“Fern” by Vanessa Baltodano

I find it so interesting, this becoming. This path of moving forward, left, right, up and down and backwards again as we continuously expand and become more and more ourselves. And then I ask myself, how many of us stifle, create roadblocks, create fences and dams albeit unconsciously, subconsciously or consciously as a way to not feel, to avoid pain and joy all at the same time. If only we could accept life as it is offered to us by the divine, the infinite one, the all that is, served on a silver-platter spilling over in all colors of the color spectrum of the universe.  

Not so long ago, I answered a calling. This is a calling that the old me would have convinced to stay quiet and preach all the reasons why the calling is not reasonable nor productive or approved or accepted by the environment I myself had built up to this point. An environment that includes friends, family, culture, television, social media and the pattern that I myself had enforced in my mind and my nervous system over the years. The new me, which is birthing, as we speak, ignored the pattern of the old me and spoke with a different tone, a new frequency, a rhythm that could only be described as freedom. It told me to move towards the things that set my soul free, that made my heart sing, and that could demonstrate to me that enjoying it alone was the only way it could be enjoyed. And there, in the middle of “nowhere” a seed of an idea sprouted. Descanso Gardens, a place I’ve been wanting to explore and take my time to enjoy had appeared in the forefront of my mind. This is also a place I tried whole heartedly to convince one of my previous partners to take me. This place and many others, I tried to convince him to go and to explore. “Take me! Take me!” I would say and he’d pay a no never mind to my requests. I think of this now and realize how much I depended on him to fill me up with joy and to be the gatekeeper of my happiness and expansion. It was through the last three years of my relationship that I realized how suffocating this relationship was to my growth and my expansion. This relationship was only about moving in one direction, not in all directions. It was the embodiment of linear movement that knew nothing of expansion. Let it be clear that I am not pointing the blame on one person. Let it be known that I recognize it as a creation of both of our making and no one else outside of us could break it. And so, I did. I set us both free. 

Since this break, I have gone through many more initiations. This most recent initiation that is occurring as I’m writing this is like no other. And if you’re on this spiritual journey as I am, you know that no two initiations are the same. This initiation is about me returning to myself. The path of returning to the self, I’m discovering, is a bundle of different emotions. It includes pain, grief, sorrow among a dispersing of mental patterns that inflict pain on the newly returning you. The emotions also include joy, excitement, contentment, and strong feelings of loneliness. Ultimately, what I find is my eagerness to become more and more of myself all the while still embracing the fear of losing all that came with forgetting who I am. My soul’s voice Is becoming stronger, I must say, and it sings in the patterns of expansion, all-inclusiveness, and love-true love! 

My walk-through Descanso Gardens was so special. I went alone and it was perfect. I arranged it all without having to convince someone else to come along with me. As I walked through the many gardens, I took my time with every plant, I paused every chance I could to just listen. Have you ever stopped to just listen? There is so much that the moment wants to say to us to support us and remind us of who we are. On this journey, I did just that. I ate lunch alone. I took my time enjoying the view and eating my lunch without having to “turn-it-on” as a hostess for my guest. I didn’t have to rush through the experience because someone else was bored are participating to please someone outside of themselves. It was on this day that I enforced the knowing that I no longer had to “turn it on” any longer or had to depend on someone else to fill my own cup or find joy. 

On my final loop around the gardens, I visited the Ancient Plants Garden, and this is where I experienced the most magic. This is where I could hear and feel the plants speak to me. It is here that I heard my brother “fern” share his wisdom. He spoke to me in his unfurling, his expression, and in his radiant Green being. I close this with what “fern” shared as his experience and lesson of the “expansion” consciousness: 

“Expansion is an “Unfolding” that moves towards the sun as it simultaneously moves towards its full expression. Expansion is not just upwards or forward movement. It is also up, down, diagonal, side, and all the directions in between. Just as my leaves unfurl and uncurl in all directions, so does your expansion. Just like my leaves, you too can find curling as being necessary at the times of protection allowing your spring hairs to stand guard while your internal growth continues. But this position is meant to be temporary. Expansion is patient and knowledgeable and knows when the time is right to open to its full expression. Just like my leaves, your expansion is subconsciously reaching for the light waiting to open and bless those around it with its moistened gift of green. I invite you to take the path of least resistance and expand.” 

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