Do you have an email address or social media?
Thank you again. Thank you to the readers for coming on the journey with us. I’m hoping you are leaving with some amazing insights. I know you will. Thank you so much, Gaby.
- AYNI Scholarship
- Your Erroneous Zones
- Think and Grow Rich
- LinkedIn – Gaby Puma
- Facebook – Gaby Puma
About Gaby Puma
Gaby Puma is a transformation teacher, guide, and coach who is a bridge between indigenous wisdom and western knowledge. She has been a leader in the travel and tourism industry for the past 15 years. She is the founder of the AYNI Scholarship to help provide a world-class education for the brilliant, indigenous Quechua children in Peru. Gaby describes her experiences growing up in an ancestral, indigenous home, that was filled with hardship and brutal punishments that she could not face for a long time.
Learning English and meeting western tourists became a way of escapism for Gaby to forget about the hardships in her life. Gaby talks about how she could not face the hardships others experienced and tried to push back from her darkness, and how this came to affect her work and feel about her upbringing. She shares how over time she learned to face her darkness and accept being in the present instead of the past.