Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rituals

At breakfast today I was thinking about the meaningful rituals in my life. Rituals are simply customs that one does in service for...it could even be as routine of 'how I do my mornings.' I like the ceremonial performance of the custom of rituals. I oftentimes light candles for people that I need to hold some energy for as a gesture of my love and prayers for them.

This candle is special candle (you can get them for a dollar at a dollar store) and as I light the candle, I say a prayer allowing the presence of the light, to be in my presence as I go about my day. People know I have this ritual and they will ask me to "please light a candle for..."

This simple gesture is a love language and a spiritual connection with myself, my Higher Power and my friend, for whom I light the candle. I honor this as a form of energy that the Divine sparks and the Grace that follows. It is a gesture of kindness, peace, love, and an offering of my faith in the power of prayer. The ritual holds a 'tie' that blesses the giver and the receiver.

Rituals hold many different meanings for people and of course, depending on the type of ritual we are speaking of determines the purpose of the performance. Check out your rituals today-do you have certain sets of actions that need to be performed; formal ceremonial customs around different passages of life; or, just some meaningful ways you go about your life that over time have constituted a set of behaviors that you reinforce daily?

Enjoy your rituals as they do bring meaning.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My To Do List

I didn't sleep well last pm and mentally wrote this blog. My thoughts were about My To Do List. You see I never get everything done that I want to do and knowingly my expectations are too high. I am in the process of accepting that I can let go of the chant, "all there is to do."

I find that it takes me longer to do the tasks that in the past I could have done so readily. I am not only slower, but also do not have the focus or energy that I had when I was younger. If you are in the second half of life like me (I count the second half to begin at age 50, since more people are living to be 100 years old!) then you can remember when you flew around getting things done. Now, that feels like I had a magic wand or a witches' broom. Today I find I must work slower, limit my expectations, and take more 'breaks.'

The 'breaks' remind me of the wisdom that was passed to me from another Midwife, Alice that I did not mention in my Midwives blog yesterday. She told me years ago, she probably was then in her eighties (I think maybe that is now referred to as The Third Act, being over 75 years of age), that you can continue to do the things you have always done however, it just takes longer and you have to take more 'breaks.'

I make My To Do List and I prioritize setting time allocations for certain tasks. I am aware of the need to take 'chunks' of big projects. I attempt to bring balance to my schedule. Balance is thought of as time for good meals, sleep, exercise, meditation, interests, short and long term goals. I am still employed full time so that is a big consideration on my schedule. In addition, I am conscious of making time for others. Yes, I have read the books on organization and subscribe to daily emails from The Organizer Lady, Sandra Felton. I actually like the challenge of being organized and focused.

Yesterday I read the post of another blogger, Scoutie Girl and she talked about "The How of How I do it all-is that I don't." It was most interesting. She also has done a video on this subject for blogger, Perideau Designs. I really appreciated her thoughts and her honesty. She shared on the video what her day looks like. Check it out. It is well worth the time. Thanks Scoutie Girl.


Scoutie Girl reminded me 'that I can't do it all' and that the stress comes from the denial that I can still do it all. The truth is that I never did it all. My message to myself today is to let go, shrink some tasks, re-prioritize the tasks, play more, bring more consciousness into what is really important, accept that this is NOW not back then when I possibly could do more, do it faster, and better; but maybe that too was part of my denial.

The bottom line is this is my life and I want to make it mine-not a TO DO LIST! I want to claim my joy, the beauty that surrounds me, the resting points that are mine to behold as well as the times when I feel more accomplished. It is a re-working of my narrative, giving myself time just to BE!! After all, I am a work in progress.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Midwives


I was thinking about the people in my life that over the years have walked with me on my journey. I think of these women as having helped me make transitions into a deeper spiritual life, and sometimes you will hear these people referred to as 'midwives.'


One woman that comes to mind is Dorothy, whom I met synchronistically (which is another common denominator of these midwives for me) at a workshop we both were attending. We came together at this meeting and connected in a spiritual way. She introduced me to the Goddess and from there we studied dreams, the 12 Steps and Recovery, including Codependency. She valued her solitude as a special time to read, reflect, study her dreams, and meditate through prayer. She became my spiritual mentor. She modeled for me how to live your latter years as she continued her personal growth as a life-long learner, stayed connected with others', maintained her independence and contributed to her community. Dorothy latter introduced me to another midwife, Marge.


Marge and I synchonistically had moved to the same town at about the same time, and Dorothy introduced us as she had also been one of Marge's teachers also. The foundation that Dorothy had helped each of us build contributed to this ongoing process of my spiritual growth now with my teacher, Marge. She, too treasured her time for solitude and mentored for me this special time for reading, reflection, and prayer. She introduced me to the "God Box" describing it as a container in which we place our worries, cares, burdens, etc. She emphasized that it is the place for that which we do not need to carry; it is that which we need to let go of.


In this same city that Marge and I resided another midwife, Kathleen entered my life. We met synchronistically also as we were both getting our exercise walking when the rain started and we took shelter under the same pavilion. She and I had just moved to St. Augustine, as had Marge and I. Our friendship started there in the center of my beloved, St. Augustine. She continues to be a special guide on my journey. Over the years she has provided support, joy, prayers, and love. We are able to share books, movies, ideas, dreams, and beauty as we travel on our spiritual paths.


Midwives do not have to be people and can also be books, authors you have never met, music, art, animals (such as your pets), places, and dreams. May Sarton the author, has been one of my midwives and I have collected most of her writings. It is interesting to note that both Dorothy and Marge also shared this connection with May Sarton. They also shared my midwife experience with Carl Jung whom I have shared my journey of individuation. My Jungian analyst, Julia became a special midwife for me as I learned to harvest my dreams and to go deeper into my inner world.


I would encourage each of you to reflect on who or what has been a midwife for you on your life's journey. Perhaps you can share with us here on Kitchen Table Talk, or you can journal on your own about your midwives including writing letters to them regardless of whether they are still alive or have already made their transition.


I recently learned of an artist by the name of Doris Klein who has painted a picture she calls, The Midwives. You can find this on her website http://www.dorisklein.com/woven.html


I have other midwives that I haven't mentioned, however they are none-the-less important to me. I believe midwives are sent by God to travel with us on our journey. Midwives create within me a reminder of how much I am loved by God and that my life is being shaped, and for that I am both grateful and humbled.