The Return to Ritual
The path back to connection with myself has been fraught with struggle, pitfalls and strife. Considering that I am human; i.e. to err; my restored connection requires a certain amount of “practice” to nurture and maintain the bond with my inner wisdom. I am asked to “hold my center,” in order not to spiral off into distractions that no longer serve the greater good. I am not perfect at this, by any means. I imagine that it is rare to find a human being that is perfect at maintaining self-connection. However, with consistent action, many are flowing into a new-found, natural rhythm.
Fresh routines and habits are recommended to build and support stability of character in establishing a relationship with one’s bond to their inner wisdom. These routines are especially important in recovery of any kind, not just the experience of addiction recovery.
It seems to me, that there is a moment when establishing this relationship, that we are asked to elevate our routines and habits to a higher level. We are invited to consider bringing sacred ritual into our lives.
At the core, humans of all cultures used to and continue to use ritual to make sense of our world. We may have different belief systems around how humanity appeared on Earth, however I think we can all agree that human nature coincides with Earth nature. In one form or another, our early days were steeped in nature, Earth, her weather patterns and cycles, and that our lives depended upon that association. This connection to the Earth that we make our home within and upon, is our greatest safety and stability. It was part of sacred ritual, prayer and a deep reverence; if we weren’t devotional to Earth, we could be destroyed.
As humanity “progressed”, we built stronger buildings and bigger machines to protect us from storms and earthquakes. In so doing, we lost our soul connection to sacred ritual and Earth medicine. When one loses, or is never taught about an interdependence with nature, one becomes dissociated from the very nature of who they are. Dissociation, however it appears, leaves us vulnerable to depression, anxiety, fear, and a way out of these feelings we can’t stand.
How do we find our way back? How do we come home?
I believe the answers can be found in our ties to ancient history; cultural inheritances and practices. The answers lie in sacred practices, returning to the acknowledgment of nature; the power of moon cycles; and the seasons of nature. The answers lie in understanding the communication of your body and your emotions. When you become connected to, and honor your natural rhythm; your practices will become sacred by grounding you, guiding you, and supporting you in a stability that is easy and full of grace.
All of our ancestors used sacred ritual and practices as a way to better understand their place in the world around them. Indians, Buddhists, Celts, Christians, African’s; every culture on Earth used communion with nature, prayer, drumming, meditation, worship and dance (for example) to explain the difficulties and joys of life.
Personal sacred practices and rituals are of enormous benefit to creating new lives of meaning and purpose. Not only do they connect us with the spiral of life, nature and earthly movement; they connect us with our deepest desires, dreams, longings and how to realize these inner callings. Sacred ritual connects us to self.
How do you begin to weave a sacred ritual practice into your life?
Begin with care. What do you like? How do you want to feel? Simply breathe into what your body and soul want for you. Flow into these practices and try new things. Remember that you don’t have to do the same thing, day in and day out. You get to play and learn. Your sacred ritual practice may change with the seasons or with your intentions. Maybe you check out what part of your particular heritage calls to you. So many of us are a blend of many backgrounds, your rituals can be rich with diversity! How fun is that?
A simple walk in nature or tracing the path of a labyrinth, can began to heal the soul. When one is confused, the brain altered from harmful chemicals; chanting can release and restore hormonal balance. Moving meditation; such as Qigong, balances energy, reduces or stops pain and brings back clarity and focus. Restorative Yoga with graceful inquiry journaling prompts; (check out Soul Story Yoga and Journaling) brings the body out of fight or flight and allows a person to address fears and emotions in a safe and connected environment. The benefits of meditation, prayer and yoga have been studied and documented. Studying and flowing with the natural cycles of moon and season, hold powerful insights into your relationship with Earth and the cosmos.
I know what it’s like to struggle to connect to self and life here on Earth. The experience of disordered eating and addiction, is a powerful way to build armor against “being here.” Through the magic of sacred ritual, and learning to be present in my body, I have resolved to drop the story of, “it’s hard.” I no longer need the protection of the armour of disconnection. The power of pause, consistent action and practice have returned me home; to me and to my beloved Earth and creatures.
What else is possible for you? What ritual would you like to establish today?