“Love is the Willow Tree. It is the rain she calls forth to bring cleansing to all living beings. It is the protection and nurturing wisdom she holds at the core of her foundation. It is the roots she digs deep into Mother Earth to create a solid grounding. It is the ancestral knowledge she provides to make sure we begin to do our own work to bring our body, mind, spirit aligned. It is the exploration of our full truths in all their colors; it is the messy and limited parts of ourselves. It is the vibrant and expendable parts; it is the autumn leaves that transform and accept the lesson of free range. It is the prosperous green that spring trees beckon flower petals to dance to. A renewal from cold to warmth, a renewal of restful lullaby to song that speeds your heart rate.” – excerpt from Estamos Unidos
It is the roots she digs deep into Mother Earth to create a solid grounding.
The concept of grounding has been reeling through my mind prominent lately as a Queer Trans Person of Color existing in the world. Specifically, as a Queer Genderfluid Trans Person of Color trying to navigate systems and spaces which still do not recognize my being as legitimate, or even human. It is hard to keep grounded and professional in spaces where extra conflict and stress will arise from choosing to express in a way which is natural to me. It is hard to keep grounded and professional when choosing to express my femininity can trigger one’s unconscious repression and ensue violence. It has been easier for me to hide away in my newfound shell of “masculinity” as a means for protection and not have to think about the extra scenarios which can happen if I choose to express femme outwardly. Being in Higher Education Spaces, or any space where I do not see my QTPOC family reflected at me, has been keeping me unaligned.
Grounding calls for alignment, and alignment calls for deep cleansing. To be grounded, means one’s energy systems has been cleansed so that they are aligned from the crown to the root, from the ori (head) to the feet. Each individual has their own way of becoming grounded because everyone has a unique energetic make up that must be honored. It is our responsibility to remember what routines, rituals, and methods work for us. It is our duty to respond in ways which show the outmost respect to our own body, mind, and spirit. For me, a significant part of what it means to be grounded is surrounding myself with family, friends, co-workers, lovers, and relationships which reflect my identities back to me. The fullness and robustness of all the intersections back at me. I try to stray away from a lack mentality, but it is not enough to be the only Queer Trans Person of Color in a work environment. It is not enough to be the only professional containing these intricate, beautiful, and complex identities in any space. The more I learn to ground myself, the more I am remembering I need to bring my full self into spaces I inhabit and I will not tolerate compromising parts of myself for anyone. If these environments won’t make space for me, I will create my own space. I will find another way.
Grounding calls for one to stand in their full holistic truth, which can only be reached by clearing away the muck and debris that no longer serves a purpose in one’s life. It is by letting go of old and dead leaves that a new way of life may emerge.
Grounding calls for one to embrace their true nature.
It was June 2015 when my spiritual journey began. My sister introduced Ibeyi to me, the French and Cuban twin sisters who sang about the Orishas, ancestors, and their father who had recently passed. Ironically, it was while listening to the song “River” in my sister’s yellow painted space where my first tarot reading began to make sense. I had gotten my first tarot reading about a month earlier from a dear mentor and friend. The reading had been weighing on my mind, but I did not have the ability to access my wisdom yet.
“Come to your river, I will come to your river,
I will come to your river, wash my soul again
Carry away my old leaves, let me baptize my soul,
With the help of your waters, sink my pain and complaints
Let the river take them, river drown them” -River by Ibeyi
I diligently and devotedly visited the river nearly every day that summer, and continued to visit frequently until I left for Seattle July 2016. It was through visiting Oshun’s healing waters where I began to experience cleansing for the first time in my life. I began to release relationships which were no longer aligned with who I was becoming and began imagining the possibilities of what could manifest for me. I began to hear whispers of Natures Calling to me.
I have been thinking a lot about relationships for about a year now. Not only in the romantic or sexual sense, but in a holistic intimacy level. I want my friendships to be loving and kind. I want them to be unafraid to embrace me, or hold me if that’s what I need. I want my family to be one that’s a community in unity–who embraces the idea that we are individuals, but through that we are able to merge into one. I want my romantic soulmate for this life to be someone who knows that the strongest love comes from a patient and gentle heart. I want the relationship to myself to be the rhythm that communicates us all in time.
There’s a lingering trauma that is carried on the backs of folks from the LGBTQIA community, but especially those of color who have not healed from generations of genocide. I clearly see the abuse play out over and over again in families of color, even by some of the most respected and valued leaders I have met. I clearly hear the screams these blows cause behind closed doors that are refused to open in fear of more pain. I clearly feel the impact that these denials manifest its way to hatred burned along bruised skin. I clearly know the way the unconscious plays out in cynical ways. The picking scabs and go around fights that stagnate true healing to even begin.
This past year I realized that most of the relationships I have had with anyone in my life have been either straight out abusive, co-dependent, toxic, and/or generally unbalanced. The worst realization was that it all began with the relationship to myself and that everyone else was a reflection of that.
I sought solitude and solace among Oshun, the Orisha of the River. I called out and asked the beautiful goddess to show me where to begin. I cried and begged to Yemaya, the Orisha of the Ocean and Mother of all beings to nourish me back to health.
I began my journey by first visiting the river every day. I allowed the crisp autumn air to begin the process of transforming me. I allowed spirit to begin teaching me how to breathe–slow and with purpose. I began learning how to allow myself to receive the necessities of this life.
When spring came around I stood at the edge of jagged glossy rocks as I stared out into the abyss of openness and wildness the Ocean signifies. I have always been intimidated by her, but I sang and gave my deepest desires to the wind. I watched it sail far away–fast and with precision. I began the process of learning how to allow myself to release all the desires I withhold so they may begin to come to fruition.
Life is a natural balance of releasing and receiving.
Healing is about releasing all that you’re not so you may be able to receive all that you are.
Healing is a choice that requires you to choose to be unafraid—to transform your fear into faith, and hatred into love.
Healing is a choice to embrace your true nature–your calling for this life.