Celebrating Beauty as a Practice in Healing

By Alex Jaramillo

I live in Espanola, New Mexico, a small town with farming roots and the beautiful Rio Grande who flows right through us. My parents, like many others here, fought the battle of heroin addiction. I lost my dad to an overdose when I was 18. During most of my childhood and early adolescence, I struggled with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many self-harming behaviors. I was lost, angry, and hurt. However, after breaking out of the victim mindset and starting to reprogram myself, I found appreciation and love for life and began my healing journey. Both my pain and my healing is what brought me to where I am today. I now understand that the pain and abuse my family experienced is interconnected with different forms of oppression, and that the harm we inflict on the Earth mimics the harm done to each other. Together we can flourish by supporting each other through community and directing a conscious awareness to the impact we have on one another, Earth, and all life. For all of our healing: Earth is not for sale; water is not for sale; our lives are not for sale. We cannot and will not run Earth and life by profit anymore. We will protect life, each other, water, Earth.

The following poems celebrate the beauty of creation and give appreciation to life as a practice in healing.


I have a spot outside where I pray next to the apple tree. I call her Fiona. Fiona is an apple tree my great grandmother planted. I made a shrine next to her. I sit there and think, reflect, and ask questions. I say thank you for life, health, loved ones, and happiness. I say thank you to Earth, to the animals, plants, and water. I say sorry for any of those who are in pain and pray for their peace and happiness. I talk about the things I want to work on. I talk about hopes, fears, pain, accomplishments, dreams, disappointment, sadness, and confusion. I picture every being on Earth connected to each other by a single string interwoven and radiating in warmth. Then I say, “thank you” to the apple tree for all that it provides and I feel her presence as a being. Fiona is light and tingly and radiates warmth.

Rio Grande Love
I love the feel of mud squishing between my toes. I love the warmth that radiates from the Sun and leaves glimmers of light reflecting on water’s surface. I love the sound of the Rio Grande and her heart rushing back home to the Ocean. I love his smile and his laugh as he splashes.  I love the sway of the hammock. I love River’s sweet smell of dampness on Earth’s shores. I love the little tweets that come from the birds and the wind that gently blows my hair and tree’s newly sprouting leaves and buds.


Red Mountains
We climbed their mighty red structures and played in the soft sand of their remains. We laughed as we dipped our feet in her cool river bed, listening to the stories that they all shared with us and us with each other. At night, we slept in deep canyons where the ocean once flowed and watched little bats take small drinks from the stream. We sang and talked by the light of her new moon. As the fire laid to rest, we looked above to dancing stars and were at ease with the steady tremble and breathing of Earth.

I’ve been changing my mindset, reprogramming a lot of bullshit. I’m holding myself accountable. I’m working on breathing, on quieting my racing mind, and opening a hurt heart. I’m trying to express the things I really want to say and taking the time to really listen. I am practicing patience. I am practicing non-judgement. I am practicing acceptance. I am practicing appreciation. I am practicing love. I’m a working progress each and every day. I am excited to work, I am excited to learn, and I am excited to play.

Not afraid of the dark, every journey leaves its mark. I am both bark and bite. Ready to give with all my might. I am gypsy souled. Seeking to experience the world, share love, and be bold. Laughing till my belly is aching, memories I am making. Nature is there to ground me, sound of the wind blowing against tree’s leaves nearly puts me to sleep. Butterfly gently grazes my cheek. I enjoy talking to the moon, me and her are completely in-tune. Deep connections all around, I am lucky to have found. Meditate. Is it fate? I pray that it’s not too late. Too much on my mind but I search and find appreciation for life.



Red, yellow, and orange all around. To one-another we are bound. Listen to the Earth for there is much wisdom to be found. You say you don’t hear but there ARE sounds. Try putting your ear to the ground. Peer within yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Great changes are in the making. Hearts are aching and people feel like they are breaking. To this I say don’t give up even when it seems like too much. I promise that you are tough and you are more than enough. Fill yourself with love and appreciation. We are all a part of creation. We are receiving false information leading to self-annihilation. Fuck these private corporations. We have moral obligations to preservation, aspirations, education, and spiritualization. We are in need of a reevaluation. I feel the frustrations of the conscious mutations in relation to deprivation, devastation, federations, deportation, starvation, deforestation, incarceration, domination, manipulation, separation, and deprecation of life. This is an indication, no more contemplations. Let’s make a declaration of transformation, restoration, and rehabilitation due to this revelation of synchronization and liberation.

Alex is a 2019 Uplift Organizing Fellow. She lives in Espanola, New Mexico and is currently working on her Master’s in art therapy.