Sometimes life feels precarious.
You know what I mean: those moments when something you thought you could count on is no longer there. As a result, you begin questioning everything you didn’t even realize you’d accepted as true.
My house will be here in the morning.
My parents (children, spouse, beloved, friends…) will always be around.
I know who I am.
But what do you do when life happens, and suddenly, the ground you were standing on is shaky (or gone altogether?)
I’ve found that creating rituals for myself and my family helps us move through precarious times.
A ritual is an action imbued with intention. It’s a way of honoring the profound reality of your inner life by giving it form in the physical world.
Ritual acknowledges the ancient truth of “as within, so without…as without, so within.”
Rituals don’t have to be complicated.
They can be something as simple as lighting a candle to mark a beginning or an ending, as my family did at breakfast Sunday morning to mark the beginning of advent. As I watched the flame and listened to my shaky voice singing “O Come o Come Emmanuel,” I thought about the power of rituals handed down, and the connections that happen when we pause for sacred space.
Rituals don’t have to be connected to old traditions though.
Here are some ways you can create ritual for yourself, in precarious times:
* letting go of something as you watch the sunset.
* surrendering a problem to a higher power and then taking a walk, or patiently working to unravel a ball or yarn or a tangled necklace.
* holding healing thoughts as you prepare a meal for a sick friend or a family going through a difficult time.
* singing a mantra or a prayer throughout the day.
* reading a poem out loud.
Our daughter Bridget has had a hard time processing the death of our cat Hermione, who transitioned about six weeks ago.
Seeing Hermione’s body, and trying to grasp the idea that a spirit can be embodied one moment, and not the next, has raised all sorts of questions for her.
Where did Hermione go?
Is she with Grandpa?
So, we are all going to die?
And then what happens?
These existential questions make for a precarious time.
They don’t have simple answers, yet, I knew that a simple ritual might help bring a sense of peace even in the midst of not knowing.
So Bridget and I created a little cairn (a pile of memorial stones) in our backyard. We took some rocks my Mom had given us from her old house and placed them, one by one, in our backyard garden, next to the bird bath my Dad’s siblings gave to Mom when Dad died. We placed the largest rock first, as it stood for all of our ancestors and those who had touched our lives yet did not have rocks of their own. It provided a base for the rest. And as we set the smaller stones around and on top, naming our beloved people and animals who had died and thanking them for the ways they had touched our lives, I felt something shift inside each of us.
The ritual took all of five minutes.
It was simple and small.
And it helped.
I’d love to hear about rituals you are creating to bring peace to yourself and others through precarious times.
And if you’re looking for another tool to support you, I hope you’ll take a look at my new spoken word CD, Terrible Beauty: Poetry and Reflections for Precarious Times.
The CD contains several original poems as well as my reflections on how precarious times are ripe for making miracles.
I’ve been offering the CD at workshops over the last few months, and the response has been warm and enthusiastic. And, as a thank you to my readers, in these first few days that the CD is available online, you can get it for half-price–and get free shipping too–when you order five or more (holiday gifts, perhaps?)
If you prefer, the CD is available as a digital download as well.
You can listen to a sample track and read what others are saying about the CD here:
I’d be honored to be part of your journey through life’s precarious times.
Blessings to you and yours,
The Manifestation Maven