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What is Yours: Empowered Action through Ceremony

So much of the intensity of today's world is experienced internally. We often categorize ourselves as "a leaf in the wind", hurtling into the future moment by moment with no power to control our trajectory. This is an illusion. The reality is that we are both the leaves and the wind. And the blowhards we give our power over to--the authorities that appear to dictate our direction and speed-- would be meaningless if not for the air we breathe and the spirit we embody.

So how is it, you might ask, that we've lost the awareness of our own power? At what point did our sovereignty and joy in being become overshadowed by all that seeks to exploit us? Today I'll give you a short-take of my theory: lifetimes of trauma, disappointment, and heartache. Through my emotions my soul has been stirring... telling me something was stolen from me. Lately it's been asking me what I'm going to do about it.

So here's what we can do...

  1. Find some paper that easily burns and makes you feel excited to light. You can pick your writing implement. I like ballpoint pens so I can feel my lines dig into the paper when I get emotional. Make time for this when you won't feel rushed. Use what you have (i.e.: privacy; smudging; crystals, etc.) to help you feel safe wherever and whenever you decide to do this.

  2. Start writing. Write what is hurting you. Put down everything that you feel you've lost. ...Everything you wished for but didn't get. Give breath to what and who you have mourned, missed, lost or had to leave. List the days you wondered if life was worth living. Write the names. Call it what it was. Let your ears and eyes acknowledge what you've been through. Think of yourself as an accountant making an itemized list of the karma evil has racked up during your lifetime (and any other lifetime you recall). Have no fear.

  3. Stay strong. Use all the paper you've got. Go get some more. Use a napkin if you have to. Where are you hurting? What makes you feel shame. Give it voice. Put on paper everything that's been taken away from you. Let your higher self and soul inspire you. Dig deep into the recesses of suppressed grief finally giving it permission to move-- to be seen, heard, brought out into the light of day (or moon) and, finally, released.

  4. Let yourself be supported. Know that you are strong enough to feel all the feelings. It's up to you how deeply you excavate and your ego has a lot of practice protecting you from the awareness of what has been hurting you. What would it take for you to give yourself permission to surrender to this process? My peptalk is that you're already feeling these things so is it really going to hurt you more to be honest with yourself about it? What is true? [And remember, you don't have to go it alone... Even Frodo had Sam! Phone a friend. When you feel weak or unsure, you can find a tree to lean against, a version of yourself that you are fighting for, a therapist or loved one that gives you the hope you need to keep going. Call on your spiritual support and give them permission to keep you safe. Use music to hold the space. Make a list of everything that is here to support you today. Pick something that reminds you of that support and what your life means to you and place it where your eyes can see it.]

  5. Choose. The personal power you enact by loving yourself enough to set yourself free is the fire. No more will you be the wind hurting yourself at their command. You can be the air that burns as it lifts your pain heavenward. If you're honest enough with yourself as you write it all out, then freedom (the kind you grant your self) is at your fingertips. Make the decision to unburden yourself and let it go. Remember that these emotions are a part of your past experience and this pain wasn't meant to be held forever. No, it was tucked away just waiting for a fire hot enough to transmute it and grant you the healing you deserve.

  6. Let it burn (in an outdoor firepit, campfire, metal pot, etc. with water handy and safety precautions fully in place). Ceremony is a powerful action and deserves the respect of both spiritual and physical safety. Use your words to set your intention of experiencing the surrender that is for your Highest Good. We're working with the elements here so please be mindful of what you do and don't want to see go up in flames. You are not the words on the paper, those are transient. Temporary. But symbolically your will is the fire. And you were the paper, holding on to stuck emotions, fear, and disempowerment. You're burning away all the versions of yourself that you thought you had to be to withstand this pain... this pain that was never meant to be permanent. Let it go up in smoke and carried away by the loving Universe that absolutely, 100%, has your back.

  7. Trust. Let yourself release fully. Cry, scream, whisper, shake it out and off of you. Use your breath, or play drumming music or use instruments to help it all move from your body. Make the most of your brave effort. Thank the wood for the kindling, thank the divine spark that ignited it. Thank the water in your body for holding your pain until you were ready to let it go. Thank the tears, breath, ink, smoke, and noise for finally helping it move on. No one can stop you from healing. No one can keep you stuck in misery- especially the fears that were powered by your own energy. Now is the time to give it back to the Universe to be cleansed and transmuted so that something better may come of it.

  8. Rest. You are being cleansed and made new. It can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Your body and mind will need this pause. When the previous steps are complete, using water to gently quell the fire with gratitude can help you feel more calm. It's another act of ceremony to let your brain know that you are stepping into a future that isn't burdened by the past. Ritual bathing, blessing, and dancing are all good ways to embody the relief you feel in any part of you that let something go. Your commitment to yourself is something to celebrate. Things are different now. Take a moment to thank everything and everyone that helped you get here. A peaceful sleep also helps integrate healing. Listen to your physical body as it asks you for what it needs to recalibrate to this new, unburdened state because physical integration of this healing takes time. Your DNA responds to your emotional body and your cells will need energy (in the form of self-love, water, rest, nutrition, light & healing sound).

  9. Resolution. The closing out of a cycle (or many cycles) doesn't necessarily happen overnight. Building self-trust is super important in the coming days. All the parts of your inner-self require reassurance that it's safe to break old patterns and embody your personal power. Conscious inner dialogue can help you work through anxiety if your inner child still feels an expectation of punishment. It may take some time for your adult self to become the authority figure that comforts them. Communicate to them lovingly that the looming threat of external "authority" has passed even though you aren't conforming to the old way of doing things. Put more joy and fun in your schedule to reward yourself for doing the hard things. Give yourself hugs and bravely ask the Universe or other people for what you need. Take time to get to know you again.

  10. The space between what was and what will be. Try to learn how you can show up for yourself better and continue integrating the fragments of your soul as you give breath and voice to your authentic, evolving self. It's time to transition from surviving to thriving. Look at your calendar, daily activities, or inner dialogue and notice where you're giving your power away. What have you been investing or exerting a lot of energy into that just isn't in alignment any more? It's a great time to reassess and identify your core values. How can you work with what you already have to create a life for yourself that feels more authentic?

  11. You are worthy of YOU. Free from the burden of shame you reclaim your sovereign creativity. Manifestation will happen when you direct new flows of energy in a focused direction. Admit to yourself if you have new priorities-- even if it's just about how you feel! Your energy is invested in creation through the time that you give to something or someone, the money you invest or spend, and the amount of thought you give it/them. You are significant and so are the ways in which you lean in, hold space, hold back or play small. Be mindful of how you're engaging with environment and people around you. Ask yourself: What are you allowing in the sphere of your personal power and is it allowing you? How can you honor the light you've reclaimed? Celebrate your soul as it expresses itself through your life and start setting goals, gathering support, and making plans.


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