Tia Christiansen Communes With Compassion
She's a coach for survivors of gun violence who believes in Goddess magic and the power of asking good questions.
NOTE: this interview contains descriptions of disturbing events. Please exercise caution accordingly.
Hi Tia! Welcome to the Womancake interview. How is your work day going?
It's been a busy day. Tuesdays are my days that I do a weekly live [appearance] on my YouTube channel. It's a place where people can get a little energy boost through a Reiki transmission, and I offer live coaching around how to embody our wisdom. So it's been a fantastic day.
You are a coach and advocate who is focused on survivors of gun violence. Will you talk a little bit about your work, and about the experience that led you there?
Deep questions! I teach survivors of gun violence how to transform the pain of their experience into power, how to unleash that power to create a life of limitless possibilities, and boundless health. It's been almost six years now - I am a survivor of the Las Vegas mass shooting. I used to work in the music industry, and I was on site at the Route 91 Harvest Festival event as part of the producing team. I ended up not going to the event that night as I was horribly ill in a way that I had never been before, or since. I was experiencing severe stomach and body cramps, and I physically couldn't move my body. I literally couldn't get out of bed. In over 20 years as a producer I had never missed an event.
My experience that night was profoundly intense, in a way that was different than those who were at the event. I ended up spending 90 minutes alone in my hotel room before being extracted by SWAT believing armed gunmen were going room to room killing people. I had no idea of what was happening at the event site, and I really thought that my death was imminent.
I reconciled my life that night, and really came to a place of, “Do I have any regrets? Am I okay if tonight's my night?”. There was only really one thing that I felt I'd hate to miss. That was my nephews growing up to be the beautiful young men they are now.
As the night unfolded, some details started to get pushed out to media outlets in the early morning hours about where the gunfire was coming from and where the gunman was located. I ended up discovering that I was two rooms away from the shooter.
I knew after that night that I was meant for a larger purpose. I knew in my heart that it was not a coincidence that I survived that night. So, I'm here to create massive impact in this beautiful world that we live in. Having come through this traumatic experience, I am like a maniac on a mission to support others in transforming their pain and trauma into a life of limitless possibilities. AND I've been given a mission very clearly by the Divine/Goddess to awaken and heal 1 million hearts so that we can reclaim our power.
Thank you very much for sharing all of that! When you look out on the landscape of where we are with gun control in America, what are you most inspired by and what is most concerning to you?
I'm most inspired by the ferocious volunteerism and commitment from so many people in different parts of the gun violence prevention movement [like] the Brady Campaign, EveryTown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the Gabby Giffords group, and a number of others. I'm inspired by how this national crisis is bringing people together for a common goal: to affect positive change in our cities, and in our rural areas.
In our rural areas I have found it is common for people to be very concerned about their right to own a gun. Places in the middle part of the country, upstate New York, rural Massachusetts, California, Oregon and Washington where hunting is a big part of the culture. I personally do not believe that everyone needs to, or even has the right to have a gun and I have many friends who are avid hunters who also agree. I have friends in the military, who have said to me, “No civilian should have access to the type of automatic weapons that are being used in these shootings, because they're not trained.” Not everyone has the "right" to get a passport, or a driver’s license, so not everyone should have the ability to own a gun.
The thing that causes me heartache is the almost daily news stories of a mass shootings, [which] is four or more people who have been shot or wounded or died by gun violence. I'm very careful about how much news I read. I curate my news intake, because those stories take me right back to that night. My heart feels what those families feel, what those communities feel, and it brings me great distress.
It pains me when volunteers that I know go to an open forum to have a conversation about gun violence prevention, legislation and funding of common sense bills to do things like research the causes of gun violence, and people from an alternate viewpoint use yelling, shouting, talking over people as tactics to disrupt and intimidate. Until we can come together and have an open conversation of, “Let me hear what you have to say, and let me put myself in your shoes” division and violence will continue, I am inspired by the legislation that continues to be passed. I'm inspired that our politicians and our elected officials know that we're watching, and we'll vote them out if they're not on the right side of the gun violence prevention crisis.
So beautifully put, thank you. I know that you are a certified Reiki practitioner, do you have any other wellness practices that are meaningful to you?
I have about three solid hours of daily practice morning and night. That includes doing a lot of practice around creating a sacred environment in my home, devotional practice to the Divine/God/Goddess, whichever word works for you. This is all so I can make sure I am what an old mentor of mine used to call a “self-cleaning oven”. Shifting into an inspired mindset, meditating, being in my creative flow so that I'm grounded each and every day. It's my rituals that support me in managing my PTSD, so that I can show up powerfully each and every day.
Womancake’s current quarterly theme is “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a philosophy about the subject and any guilty pleasures you would like to share?
My first response was, I don't have any guilty pleasures anymore after such an intense experience in life. How can I feel guilty about the things that I choose to jump into? So when I make myself some vegan, sugar-free chocolate mousse, I just gobble it up and I'm okay with it. I would say that whatever it is that we're doing for ourselves, be it food or an activity, [it's] as a way of feeding our inner child. When our inner child doesn't get to rebel a little bit, it acts out to get our attention any way it can!
I don't have any guilty pleasures anymore after such an intense experience in life. How can I feel guilty about the things that I choose to jump into? So when I make myself some vegan, sugar-free chocolate mousse, I just gobble it up and I'm okay with it. I would say that whatever it is that we're doing for ourselves, be it food or an activity, [it's] as a way of feeding our inner child. When our inner child doesn't get to rebel a little bit, it acts out to get our attention any way it can!
So true! How does wisdom manifest at this stage of your life?
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