The Ritual of Writing

Yesterday, I decided to write. So I sat down with my computer and a mug of hot chocolate, and I wrote. Words poured out. I tend to edit as I go, so perhaps the process could better be described as floods of ideas being directed through narrow pipes where they were allowed to build up force and speed even as they were refined, until they finally burst forth onto the screen.

It felt really good.

And I realized something.

I need to write. Whether I am experimenting with unfamiliar styles (such as the poem I wrote last night, my first poem in years!) or taking refuge in structures I know well, writing grounds me. Writing commits me to myself.

So I promised myself I would write every day. I shared that promise with friends and supporters on Facebook.

This is a world where it’s hard to pay attention. Too many things clamor for us. Too many words. If it’s too long, we stop reading. Not enough time.

And yet I would happily spend hours each day configuring and reconfiguring words, or curled up in my new reading chair with paper, a clipboard, and a pen, writing a long, thoughtful letter to a friend.

Will others read my words? Does it matter? Yes and no.

I write this as a record of a promise made. I call writing my sacred ritual. I will take time each day to write something for myself. I bless myself as a writer. I know that it matters.

Posted in Daily Ritual Challenge, Prayer and Intention, Ritual in Daily Life, Sacred Space, Self-Care Using Ritual | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Beautiful Blogger Award

I’ve received another award!  Sammiwitch from The Life and Times of a Forever Witch has nominated me.  (She, unlike me, is a consistent blogger, and she writes thoughtful and informative entries on combining reverence for the natural world with a consciousness of the unseen, for the purpose of living with more sacred intention.)

Seven more interesting things about me:

  1. My computer is having a problem right now that is making it very frustrating for me to type (and if anyone knows how I can fix this please let me know).  When I type certain letters the computer thinks I am trying to use a shortcut and boxes pop up and interrupt my typing and sometimes make it so an entire screen gets messed up visually.  It’s happening at the moment and is impeding my writing this entry.
  2. When I was 2 years old I was admired by John deLancie on a boat in California.  (or maybe I was one and a half–but still–true story!)
  3. I still think Picard is hot.
  4. I own a pair of fairy wings.
  5. I have no idea where I will be living six months from now.  Change is in the air.
  6. I used to collect American Girl dolls, but I had to sell my collection within the past year.
  7. The Nutcracker is still my favorite fairy tale.

I hope to get back to my regular blogging soon (and fix this dang computer issue!).  I don’t have any blogs in mind to nominate at this time, due to having been reading only casually for a while.  I want to change that too, and really connect with people in this land of WordPress.

 

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Lovely Blogs

And my formal acceptance of the One Lovely Blog award: thank you Neferet (Stay for a Spell)!

So, 7 things about myself:

  1. I will be turning 30 next Monday.
  2. I love to read and have been known to skip meals in favor of continuing with a book I have started.
  3. Fireworks have been known to make me cry.  I don’t know why.
  4. I have a rooster living in my backyard.  It appeared there three years ago.  No one knows where it came from, and no one has been able to capture it.  My neighbor feeds it, I think.
  5. I love the ocean, but I don’t know how to swim.
  6. I have kept a gratitude journal for over a year now.  For the past six months I have written in it almost daily, with only a few missed days here and there.
  7. I sleep with a stuffed lion and a rock.

Blogs I admire (this is a very eclectic collection):

  1. Occupy Passion (skip if you don’t like naked pictures–but these are in keeping with the blog’s theme of the sacred body and are tasteful)
  2. David Leo Schultz (because he updates on Rich Mullins: The Film–maybe that should have been one of the facts about me: I love the Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, may his beautiful spirit continue to soar even nearly fifteen years after his death)
  3. The Human Algorithm (some intriguing thoughts on the human condition)
  4. 30/30 Belly Blog (hasn’t posted in a while, but honors her belly in many guises)
  5. All Maps Welcome (my friend’s witty and observant detailing of her time in Thailand as a VSO worker)
  6. I Believe In Butter (real food)
  7. Girl. Boxer. Southpaw. (hasn’t posted in a long time, but has some great observations on the intersections between self-concept and sports)
  8. Moon Woman Rising (the sacred feminine)
  9. Earth Hive (new earth, healing)
  10. Erin Melissa Pillman (sacred life)
  11. Writing a Life (out of this world excellent posts by a writer dealing with life)

That’s all I’ve got.  I don’t read that many blogs on a regular basis.  Some of the authors are friends of mine, and some have no idea who I am.  But!  I think they’re all worth checking out.

