Oh, Integration & A New Trajectory

bribri

“Spirit works through us.
We are the medicine.”
Grace Alvarez Sesma, Chicana/Kumiai/Yoeme,
Curanderismo, the Healing Art of Mexico

Costa Rica is a time warp. As soon as I notice how brown the sun has made me, how much my hair loves the sea, how sweet it is to be cradled by rainforest air, it’s time to leave. Back to Colorado. Where a foot of snow has just been dumped on us.

Talk about system shock.

Still, I feel like a ripe berry: succulent and juicy. The jungle is so lush and vibrant, it’s impossible not to emulate her, to drink in her air, to allow her to permeate your tissues and show you where you need to heal.

A month. A month of ritual, of reverence. Of 200 women in white throbbing in sacred patterns to a tambor heartbeat under the full moon until we fall asleep on our feet. Of dancing with Bribri in hypnotic steps. Of rattles and drumming and learning to light the sacred fire. Of mingling with my ancestors between attempting to catch up with emails. Of sweet copal smoke and pipe-prayer. Of gut-wrenching images, messages and lessons. Of beach afternoons with delightfully terrible fiction. Of drinking a cold beachside Pilsen. Of being ecstatically reunited with sisters, brothers, teachers and plants.

My head spins as I try to digest.

Before I left, I was looking forward to this time. Actually, the time after this time. After the processing time, where experiences and learning have been integrated. Past the tender, emotional contraction as I wrap my head around everything that has happened and begin to put it into practice.

I have many new tools: 2 brand new rattles that have been initiated in ceremony, a gorgeous traditional Incan rainbow cinta given to me by a Peruvian abuela, the practice of lighting the popoxcomitl, and songs! So many songs! Let’s call the directions and sing them together. I’ve attended my first Danza de la Luna, an ancient practice that has recently been resurrected with wild avengence. I’ve completed the first level of Traditional Latino Medicine Professional Training with my amazing teacher, mentor and sister Rachel Thomas.

My teeth chatter as I write this: I am so excited to share these practices.

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Dryad by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich via Flickr

Yoga has created a firm basis for my practice: the asana, the meditation practice, the love of the Divine. But my heart leaps with joy at sitting in circle, singing to Coyolxauhqui, learning these traditions of working with the elements, the plants, the psychology, the women’s practices and the medicine of the community. How on Earth did I suddenly stumble upon the spirituality that was practiced by my ancestors? This is where they wink and smile collectively.

As always, there is no transformative trip without glimpsing the darkness. Seeing that racism and colonialism is alive and well has made me question my own path, how I feed into appropriation, and how to merge all that is nourishing, powerful and good into what I practice, and what I teach.

I am moving forward mindfully. I am putting my further yoga study on a sweet, patient pause as I still practice and teach what I’ve learned in that lineage. I’m looking to further my studies in the Mexica traditions, medicinal movement, women’s work and healing.

Wish me luck!

signaturetransparent raquel alexandra

 

 


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