By Lulwama (she/her)
“We’re all going to the same place, and we’re all on a path. Sometimes our paths converge. Sometimes they separate, and we can hardly see each other, much less hear each other. But on the good days, we’re walking on the same path, close together, and we’re walking each other home” -Ram Dass
Watching the sky erupt into fiery colour is one of my favourite things in this life (and probably every lifetime to come after). A beautiful sunset is so healing to me because it reminds me that part of finding happiness in recovery involves two things: one is the continual and persistent efforts of reflection and introspection as you go along, which inevitably land you at the gates of growth; and shifting internal tectonic plates that create wide birthing room for your becoming an alchemist—possessing the ability to change your now into infinite possibilities of healing and healed selves. Ask the mountain how she was made and she will tell you that something had to first break open the earth open before the hot lava could make its way out of the volcano and cool into solid feet to stand tall on, taking up space and being absolutely unapologetic about it. She says her becoming took a million years’ worth of patience, viscous flow and trusting that her wide winged heart also doubles as a parachute.
Navigating the landscape of healing also involves the procurement of an empty bucket. Not a real one (duh), but a metaphorical bottomless soul container you will carry around with you always wherever you go to fill to the brim with self-love and simple abundance. Because the thing is, finding moments of unadulterated joy and pure contentment within oneself is equal parts a collection of grandiose explosive bursts such as graduations and whatnots, and in part small magical moments like reading a really good book while you sit content in photosynthesis at a park somewhere…or learning how to surf the wave of anxiety while you’re at dinner with friends. Sometimes we forget to celebrate the small, quieter moments—the wins of the day, the unseen efforts, the realisation that we have made it to the finish line of every hour that we thought we could not, the epiphanies that we are more powerful than we will ever know.
Therefore, this bucket, dearest friends, is for filling with small sacred things and breathtaking experiences when you’re out and about, and carving out existing outside your comfort zone(s); like watching the sun sleepily wave good morning and goodnight in red hues again and again, hearing your best friend’s deep reaching belly laughter, and thinking about all the warm blanketing hugs you are still yet to receive. What I’ve learned so far about both recovery and adulthood is that there are times we get so enmeshed in the chaos of our own lives that we forget to name the gifts and say thank you for the kinds of blessings already sitting in our palms and in the radiant gardens growing against all odds between our rib cages—the tiny magical happenings that add inexplicable value and character to your life: the tangible and intangible things that drive and guide and feed your own personal journey. The beautiful people we collect along the ways, whose paths converge with ours and are so graciously walking us home to ourselves. The places you have lost yourself in and come back from. The humans who tell you that you are unconditionally amazing. All the things that are only working to better you and make you you. Look for those moments in every corner of every space you are present in and harvest the seeds for the spring next to the evergreens; mine the luminous energy you need straight from the northern lights and grind up the salt from the ocean bottom and put those in your bucket. And on rainy days, when it feels like the last thread stitching you together is coming undone, you can reach your tired, calloused hands into that precious collection of glorious kaleidoscopes, rusted and un-rusted, and use them to remind yourself that bad days are really just that sometimes, bad days. Understand that what it does not mean is a shitty life.
won't you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life? i had no model. born in babylon both nonwhite and woman what did i see to be except myself? i made it up here on this bridge between starshine and clay, my one hand holding tight my other hand; come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed -Lucille Clifton (won’t you come celebrate with me)
And no matter where you go, or how far away from the centreline your sailboat drifts off, you–magnificent creature, will always have sodium in one hand to make saline for your aching wounds, and in the other, an open open container that can gather you all of the holy water that comes with each thunderstorm. Use this to water your still sinking roots. Wash yourself clean of the smoke from the wars you have waged with yourself. Nourish your trunk with respect and call in your ever brave heart. That unwavering light in your eyes is a branch of the Aurora Borealis, which means that you, too, are an otherworldly universal occurrence that demands to be marvelled at. Revered. Your heart is the Eighth Wonder of the ancient world. How miraculous is it, to watch something so soft shatter and mosaic its way back to health? Over and over and over again.
Pangea is what I was when I was born, and now I am a collection of different pairs of old hands and new eyes. That is how I want to watch the world. In the same way white light willingly breaks itself into iridescent colour whenever it enters a prism: as a kaleidoscope full of myriads of perspectives and endless, unwavering hope for the many tomorrows that wait patiently ahead for my arrival.