Saturday, February 8, 2014

feeling life and creating ritual

This wedding transition brings up a lot.  I've been waiting till I'm REALLY out of it to do a proper post on it, but that's pretty impossible too because it's probably too big for typing and screens.  Nothing could do it justice. Throughout the journey of the past year, I've gotten really close with my existential anxiety.  That's such a funny way to describe it, too, because I just call it being alive and WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. 

 As a highly sensitive person (if you think you might be one of these people, I recommend the book Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aaron), I have always been acutely aware of time passing, moments slipping away, death, mortality, etc...basically one big constant connection to the sadness and pain of loss.  Loss of this moment, loss of that person I just saw in the grocery store and I wonder about their family and I hope they are doing okay - I feel like the Loss Fairy sometimes.  But underneath my pillow I get the "existence hangover" instead of money.  Instead of being all excited about my new tooth that's going to come in, I get anxiety.  And the problem is, our culture is very ignorant about and dismissive of anxiety (which again, I simply call "feeling life").  There are no tools taught on how to feel your feelings.  That is the opposite of the mentality society creates.  We are conditioned to move on, that feeling is weak, that we cannot handle big feelings, and the list goes on.  We are completely void of connection to our bodies and What We Actually Are.  We are in complete denial of the blueprint of our psyches and our feeling-bodies, and yet we wonder why we find ourselves short-circuiting?  Doesn't matter, there's a pill for that.  We are a culture of "fixing" and instant gratification and there's no time to slow down and feel.  To willingly feel the shift inside of the constant letting-go and then free-falling that leads to rebirth.  Our culture is so, so, so void of awareness of transition, or that anything is going on internally in our selves for that matter.  We live on the outside, our souls glued to material objects, running from instead of inviting in.  We project onto the outside world so we can avoid feeling.  Because it might be too scary to realize how vulnerable and fragile we are, and just how uncertain everything about our existence is.

 And when we touch down into that place of uncertainty, all hell breaks loose and we feel the surge of the forgotten and abandoned self come rushing to the surface.  It's that surge that we must learn to welcome, to sit inside, to call our friend.  That's the gold.  We then learn that the fear that has been preventing us from self is just that- fear.  Fear based on messages we picked up along the way that compartmentalized until we were frozen in our bodies, paralyzed by our world of things and doings.

Once we are in the free-fall, there is opportunity for reconnection, for true connection.  For tribal connection to the Earth as a heartbeat in its rhythm.  Getting married is a ritual, a rite of passage; marriage is tribal.  As a way to ground myself and bring meaning to and rooting to my existence, my therapist has often suggested finding ways to create ritual.  It's huge for us highly sensitive folk.  My therapist's son is very similar to me and together they have created rituals and meditations for him to do in the morning and at night.  My Buddhist practice requires ritual, although I have been SO lacking in my discipline lately.  When the morning and evening prayers are fully chanted, that's about an hour and a half a day.  Which, really, I should be able to do considering the time I spend writing online.  Making altars, setting a routine with meditation instead of just whenever I feel like it...Throughout this process I am trying to be more mindful of each moment, of the dance between the outside world and I.  I try to make conscious connections to the earth when I walk the dog, even when I wash dishes.  I try to send little prayers and words of gratitude and acknowledgement to the things my ripples reach.  

Last night a good friend of mine came over for hot tea and girl talk.  It's so good to have that sisterly/womanly/tribal bond.  Both of our spouses (spouse-to-be for me) were away and we were just two women, sitting by the figurative campfire talking about crops and babies.  And the moon.  We definitely need to make that a tradition.  I freaking love traditions.  Maybe that's why I love Christmas so much and the holidays.  It's rooting and grounding and you put your heart and intention into it.  The cooking, the decorations, the smells, the marking of another year passed.  The quietness.  The way that you turn inward, we stay indoors and stay warm and cozy.  And here in Los Angeles, we watch the fake fireplace on the TV and say things like "It's FREEZING out there!!!" 

This week we are going to Boulder to meet with wedding people and taste food and FINALLY HAVE WINTER BECAUSE IT'S SNOWING THERE.  I can't wait.  It's also another opportunity to set intention for our wedding day- FOUR MONTHS AWAY- and share energy with the nature that will bear witness to our union and hold us as we cross to the other side.  

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