What's your take on the end of the year? Do you take the time for closure, or do you feel the momentum of what is coming next?
Both are beautiful ways to work with the flow of life.
In this blog I'll share about rituals from an anthropologist's perspective, some potent learnings from the year, and at the bottom, I'll offer a short ritual you can do to digest 2022.
I used to live for what was coming next. Since I've grown more mature (hopefully), with bigger dreams and more baggage (😉), I'm making it a practice to lean into the endings of things, this year included.
As an anthropologist and healer, one of the problems I see is in our society is the loss of our cultural rituals of letting go.
Our ancient ancestors (and modern indigenous groups) knew that honoring endings was critical to the group's well-being.
How can the group be ready for what comes next without the transformation that letting go offers?
Asking an anthropologist to explain ritual is like asking Mozart to explain why his 41st symphony is so powerful. You can try...but there's also something unexplainable.
From a pop-psychology perspective, ritual creates an intentional space for the dissolution of an identity and the configuration of a new one.
From a somatic perspective, ritual offers an opening in consciousness for integrating nervous systems patterns and, this is important, the permission to embody a new way of being.
In short, a ritual creates a liminal space for something to transpire. What transpires depends on the ritual!
Here's what I learned from 2022 after processing it through ritual.
You may remember I had a disastrous 2021 in which almost everything went wrong, and I was propelled into a healing process that landed me crying on the floor of my childhood bedroom 🤦🏼♀️
Because of this, I had high hopes for 2022.
Let me tell you, the year I got was not the year I wanted...
And it was still perfect.
In 2022, I learned to lay a foundation, lean into slow growth and heal rifts in my web.
You see, tough things are happening in my family, things I don't share about. As the wounding patterns played out I went deep into the healing of my familial and ancestral trauma that was repeating across time and space. I did ancestor work, healed my body, and did a family constellation. Repairing the holes in my familial web took up much of my energy this year, and in return, I experienced a closeness with and freedom from my family in a way I never had before. The learning was in the value of web tending. There is no "away" when it comes to our inheritance.
I also spent a lot of time waiting.
Waiting for the house to be finished, waiting for my business to pick up, waiting to move in, waiting to feel better, waiting, waiting, waiting...it was a slow year.
In waiting, I had to lay a foundation solid enough to be in my incomplete, unfinished messy life. My nervous system, wired for the 4Fs, underwent an overhaul. In waiting, I learned to find pleasure in the slowness...I had the gift of time and the stability in myself to enjoy it.
A Ritual for Digesting 2022
Ritual items: paper, pen, music, space to move/sound, and a candle.
Step 1: Opening
Open the ritual space by setting an intention, playing music, and lighting a candle. This signals the opening of the portal of transformation.
Step 2: Journal Questions
5 words that evoke the feeling of 2022
The most challenging parts of 2022 were...
The most satisfying parts of 2022 were...
In 2022, I felt the most myself when...
What did I learn from the challenges of 2022?
In 2022, I found the divine in...
2022 was my year of...
In 2022, I am leaving behind...
In 2022, I learned to embody...
Step 3: Embodiment
First, you're going to fully feel what you are leaving behind. Conjure it up with every sense of your being. Feel it fully for one last time. The more you can sound, move, breathe and shake, the more effective this release will be.
Then, embody what you learned. Conjure the learning with every sense in your system. Dance, move, shake, and let it become real in your nervous system so you can move into 2023 fully integrated.
Step 4: Closing
Close the ritual space by blowing out the candle and turning off the music, taking a deep breath, and returning to ordinary consciousness.
It is done 🌀