As part of my recommitting and reconnecting to my work, I am taking on a challenge. I am going to be bringing ritual into my life in specific, concrete ways each day, and I am going to blog about it. You will get to witness my journey into fully living what I profess, my day by day steps into incorporating ritual.
Today my focus is on cleaning my apartment. Very few people know what my apartment looks like on the inside. This is because I consider it to be a mess. Yet, I have done very little over the almost three and a half years I have lived here to change this situation. The clutter has always filled me with guilt and a feeling of helplessness, as if someone had decreed that I should have to step over and around piles of papers, books, and clothes each day, and I have agreed that this is the way it is and have done my best to live with it.
That is about to change. I choose to align my physical environment with the clarity I desire to have in my life—clarity about what is important to me and supportive of me. This is my sacred intention. I choose to use ritual to support me in beginning this process and following through with it.
I am clearing one area at a time. Today, I began by clearing the kitchen counter. I pulled the dead leaves off of the plant that has been sitting there for months, often neglected and suffering for lack of water. As I did so, I imagined pulling away the parts of my life that have withered or come to dead ends for lack of care. Many projects have not been finished; some relationships have ended. I accept that I have allowed this to happen, and now I am removing what is withered to allow the vitality at my core to flow straight to what is still alive and vibrant, without being hindered by the old pathways that are now only energy drains.
I also found a pile of papers on my counter—notes I had written to myself as I moved through an emotionally challenging time this past winter. I gathered these, placed them in an envelope, and labeled it “Winter 2012: Learnings and Questionings, Pain and Healing.” In the symbolic language of ritual, I am setting aside this part of my life, which is still tender but no longer holds the sharp slicing pain it did a few months ago. I am also honoring it by labeling it and placing it with my old journals. One day, I may come back to this envelope and find that something has grown and fermented with dark and time, and new wisdom may come forth as I reread what is there.
Moving to the cabinet, I noticed a gathering of old flower essence bottles on the shelf. I tend to save my essence bottles in case I want to reuse them, but I usually think it’s a pain to wash them. So, I have tended to shove the bottles away, thinking I really should wash them but excusing myself by saying I don’t feel like it yet.
Today, in the sacred space I created for myself by intending to be conscious about clearing my apartment space, I found the strength to begin this task and persist in it. As I washed the bottles, I imagined that I was cleaning the vessels of my life, the invisible structures of thought, belief, and energetic capacity that hold my life together and allow me to receive and hold my experiences. I was cleaning and clearing so that new energy may flow into my life.
I admit that I got tired during this task, and wanted to stop before I was done. But, I persisted, using the same type of mind tricks I use on myself when I am jogging (my new exercise and spiritual practice!) and want to stop but then find I can go on when I tell myself it’s only a little farther. Just one more bottle.
When I got to the end, there were six bottles left which required more intensive washing due to the length of time they had been left dirty. I left those for now, but look at what I did do!
Not only is my kitchen a little clearer, but so are my mind, heart, and spirit.