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We’re searching for new beginnings, my friend and I.

Yesterday, we took to driving along open roads, through fields turned yellow from the heat, with music playing loud enough to drown out all else, and we let the sound paint a picture of how much we’d changed.

A year ago, my friend and I let go of summer.

For me, the transition to autumn was swift and certain, and I gave myself no time to mourn the loss of light. For him, it was different. The slow draining of color from the maple leaves allowed for a deep, lasting sorrow to set in. And when the winter came, it stayed. There was little in the way of spring blossoms, and the summer heat has only felt oppressive.

The cold persists in defiance of the sun.

I’ve encouraged my friend, as I find I’m doing with many people these days, to try and root himself in a daily practice. When we get stuck in a season, and we feel unable to be fully present, I advocate that we make some new ritual to place us firmly in the season of the moment. It needn’t be complicated, only sincere.

For me, my personal practice is influenced by a variety of sources, some of which are quite complicated. I was born and bred an Episcopalian, and as such, my individual religiosity tends to be more structured and formal. I favor liturgy over improvisation (that is, unless I’m singing), and my daily rituals, when spoken aloud, are delivered in a tone that would be familiar to many an Anglican. But it doesn’t have to be that way for my friend, or for anyone who is searching for a method to feel present and connected again.

If I were to proselytize anything, it would be for everyone to develop their own personal religion; to make their heart into a hearth for lighting their own, distinct, sacred fire. How this is done is not of great importance to me, so long as it is done with intention, and done regularly enough to create a deep and lasting groove in your consciousness.

Ice on Fire, by Eugenijus Radlinskas

For me, I need to turn my little room into a sanctuary. I need to light my incense, prepare my offerings, speak with reverence and clarity to the gods in my heart, to all that is seen and unseen. I need the drama, because that’s a part of who I am.

For you, it could be as simple as standing in the morning sun, eyes open or eyes closed, and placing your awareness on your center, or your edges, or the feeling of the dirt, the tile, the carpet underneath your feet.

Whatever method feels right for you, the important thing is that the fire in your heart remain lit, and that you honor that fire regularly. As I wrote on Imbolc earlier this yearI keep vigil to the fire in my heart, for the fire is a birthright, an inheritance, and the fire will keep me warm as the summer turns to fall, and the fall to winter. The fire will sustain me through the cold, and prepare me once again for the return of the sun. I light this fire, and I experience a new beginning.

This is what I want for my friend, and this is what I want for you, as well.

So I ask you, my insightful readers:

If you were me, and you found yourself in dialogue with a friend or family member who felt disconnected from the fire in their heart — their feeling of passion, their sense of purpose, and their connection to divinity – how would you advise them to get reconnected? What words or rituals might you share in order to help someone discover that fire again? Is there is a part of your personal practice that would be helpful?

How would you help get someone unstuck from their perpetual winter?