About six weeks into “shelter in place” in Los Angeles, I am still finding that most nights I am wide eyed, aware of our world shifting, feeling into my desire for a “new normal”, one with more ease between us humans and the earth. My mind escapes sleep seeking solace in visions for transformative justice, an end to violence, and much more love. My heart aches as grief detaches itself from the outer layer of our world. Release of old patterns, habits, trauma responses are not easy. As we let go of what does not serve us we resemble the earth rebirthing itself, if we allow, we too are becoming a more willing and free version of ourselves right now.
Let me be honest- the past few weeks have been filled with disdain for our human capacity to be so incredibly ignorant and mean. There have also been many moments of sweetness, laughter, and joy with my loved ones. Finding balance has meant allowing myself to welcome and feed the waves of hope I feel in my waters proving to me our capacity to show up for one another in ways that honor the sacredness of relationship. I feel my challenge has become clear:
How do I remain in my center while the world feels in chaos around me? and how do I stay connected to what I know is true beyond this realm/what I see and hear that has me battling fear, grief, and rage?
Working through these questions my spirit has me feeling into what most matters to me- Las plantas y nuestra Madre Tierra, mi familia, my extended community, hope, meeting myself and others in/with dignity, organizing our world differently in ways that honor our interdependence with the earth and care for one another, forgiveness and love; relating to one another like Mother Earth relates to us- con mucha abundancia, with an immense amount of abundance.
Centering what matters most- How then do my daily actions and (reactions) look and feel? How do I continuously invite a sense of connection with myself and others while “social distancing”? What kind of healer~leader do I want to be right now? What do the plants say about all this?
I have more questions than I have answers for. It feels appropriate to live out my answers right now with a lot of compassion, flexibility, and adaptability.
Plant Allies that invite self healing as our world also heals.
Rose and Mulberry
Rose encourages paced vulnerability and emotional balance. Mulberry moves us towards embracing own abundance as we connect to the earth. Even in midst of a pandemic- yes, we deserve to stay connected to our ability to touch, breathe, live abundantly- como la Madre Tierra manda.
I look to rose flower medicine to support my own emotional balance and alignment with my spiritual path. I experience the rose as a plant version of the ocean- teaching me to expand towards my capacities, breathe/exhale deeply, and connect to compassion. The rose reminds us of the grand power to be vulnerable with ourselves. I believe this is where healing begins for many of us. The rose opens petal by petal with no rush towards its stunning fullness. She affirms our unique pace while holding us accountable to our own openings as if nudging us not to remain in stagnant emotions, whispering, you deserve to trust your own worthiness. A worthiness that is not based on productivity or efficiency as imposed by the unsustainable system of capitalism and all the isms that serve as pillars.
Most nights my sleeplessness ends in a deep surrender to what is at the moment. Surrendering to the root of my emotions has brought me the calm that invites sleep. These are not easy nights. I imagine rose petals all around and on me. I pray that this rose mediation will help me feel held to all that is bigger than this moment in history. It is not a viral pandemic that scares me most, it is the pandemic of colonial thinking that has me in deep prayer for change. The U.S., once again on its brutal platform of exceptionalism, neofascism, and neoliberalism keeps me committed to living a life that courageously confronts this agenda. I know that no system as stubborn and sick as colonial capitalism is going to disappear over night. I also hold true that the real lived experience that more people are having right now is making us question this systems sustainability. This experience brings many of us to a new closeness with ourselves and what we want for our lives. Taking more ownership of our time, minds, hearts, and bodies. This is where I am finding inspiration and magic. For those of us that felt disconnected from our fire, we are reconnecting with our ambers and taking new actions, making life generating choices. And for those of us who have felt connected to our fire, this is a time to deepen our healing and commitments to changing ourselves, allowing for more growth, more forgiveness. We all can embrace the power of rose alchemy in our willingness to move towards living our lives more authentically, unearthing our buried desires, and courageously and boldly saying more Yes’s to ourselves.
Yes to oneself can also mean Yes to strengthening our relationship to the earth, our home.
- Invite roses into your life. Eat, drink, grow roses. Experience rose tea, essence, tincture. Draw, paint, sketch roses. Sit with, smell, touch, wear roses more often. Admire the roses in your neighborhood. Meditate, write, pray on what the different rose plant parts mean to you. The flower is only one aspect of this plant medicine. What do the leaves, stem, thorns, roots bring up for you?
- Rose essence aids in healing blockages we feel to experience vulnerability with ourselves and others. The essence helps us nurture deep love for ourselves and for the world around us. As we connect to ourselves more, we can genuinely connect to others in a way that feels generative and honest. Rose thorn medicine reminds us to take care of ourselves, to honor our unique needs when relating to ourselves and others.
- Medicinally rose petals (bud) and rose hips are filled with healing properties! Go on and explore rose!*
Mulberry Trees and Berries-
Mulberries are a favorite food of bears. And bears remind me of honey. Honey reminds me of our inner abundance and our capacity to tap into this source of power and healing. Sweet mulberries can be enjoyed eaten straight from the tree; made into jam, pies, and other sweet treats. The tree trunk is super flexible reminding us to allow change to happen within us and to dance with the winds of our inner change. A strong trunk also means strong roots. Allow for your values to be the roots that guide what you are birthing during these trying times.
A favorite spiritual property about mulberry flower essence is that it connects us to the power of our memory; connecting us to our ability to remember why we chose to come to this earth and what healing we have to offer our communities. The essence invites playfulness and lightness of being. All medicine we need right now!
Earth based Abolitionist practices to explore:
1. Nurture your relationship to the earth, the elements, and the unseen but felt spirits of the land you live on. Allow yourself to release any notion or false idea that you do not have a relationship with the earth. The earth is our home, we inevitably have a relationship with it. Strengthen and get to know this relationship in any and all ways that feel accessible to you. Challenge yourself to do more kind things for the earth. This can look like acknowledging the plants around you daily and greeting the elements with prayers of gratitude. I’ve learned that being kind to myself also encourages a reciprocal relationship to the earth. The more love I allow myself to feel, the more I am able to see and accept the abundant love the earth shares with all of us, daily and unconditionally.
2. Grow with the seasons. For example, we are a little over a month into the Spring season, what seeds are you planting for your summer harvest? What would you like to welcome more of in your life? Allow the spirit of Spring via all its vibrant colors, smells, and new buds help you care for your intentions this month.
3. Stay connected to movement change as a source of inspiration! You can do this by volunteering for a cause you care about; expand your knowledge of alternative economies and economic democracy not based on a profit over people model; and/or learn about what mutual aid is and why it is an important tool we can utilize to re-think how we build sustainable communities.
(*The spiritual, emotional, and medicinal properties shared about the plants on this blog are only a very thin sliver of the abundance of each plant. The purpose of this sharing is to share some highlights of what I personally have learned in my study/apprenticing with them in hopes you will continue your own learning and relationship with them as well.)