“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I will never forget the first time a hibiscus flower came across my line of sight.
It is the only real vacation my husband and I have been on and one I greatly cherish. We were spending our week together in Kailua, on the island of Oahu, in sunny September 2015.
I came around the corner as we arrived at our vacation rental and I literally stopped in my tracks.
In front of me were three giant different hibiscus plants, each of varying height and size. I felt the flowers open and welcome my exhausted spirit.
As a small island lizard scurried up the post beside one of the flowers, I felt the Divine message enter my mind that this flower would be healing to my spirit, having only lost my sister to cancer three months before.
To this day, I feel the energy of Hawaii as I remember the views, the sun, the sand, the water—the Holy energy that took me over as I snorkelled and the voice of Spirit that I could hear with such clarity. Hawaii’s sacred relationship with the land and the people is easily understood as both sides are accepted and protected. Together, they are One.
For the last few months, my mental masks have been coming off one by one as my mind discovers its realizations through insightful treatment.
I have been operating from a Complex PTSD space put upon me since about 2016, and my mind was harking back to a severely traumatic emotional experience, as it was similar circumstances where my self-advocacy and needing to be heard was being ignored. That previous experience almost took my life. God saved me through his Divine timing, and I am blessed to know the true meaning of the word “miracle.”
Last fall, when I was running around in a nearby grocery store, I felt drawn to the floral section. There was a stand of small hibiscus plants and I couldn’t help but wander off course to see these amazing blossoms and relive, even if for just a moment, my Hawaiian memories.
Little did I know how much that small plant would give to my heart in this immediate moment and the story of my most recent journey around the sun to more mental health discovery.
With unassuming leaves, this gorgeous flora shares her final gift after a beautiful, twisted story of growth before opening who she is for the world to see.
Recently, I have been taking some treatments that have been thoughtful and impactful to help with past trauma. Treatments like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and Reiki to remove the toxic energy that my body has been carrying for almost 20 years. I have also been addressing long overdue areas of self-care like meditation, massage, and communicating again with Spirit.
It is through all of these things that I have realized who I had become because of the untreated Complex PTSD, which includes exposures to events that continue to trigger things for me—things like overwhelming shame, significant disassociation, emotional dysregulation…I could go on. I have previously not been able to address my situation due to the right type of guidance.
For the past five years, I have been hiding in the plant pot of life, nourishing in the dark but unable to grow without the right conditions. I have felt stigmatized by certain people and in certain environments. Stigmatized so much so that I allowed my struggle to almost completely swallow who I was before—and it took over my entire subconscious. I couldn’t take in emotion or give it out.
The walls of stigma that surround mental illness are high and 20-feet thick. I began to understand that, like before, I needed to share my battles to help others. Even more so, I needed to speak up in a way that would take everything I had and establish my voice once again. I am glad because God has given me a loud one.
It has been through hard occurrences that I ended up in the sunlight, and I burst forth because the conditions were right.
Many hours of contemplation have taken place looking through the window that faces my backyard where sunshine and wind live together and birds and all kinds of insects play in the spring grass.
On the windowsill sits my hibiscus. She had been a smaller player last fall and now her game has been in full swing. She has grown twice her size and has developed more shoots in all directions.
I feel myself growing alongside her. As some of my realizations started to come to bear, I would also casually observe a small bud starting to be revealed.
I have stared at this flower in absolute awe, as the significant bud would churn and change. One could almost feel the battle inside that none of us would see as this posy would grow beyond its own expectations—and how beautiful that journey was to watch.
As my first hibiscus bloom trumpeted its arrival to the world at the end of March, I was given thought from Spirit that I should look up the various parts of my favourite flower.
I have always asked for literal signs from Spirit because I am a “black and white” in my understanding. Every time, Spirit has honoured that.
I went to Google to see “parts of a hibiscus flower” and when an image loaded onto my screen, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
As this explanation told me, the hibiscus flower is known as a “complete flower.”
“This means each flower has both male and female reproductive structure, petals, sepals, and a receptacle.“
How this spoke to me in my spiritual understanding, just as nature would intend, was that there is much to be said in knowing that the male and female energies that are together within us—how they are together at times in growth and how each contributes to what an outcome can be. This is not to be taken as the literal sex of either male or female but the energy forces from each that emanates.
Through my Reiki treatments, I have been helped to understand that some of my body’s struggles have indicated more of a female energy in one side of things and a male energy in the other.
As I looked at this flowery image in front of me, I was taken aback at the explanation of the female parts in its biology. The long centre that protrudes out of the bloom is known as the “pistil,” and while there are male parts to that same structure, the female sections of the pistil are at the top of the long part are called “the style,” and the part at the top is called: the stigma.
The stigma, as provided by Dictionary.com:
mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”
(in Christian tradition) marks corresponding to those left on Jesus’ body by the Crucifixion, said to have been impressed by divine favor on the bodies of St. Francis of Assisi and others.
a visible sign or characteristic of a disease.
“knee deformities or other stigmata of childhood rickets”
(in a flower) the part of a pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.
Now, anyone reading this who has education in the nature department might not be that surprised.
This is not necessarily my area of strength but Spirit was guiding me to look into this further.
The “stigma” I was battling could also be a beautiful thing. In the sense of botany, it is the part that receives the pollen to help recreate. The stigma is also the one thing left sitting out of a hibiscus bloom after it dies. I am guided to understand that this is to encourage growth even after one has left their old self behind.
I smile as I type those words because even as I write this, I am gently reminded to appreciate the blessings I have received in this time of my life. I am recreating myself and there has not been one part of this recent wellness trip of mine that hasn’t been filled with gorgeous lessons echoing once again that my resilience and my life, in God’s vision, have a purpose beyond my understanding.
My openness and sharing in all forms may not be for everyone, but I do it to help everyone. I have learned the only way to beat the disgrace of stigma is to show that there is beauty in the misunderstanding and that fighting that definition of stigma is what continues to help me evolve.
If you are spiritual or you are still trying to figure out what that looks like for you, know that you have come across this post of mine for a reason—either to help yourself or to help someone else.
Nature constantly pushes its creation forth unabashedly. We must do the same and never stay the same. The bud you are growing in will help you declare yourself to the world as you open wide and share your decadent colours.
My spirit animals come in the forms of the chickadee, the squirrel, and the mountain lion. How do I know this? They are in line with my energy, and I celebrate them because they are what make me “flawesome!”
My spirit flower? Now I know it is the hibiscus because I can feel its Holy gift like no other.
Off I go to give it, and me, bigger pots to stretch our roots.
We’ve got growing to do!