Throughout 2019, I wrote more frequently. Writing from emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and bodily sensation perspectives. Writing poetry. Writing my memories and anecdotes of my mother in her multidimensional life experiences. Writing as a storytelling tool was my automatic way of responding to my pain. And a powerful habit. Writing on actual paper. It was, at the same time a conscious response to gently show my Spirit its path through one of my worst metamorphoses. Either way, I am very grateful for doing so. In Indigenous mystique, this whole process means that I was shedding my Serpent skin.
In September 2018; mother, a powerful and resilient Medicine Woman had a stroke. She fell into a coma. This was a devastating process for me and my family and still is. It was especially hard for me, as this happened two days before my birthday. As a believer of a deep spiritual Indigenous mystique rooted in Mother Earth, I feel this has been one of the hardest tests I have been exposed to. Death and life are fully intertwined.
Mother was in such a vulnerable state for ten weeks. One of the first barriers I experienced was being separated from her physically, as she was in El Salvador. Also as a working-class family, we could not afford private health care and had to go through all the systemic bureaucracies that impoverished and working-class families go through within public hospitals. These barriers are only an example of how little control we had during this radical change. Hence, the hardest to deal with.
I still remember how my body trembled the moment I saw my mother connected to many machines at the hospital. During the entire time she was at the hospital (September through December 2018), and most of last year after she transitioned, I had panic and anxiety attacks daily. I still get mild anxiety moments, but less regularly. All of these experiences are normal to my grief process. It was both a traumatic and stress-inducing change.
In December 2018, after my mother passed on, I felt as if life did not have a purpose. Though, this process of feeling uprooted pushed me to dive into a mindful reflection. Through her unconditional love, she gave me the trust, freedom, and courage to pursue change and transformation.
Journaling, and seeking for holistic medicine supported me being present in my pain and all the emotions that came with it. Aha moments kept me rooted. One of the reasons it has been harder for me to let go, was because in my body, her death felt like a part of me died with her and part of her spirit was born within me. Confusing, right? Not really!
Everything was difficult to grasp. I kept having dreams about my childhood. Dreams about her life experiences, her storytelling. Those dreams did not allow me to rest at night. The lack of rest only exacerbated my irritability, anger, and fear during the day. I was hurting and my mood changes also brought up behaviors and words with which I also hurt loved ones.
Change has been the daily tortilla for me since I was born. And even though I embrace it most of the time, adapting and transforming requires radical love expressed in nurturing energy and time. It requires a lot of intentionality and patience. 2019 was the most challenging because this painful and saddening experience woke the most creative and healer aspects of my Spirit. What a way to end a year and decade, ha!
Through my writing, I realized these contradictions. In the beginning, I resisted because I felt it did not make sense to be joyful and happy in life when my beautiful mother passed on. Suddenly I would feel a drastic change of mood from guilt to anger and a spectrum of emotions, all of which are normal. At the age of nine, I used to tell my mother very boldly, I will be a writer one day and my writing will be published in other languages. Her death reconnected me with a deep desire to finally sit to write, to fill my days with writing. In writing poetry, journaling and writing my mother’s memoirs to share with future family generations, I kept slowly feeling more awakened, more connected to my Roots. I was Reclaiming Home. I felt a powerful responsibility.
Building new positive habits and returning to inner rituals during change is hard for me. Writing has been the most constant one, which led me to seek other tools to support my healing.
Some of the things I’ve noticed are that to decrease stress, little by little I had to combine various tools. To allow movement in my new process, I needed to NOT run away from fear and anger, and instead HEAR what they wanted to say. One big part came from journaling, at-home yoga practice, meditation, poetry, and coloring rituals that require my time and my presence, no money involved. Another big chunk comes from holistic medicine including talk therapy, massage, acupuncture, and swimming; which requires a lot of planning, prioritizing, and monthly budgeting because financial resources are indeed limited.
I owned my pain even if people told me I was a “hot mess” and even if they could not deal with the new me. It was my opportunity to not be okay, to keep trying and making sense of all the pieces at my own pace. There is not a “grief formula”.
The third source for Reclaiming Home healing practices are creating and setting new boundaries with loved ones. This is the hardest for me because navigating, nurturing and sustaining healthy relationships while healing takes time, energy, being vulnerable, and the aspects of acceptance and owning being hurt and hurting others. In this process, I also realized that I was craving connection at a deeper level. Somewhere to crash. Somewhere to be nurtured. Therefore, taking time away from social media and choosing social spaces that filled my soul was empowering. Even decreasing the consumption of food that hurts my body was part of choosing. I choose to feel alive instead of exhausted. Reaching out to my partnerships and friendships to host me and feed me for a few days. Unconventional retreats. There is a privilege in that. As a non-US citizen, this is not the case for anyone who goes through these huge metamorphoses. I speak English. I speak Spanish. Most of my life this skill set has allowed me to build community and trust across cultural borders.
I’ve started to notice the benefits of being responsible with my mindful well-being. I am aware that the process of practicing compassion and being patient with myself have supported reconnection with my Creative Medicine. These guided me to reclaim home rooted in a healthy radical healing practice to repair my sacred body, mind, and Spirit.
I’ve recovered my seven-hour sleep cycle after a year and a half-sleeping only 3-4 hours. I am now embracing the sensuality around healthy homemade food. My ancestor’s food.
Change continues to teach me lessons to recognize how resilient I am. Change this past year has reminded me that I am a creative healer. This has been my journey and I deeply believe each human being can find a tune with their inner Medicine. It may look very different from person to person, that does not mean there is a “wrong” or “right” way to do it. One can evoke power in one’s very specific way, and healing is never about “fixing” oneself and/or assimilating into ideas based on toxic social conditioning. Healing can be a self-paced guiding process of what one’s main needs are. During change and in any type of heartbreak, it is normal to not feel or not be okay; while at the same time trying ways to peacefully release the stress, whatever its roots are.
How do we as a global community hold space for our shared stories of death and loss in supportive ways?
What are rituals rooted in your ancestral wisdom that allow you to feel more connected during moments of death, loss, grief and change?
In this moment of global pandemic and the feeling of global loss:
Are there intentional ways you wish to be supported while you support your loved ones?
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Sending light and love to all.
Full summer moon
I feel you even if I don’t see you
Awaken inside my spirit
Your force has kept me alive
Is your voice
I sense your light
That grows deep
It is time to slow down
Observant I am
I call you with my inner desires
Traveling between worlds
I want to balance
Speaking human languages
And the spiritual ones
Full summer moon
Invites me to harvest
A life full of spiral cycles
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