December just ended, another month of another year that holds ceremony at its heart. It is a contemplatory time, a time to go in and be with our loved ones. A time to slow down and reflect on our life, what we are grateful for and what we could improve upon. The end of another eventful year.
I have had difficulties with ceremonies, rituals or rites, in the past. I have found many of them to be empty and habitual, making me feel awkward and misplaced. I often felt like I had to conform to this form that had nothing to do with me.
In church we repeat, we get up, we sit down, repeat. We have rituals that have come along through religions or social custom, through tradition and historical hand me downs, that are far removed from our reality today.
Probably all initially were practices close to peoples heart, deep with meaning and prayer. I do understand and acknowledge humans need for the safety and comfort that lays in repetition. As well as the fundamental and devotional practice in dedicating an act to something bigger then ourselves, as to show gratitude, ask for help or simply show respect to that, which we feel to be with us, yet can not be seen.
All of this makes complete sense to me. What I have been observing however (and trust me, I have been to my fair share of ceremonies and ritual of all sorts, cultures, religions and faiths. From weddings, water blessings, fertility rites, rites of passage, services, offerings to the gods, prayers of all sorts, healing ceremonies, you name it…), is that many of them have become depleted of the potency they once carried, due to the missing depth and knowledge of their heritage, combined with a sort of routine or sensationalism that seems to strip them of their profundity.
Only recently have I befriended this way of offerings back into my life. Not to say that I still get the heebie-jeebies with many, or even most traditionally practiced ceremonies. I have a sensitive radar for performance and bullshit opposed to meaning and sanctity.
So here is the good news.
Where we are the initiators of our ceremonies, say Christmas for instance, or New Years Eve, we get to be the deciding factor in whether or not it will be another empty custom to get through, or a sacred and significant moment in our lives.
What I find, and that obviously might be different for you, but is, that if I bring true intention and presence to the table, with pretty much anything in life, it can become ceremonial.
The simple act of being with something intensely and allowing it to touch our heart and souls can be a spiritual experience, easily brought into a tradition that would be nothing but a lip service without it.
This is not to discredit the ways and conventions people have honored god and tradition in the past, this is simply and invitation to not let them be habits void of value, but to consciously decide to make this particular one a sincere and heartfelt one.
We get to chose how much of ourselves we bring to the holidays, or how much we simply go through the motions of what we know it should look like.
Every moment of every day can be ceremonious if only we give it the due awareness and intention.
How about we make our intent the objective of these times, rather then the form. In that way we can stay ourselves with everything that feels true to us rather then bending backwards to fit a construct that might feel outdates or foreign to us.
It is a beautiful, devotional time, especially if we don’t put too many restrictions on it. How would you like to celebrate this time? Which are the prayers and honorings that feel genuine and authentic to your being.
Make those the core of your tradition.
Co-Founder DIMA Mallorca, Holistic Counsellor