rituals

 

I was told I could simply decide. I could decide to let it go right now, not carry it forward from this point on. Those words echoed through the days, falling out of other peoples mouths, reminding me of this possibility, this invitation to surrender and put down the weight of the old stories. We humans sure do like to cling to our stories though, we like to reason in order to keep them. even the painful ones, maybe especially the painful ones as they have defined us. As I see it, letting go may not be a swift act. Being decisive is paramount to the process, but it is in fact a continuous motion, a practice of choice. A returning cycle of choosing the new instead of the old, in choosing this instead of that, in walking toward what lightens instead of what depresses.

Weeks and weeks ago I did a ritual. I sat on a beach in northern california. It was clear and sunny, crisp and cold. I drew a circle in the sand and invoked spirits and guides, calling upon them for clarity, guidance and support as I cut the cords of past problems and called my energy back home. The potency of that moment, sitting looking at the sea at the opening of a bay where energy comes in and goes out, I felt a deep release. I felt myself surrender.

Life is tricky though. All those pieces I released surged back in like the tide asking me again to take a stand for my path, to hold my power, and practice my truth. Despite my knowing, even with the sacred surrender of all I was holding, I faltered and floundered, caught up in the webs of being human. What beautiful practice though, to catch myself, to see differently, consciously, and choose what direction I want to grow. Through practice I found my bearing and righted myself into the reality I am claiming.

A week ago we had a powerful new moon. Often a time for intending, this one interestingly felt like a clearing. I had already been feeling the tides of releasing, maybe it started those many weeks ago on the beach on that cold sunny northern california day. Layer by layer piece by piece a transformation has been taking place. I have been scouring closets, sorting papers, emptying drawers, clearing away what's not needed or inspiring or enlivening. Letting go, letting go, letting go some more.

For the week of the new moon I was circled in with women, an ever widening ring of global sisterhood that reminds me who I truly am every time I take my seat around the sacred fire. And of course, as happens when women gather, we began to dive deep. Dive deep into our hearts, our longings, our passions, our fears, our limitations. We pulled these pieces of ourselves out, one by one, to see them, meet them, greet them, release them as needed and celebrate them as called. When women gather we look at the truth of ourselves to discover more of who we are. And in seeing others we see ourselves. And in being seen we are healed.

I sat down under the dark moon and wrote a list in the company of fifty women doing the same. Under a short invocation for the highest good, I wrote out exactly what is left, what is ready to go. I wrote down what has held me back. I wrote down what I fear. I wrote down what blocks my way. I wrote down the old stories knowing they would soon burn away. I sat in silence as i completed my list. Feeling the relief of release, I took the moment in, writing it down is the first step in getting it out and i could begin to feel the pockets of fresh space.

Later as I circled round the fire I sat and meditated on these pieces that were ready to go. I sat in appreciation for the lessons and the teachings, harvesting the meaning and releasing, in body and soul, what was about to touch the transformative sparks. When I rose to burn the page I felt clear, I felt ready, I felt very much here in the moment of now. Folded in half I touched the tip of my list to the flame and light surged bright, my letting go a torch of transformation. I held it high, tasting the heat as the fire licked my fingers. I held the sweet surrender in my hands for a moment, watching what has been turn to smoke. I looked skyward at the stars nestled in the black cloak of night and felt ancient. This cycle of death and rebirth is a timeless spiraling wave.

I sat mesmerized by the dancing flames as sister after sister burned her past to step into her future. I savored the rich quiet intermittently broken by the crackling celebratory claps of the fire. I felt the space and spaciousness, the fresh face of new beginnings. Practice begins with the ritual, the intentional potency of redirecting life and creativity in a new way. It has been a week since the burning and I still feel the flame sparkling and popping as it sweeps away the past making way for the emergence of my luminous future. Rituals are powerful medicine.