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Creating Sacred Space

Welcome to those who are finding me through a link from Neferet (Stay for a Spell)!  I admit to being an inconsistent blogger, which is something I find hard to forgive in myself, but, there it is.

I have been working on the ritual creation process I offer to my clients.  It is a way for those who are new to ritual to begin to get their feet wet, so to speak.  It is a nine step (currently) process that takes you through the creation of a ritual from beginning to end.  It can be adapted for use with groups, but I have focused for now on what you can do to create personal ritual for yourself.

Please enjoy an excerpt from my ritual creation process on creating sacred space.  There will be more to come!

Ritual Creation Process Step Three

Creating Sacred Space

 

 “You can transform the most ordinary of rooms into an intimate sacred space, into an environment where every day you come to the meeting with your true self with all the joy and happy ceremony of one old friend greeting another.” –Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

The sacred space within which ritual takes place can be a physical sacred space (for example, a room or an altar with specially chosen objects that help you to focus on your intention, and/or help you to feel grounded, centered, and supported) or a “virtual” sacred space (a space that exists mentally and is maintained through your continued focus on what you are doing).

A sacred space can be set up for one ritual only, or it can be more permanent and serve as the setting for many rituals.  A space that is used frequently for ritual often comes to hold deep personal associations with the sacred, making it even easier to reconnect during subsequent rituals.

If you had to fill a room with objects that remind you of your intention, what kinds of objects would be in there?

You can arrange the objects in a physical sacred space in any way that feels right to you.  Experiment with different arrangements and notice how you feel about each.  Often creating a central focus is helpful, for example, a candle surrounded by stones.  You will sit or move around this central focus during your ritual, allowing it to remind you to stay present to your intention.

Setting a boundary around your space is very helpful. This signals to you that you are truly in a place set apart from your everyday consciousness and that you are safe and protected within this space.  Setting a boundary can be done by visualizing a ring of light around the space, drawing a circle with your finger in the air, setting objects down to mark the boundaries, or in another way that appeals to you.

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What Is Ritual and Why Are We Searching for It?

I’m curious.  Someone out there is searching for things like “what is daily ritual” and “why don’t we see the sacred in everyday life” (my personal favorite, because it’s a really good question) and “self care rituals”.  Who are you and what prompted you to search for these things?

I want to know your stories.  I want to know what brought you to the moment when you typed these things into a search engine and this blog came up.  Even if you didn’t find what you were looking for here, I want to know how you came to be looking.

What is it that drives you to want more of the sacred in your everyday life?  What is it that has you asking how you can create ceremony, how you can create structure to hold the sacred so that it keeps pouring into the vessel of your life, strong and concentrated and available to touch and interact with?  What is it that has you wondering and looking and finding the words for your longing and hoping that somewhere, someone can guide you to a clearer understanding?

I want to find you so we can journey together, so we can learn and create and explore together.  Ritual wants to break through into ordinary human life.  It is begging to be let in, to waft like smoke between the walls of the buildings in the city, to seep like water  from underground into our houses, to sit next to us as we drink our coffee, to be talked about late at night and early in the morning.  It is asking to find the way.

We are hearing the call.  We knew, once, how to answer.  Let us ask each other again what we know.  Let us put together the puzzle pieces so that ritual becomes again a stream that flows unhindered among us, woven into what we do and who we are, something as homelike and comforting as the hearth fire, no longer unknown but very, very familiar.

Let us not stop searching.

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Of Dandelions and Manifestation

It can be easy and it can feel really, really good.

I remembered that last night.  I’d gotten away from my ritual challenge.  I’d been telling myself it was too hard, that I didn’t remember why I’d even wanted to do it.  But truly, I am nothing if not persistent.  Over time, I have always been greatly persistent.  I have had many ideas over the years (for writing novels, for helping others to create and understand ritual, for producing interfaith newsletters, etc.), and from one perspective you could say that I gave up on every one of those ideas, because to this day I have not fully manifested any of them.  I have tried, and when my efforts didn’t seem to be producing anything, I put down the efforts and the ideas, often saying to myself that it just wasn’t going to work, that maybe I’d had the wrong idea.

But I have been greatly persistent.  My ideas have been like dandelions: I can never fully get rid of them.  Just when I think they’ve all been mowed down, there they are again, popping up all over my lawn.  Their seeds fly to the wind and root somewhere else.  I just can’t stop wanting what I want!

