lesson from grief: self-acceptance

Orange Cempazuchitl plant, Espejos Cempazuchitl, Puerto Rico. October 2021.

The more time I spend living surrounded by nature, the deeper my lessons are around self-acceptance. The closeness to earth is teaching me to love all of my parts unconditionally. The earth holds all of me, even the parts I struggle with..I never feel alone..anymore..knowing that each earth creature and earth being has a spirit that I can connect to at any given moment.

These lessons and experienced intimacy with earth are priceless. Self-acceptance allows me more honesty, it welcomes my mistakes as experiences to learn from. Best of all- my mistakes are to be reckoned with, blended with, mended with. The earth does not expect perfection rather calls me to the forefront of my life to be as true to my heart and body as a liberated version of myself needs me to be.

After my older brother died of a drug and alcohol overdose in January 2020, I immersed myself in a ocean deep self-reflection.  Although overall I feel compassion towards myself as his sister, I also feel I am coming to terms with my own limitations in how I loved him and myself pre-transition to the ancestor realm. 

I feel that the hardest part about being a sister to someone who deeply struggled to live a life they loved was my lack of skills needed to engage him despite my fear of losing him to the very thing that ended up cutting his life too short. I hold this truth as well as that in all honesty when he drank, he wasn’t the nicest person to be around. His homophobia came out strong and directed at me. Those moments were hard too. So, all this I write and feel is very layered and calls for rooted compassion and self-acceptance. 

Thanks to the abundant green landscapes and hills that surround my home, my nervous system is more at peace these days inviting more self-reflection, inviting more pace and space to realign with my selves. I notice myself more now too. Not only am I intentionally building family and community with loved ones, I am also now doing this with myself in new ways. Mostly I am quiet with myself, and this feels just right for where I am in my own healing process. After all it is Scorpio and Fall season– all which bring me to my knees with a deep dive into my own waters for clearing and honoring of my/our stories.

orange and yellow Cempazuchitl flower, Earthlodge Center for Transformation, Long Beach California. October 2021.

The Flowers Speak, Teach

In the past few months an abundance of yellow and orange cempazuchitl (marigold) flowers has grown all around our home. These beautiful ancestor flowers have me working with my sacral (yellow) and solar (orange) chakras during this Fall season. Feeding my creativity even through much movement and change, pausing to root and connect with my body, to listen to the signs of needed rest, pause for joy and laughter, nudging myself to lean into courage in midst of grief, and exploring new ways of being intimate with myself, others, and the earth. Lastly, the colors yellow and gold are also the colors of the astrological sign Leo- my Sun sign- I feel very much supported by the flowers to create a safe lair for myself and my community surrounded by the magic and blessing of those who have come before me/us.

The yellow cosmos is also growing abundantly around me right now. Cosmos flower carries the energy of the element of air. Air flowers remind us to stay connected to our visions while learning the boundaries it takes to get to our intended goals. The color yellow on the cosmos reminds me of the medicine of Oshun, the river goddess Orisha who teaches deep self reflection, sweetness to self and others, keen strategy, and much more. Between the cosmos vision flower, the ancestor marigold flower, and the green heart healing landscapes- I feel very held as I continue to grieve and release grief from my bodies.

Recommended Earth Practices

  • Notice what flowers are growing around you as the seasons changed from Summer to Fall. Ask yourself, what colors, shapes, and textures do you see? What do these details emote in you? Spend time with these flowers in any way you can. Some suggestions:
    • Grab your journal and sit next to the flowers. At the top of your page write one or both of these prompts: Release: Let go of what no longer serves you or Self Acceptance: I accept Myself. Take note of all the thoughts and feelings that come up with this prompt. 
    • Dress yourself in the colors of nature as Fall presents itself in your area. If you experience the browns, reds, and oranges of leaves- try dressing yourself in these colors. If you live in a tropical place like me where there is still green everywhere- try dressing yourself in the greens and other flowery colors that liven up your scenery. Jot down any noticing in your journal about this practice. What is it like to dress like the colors of nature? 
    • The Fall season reminds us to release the old narratives, stories, and all that does not serve us from our physical and spiritual bodies. As we prepare to hibernate for Winter, what are you willing to release this season to be composted in the Winter season? Write or draw what comes up for you when you tap into your inner desire to be freer of the layers you carry that do not belong to you.
    • Fall season is also about harvesting the fruits of our labors- we are invited to reflect on what it is we intentioned for this year and where these intentions and what lessons these love labors have brought us to. Choose a song from your current playlist to dance to in celebration and appreciation of these lessons and “fruits”.
    • Make a Fall altar or an ancestor reverence altar. The Fall season also brings about a closeness to our spirit guides, our ancestors, and the “unseen” world. Gather and create an altar with nature items or items that remind you of your guides, ancestors, or the unseen “magic” of this time. Spend time with your altar daily and write down any emerging feelings and messages, or questions you may have for your ancestors.
Cosmos flowers with monarch butterfly, Espejos Cempazuchitl. Photo Credit: Gilberto Villaseñor. September 2021.