Greenhouses of Grace
By Elora M. Kindred, SHE RECOVERS® Coach in training, SHE RECOVERS Friend of the Foundation, & SHE RECOVERS Support for BIWOC Community Member
“At first glance, I am a middle-aged Black woman. Belonging to a fellowship such as the SHE RECOVERS® Support for Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color (BIWOC) community breathes into the core of my garden’s roots.” ~ Elora M. Kindred ~
This July Is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month. This year the theme is “strength in communities.” I write this piece in honor of all my Black sisters, with a deep sense of gratitude, curiosity, and strength in community.
First off, I have a question for you.
How have communities contributed to your strength and growth?
My late grandmother, Erma D. Kindred (aka Mema) would passionately say, “You may feel lonely, but you are never, ever alone.” Though it took some time for me to realize the monumental significance of her words of wisdom, today I hold onto them with the grasp of a giant.
Without a doubt, diverse communities of inclusivity – recovery, sobriety, spirituality, and ethnicity – have fed into the majesty of my personal development. Some groups I am a part of by way of tangible variables while others are not visible to the naked eye.
Recovery comes in all shapes and sizes.
At present, my journey includes recovery from alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Yes, the primary dis-eases harmonize with secondary anxieties. Nonetheless, there are a plethora of greenhouses replenishing each dry garden with revitalizing grace.
For this I am grateful.
Regarding sobriety, the straightforwardness of a 12-step program, in my case Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), fertilized my withering roots with minerals of quiet intent and celebratory meditation. Each step was watered with tears of bountiful benevolence, pruned with purpose, and cultivated with collective compassion. While planting seeds of possibility and prosperity, the calming cool breeze from personalities in sobriety introduced me to an attainable assembly of spirituality.
In my first dedicated year, I attended an AA Jamboree in Corpus Christi, Texas. A bishop was the keynote speaker. At first, I was apprehensive because I had given up on religion and was enthralled with the spiritual principles taught in the circle of the 12-step program – that is, until he profoundly described the difference between the two. He stated, “Spirituality is a way to live; religion is a way to worship – both require spirituality.” From that point forward, he had my attention.
Taking note of the difference between religion and spirituality, the silhouette of substance introduces us to a favored affair with like-minded individuals, God, and Self. Without hesitation, I can confidently say (for me), recovery, sobriety, and spirituality go hand-in-hand. This circle of inner unity expands daily, and its supernatural foliage serves as the remedy to my tree of complexity. Just as the planter satisfies a seed’s thirst, adopting this philosophy is both reassuring and satisfying in every sense – including physically.
At first glance, I am a middle-aged Black woman. Belonging to a fellowship such as the SHE RECOVERS® Support for Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color (BIWOC) community breathes into the core of my garden’s roots.
This online greenhouse supplies shelter to unspoken complexities, supplies natural light when society maintains an overcast upon my being, and fortifies blades of fearlessness to welcome a new day. Also, as a veteran victorious in MST, I can choose to listen, share the resounding developments from one-on-one therapy, and/or identify with the colorful spectrum of other trees and tulips in bloom. Naturally, the safety of this magnificent place serenades the child within – and the mirror’s reflection of faces like mine brings the sap of solace to the woman I am becoming.
The group serves as a delightful haven of relatability.
Because of the above mentioned greenhouses of grace, compassion, and empathy, my tree is still blossoming. Over 14 years later, it has sustained its poise after seasons of drought, confusion, and paralyzing cold climates. Though it may lean to the left during heavy storms in spring, shed its leaves in autumn, and show little signs of life in winter, there is no doubt in my mind this piece would not be written had it not been for the strength supplied by the communities in my life.
For the curious traveler, the road to recovery is situated within a fragrant field of tulips. The virtuous villages allow us to sway in unison as we reach our blossoming peak. We are afforded the opportunity to have sober solace with the acute understanding we develop in darkness. Indisputably, the strength from communities equates to the phenomenon of a budding tree.
For many years, little did I know – once I was willing to try – it only takes a call, an attempt to attend a meeting, and a listening ear for the blooming process to begin. The remaining efforts come from the service work of others through relatability, understanding, and non-judgment.
There is no doubt in my mind, you can and will receive sustaining strength from communities which cater to tangible sources of your individualism.
To this day, when I whimper and wrestle with tangible and intangible dis-ease(s), Mema’s spirit continues to whisper the not-so-subtle reminder of “never alone” – and I believe her. For this I am grateful.
May we all find strength in communities that nourish our roots and water our souls.
Elora M. Kindred
If you are a woman of color, being in or seeking recovery doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.
Gather with fellow travelers each week @ 11AM PT / 2PM ET in the SHE RECOVERS Together BIWOC Online Gathering. Join the SHE RECOVERS Support Group for Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color – an intra-community closed space designed for women of color to connect and heal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elora M. Kindred is the Founder & Creative Director of elorasong LLC – a small business dedicated to the promotion of personal empowerment and spiritual expansion through visual and literary arts. She is not only an advocate of recovery but also an active participant. Elora celebrated 14 years of sobriety in May 2021, and is a U.S. Navy veteran victorious in Military Sexual Trauma.
As a self-published author, poet, and budding entrepreneur of encouragement-based products, her joyous journey is rooted and expanding as solace to others both individually and institutionally.
One such institution of growth is the SHE RECOVERS Foundation. While Elora’s business serves as a Friend of the SHE RECOVERS Foundation, (which means a portion of her sales are donated to SRF) she is also pursuing her certification as a SHE RECOVERS Coach. She is ecstatic about smiling upon new horizons of purpose with SHE RECOVERS Support Group for Black, Indigenous & Women of Color (BIWOC).
Without a doubt, she acknowledges her Greenhouses of Grace are grand and come without ceilings.
For this, she is grateful.