If I truly respect that, then my next step is to harvest some of my ideas and turn them into something not only persistent but refined and useful.  Dandelion salad, dandelion wine, dandelion flower essence.  I’ve never created any of those things, but I could.  I could extract the yummy properties of these flowers and take what they are offering me to the next level.

Last night I attended an energy healing clinic at a local yoga studio.  I hadn’t even known it would be happening until it had already started, but my intuition told me to go, so I did.  I am so glad.  It was like stepping into a beautiful dream.  I realized that I could not have had that experience unless I had in some way attracted or manifested it.  It just wouldn’t have been part of my world unless something in me had already been pulling in that direction, whispering to me that this could exist.

My ideas would not be part of my world unless something in me was already pulling me in their direction, whispering to me that they can exist.

After getting home last night, I created a manifestation ritual for myself.  I finally cleaned out my bathtub and took a bath with some healing essence.  I lit a candle and re-read, out loud, the list I created last week of the things I want in my life.  As I sat in the warm water and let my body relax, I experienced viscerally the truth that manifestation can feel good.  It can feel just as easy as turning a corner or the next page in a book.  Suddenly, right there, is what I’ve wanted.  Why not let it be easy?  I would so much rather create out of joy than out of a dragging sense of obligation.

Today, I let myself exist in the joy of this world.  I trust my intuition.  What “tastes” good to me?  That is what I will create, and I will let it lead me on.

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Why Ritual?

The last few days (half a week, really) have been tough.  Not because anything in particular has happened, but because inspiration and motivation have been hard to come by.  I felt like I was in a rut with my ritual challenge–for some reason not wanting to put a lot of thought into planning rituals, and letting days go by where I would do nothing more than say a brief prayer or blessing, or take a moment to acknowledge the sacred space around me.  There is nothing wrong with those kinds of rituals (and I think they’re ideal for days when you’re running around nonstop and don’t have time for any more), but I felt I deliberately wasn’t challenging myself.  I’ve got plans and dreams and visions and needs, and I believe all of them could benefit from ritual.

There’s something scary about going for your dreams.

As I write this tonight, I feel like I am in a brief breathing space, a brief time to reflect.  I am asking myself now: why ritual?  Why do I think this is so important that I am willing to bring it into my life on a daily basis?  Why should I keep up with my challenge?

Ritual cultivates mindfulness.  I can still turn a blind eye to aspects of my life that require attention, but it is harder to do so when I’ve planned a ritual around them.  A few days ago, my chiropractor suggested that I make a list of ten things I want for my work and lifestyle.  (My chiropractor is awesome.)  I did this in ritual space, by lighting a candle and sitting in my temple room, and focusing.  At the end of my time, I had a list, and then I set it down with the intention of releasing it to the universe.  Is this the end of working with that list?  No.  I’ve learned that ritual that is ungrounded in action in the world and with energetic follow-through tends to lead not to results but to disappointment.  I will bring that list into ritual space with me again and I will work on feeding it so that it becomes a live thing that takes up space in my head and heart, rather than a dead, forgotten piece of paper.  (I’ll let you know how it goes.)  But, had I not done this initial ritual, of mindfully writing down what I want for myself, I might already have forgotten what it is I want.  I did not forget, and the sooner and more frequently I follow up, the stronger my intention will grow, until I can almost feel, taste, and smell it just behind the veil that separates form from formlessness.

Ritual reminds me that it’s good to be alive.  If life were not good, how could the tangible things of this world remind us of beauty?  I was a philosophy major in college, and somewhere in the course of my life I learned (probably before college) to live in my head.  The ideas were the important things.  The body hardly mattered.  I still think of Jean-Paul Sartre becoming nauseous when he looked at a tree, because the tree had no purpose in and of itself, and it reminded him of how, to his way of thinking, humans have no inborn purpose and must take on the burden of creating one for themselves.  I am repulsed by this and yet there are times I identify with it.  I believe in the inherent intelligence and goodness of things.  I believe that tree that Sartre looked at was oozing with purpose but was expressing that purpose in a “language” that Sartre couldn’t understand because he was stuck in his own mind.  Creating ritual using physical objects, honoring them for their own inherent goodness and for the “language” they speak to us in, affirms the goodness of the entire world of being.  The goodness outside reflects what I feel to be goodness inside, and vice versa.

Enough for tonight.  This is good.

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