New Year Ritual
Ah the New Year has come at last, I am caught facing the departure of the guest and the ragged edges of the previous celebrations and leftovers.
Four beds to change and ornaments to be gently wrapped and tucked away. This year I am inventorying the children’s gift ornaments with photographs so they can take them to their future celebrations. I already have a box for each of them of the handcrafted paper and tube selections that were created over the years in scouts and school. It just feels right as though this is part of the launch process.
The pup is content for the moment and dreaming away in the patch of sunlight from the crystal clear blue sky and there is a tiny hum from the solar panel reader feeding energy data into this computer.
Now is a preparation for communion with the ancients of my tree. After the Fall Solstice cleaning, events of harvest, fear, Thanksgiving, and prayer it is now time to put away all the distractions, lights, clanging bells, and deceptions in order to discover the point of meaning. Hanukkah and Christmas were the final year end going out of business sale for teaching the children about our history, tree roots, and mythology. I approach the adult days of what is true as though it is a “practice” or a treasure hunt to my deepest self.
I must have a wee bit of Ireland in my lineage for I am driven to clean every nook and cranny to prepare for the New Year and the wild ruckus which will release my fears and send them courageously into action. I do not wish to mask this event, this opening, this pure moment of expansion for the body and soul. I have little understanding for those who drink the emotions away and hide in noisy crowds and stupor; claiming this is the command performance for a year gone by.
My hand and cloth steer along the baseboards of my home, I find myself humming in my new emerging voice. The pup has nosed out a few of the spots I have missed and now the white of the satin paint accents again the strength of the wood floor and the upright line of the wall. I have honored its work and efforts of the year past. I have taken the time to light the details and lighten the stacks of confusion and disorder.
What talent/gift will I practice this year – just 15 minutes a day set aside as my Epiphany Practice? For a bonfire of burning Christmas Trees is not a part of meaning for me.
I carry the recycling bin to the curb for tomorrow’s pick up and I am remembering the lovely meditation book by Gunilla Norris called BEING HOME. Book in hand, I put myself next to pup in sunlight and read; breathing into the words:
Taking Out the Trash
The trash bin is overflowing under the sink.
It’s time to feed the big outdoor garbage can again. How quickly it happens…how astonishing that every week my bins are full to the brim with the wastes of my daily existence. Here I am dumping everything from carrot peelings to junk mail. What a mess I make!
I try to remember that You planned waste
as an essential part of life. It, too, is holy. I want to keep in mind the pine tree by the front door and how it keeps dropping its numberless needles – a tall and humble prayer.
I want to shed my waste with quiet reverence like the pine. I want some how to have a conscience, a responsibility, for what it means personally, socially, and ecologically to have this much trash EVERY WEEK. Help me to stop this hurry to get my psychological and actual trash out of sight and out of mind and learn instead.
This task is a kind of surrender…surrender to the knowledge that by being alive and human I do make a human mess as a pine tree makes its kind of mess. Let me surrender any fake and pristine sense of not affecting my fellow beings and my environment with my waste. Let me own my part of the landfill…the one outside of town with the bulldozer and the psychological one we all share.
Keep me mindful of what I take into my home, the items brought to substitute for real living – the food and drink I consume instead of examining my feelings. Help me slowly to surrender all excess.
Yes, this is it – surrender – that is the word I am seeking. I wish to simplify my space and life; cleaning and trash removal to surrender. It is grounding and reassuring to know that the folks that have gone before me have practiced this discipline with plainness and repetition for hundreds of years, finding surrender and success within as their hands glide the cloth without to bless the strength and character of the structure. The work of the heart, the work of self-love, the work of building energy, warmth, and momentum; ah this is the work the hands know and causes the heart to hum.
Ancient wisdom translated into contemporary chore, a practice of enlightenment and surrender.
Here I am again asking if you have a practice which brings you meaning and love? Do you find joy in the tasks your hands are completing? I often find more meaning in the daily or yearly tasks I practice for myself, rather than in the organized rituals of my contemporaries and groups. Are you a person who finds meaning within group activities? Or in those moments of the routine? Do you have rituals that bring meaning to you for the New Year?
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