One of the things I find beneficial about rituals is that they ground me; they bring me back to my Intention. Winter Solstice 2016, the darkest day of the year, seemed like a perfect opportunity to do a much-needed ritual to say goodbye to, and release, all those things that no longer serve me. Those things that have hindered me from exploring all of who I am, as I continue forward in my life. It is time for my journey to be centered, grounded, and balanced in light, health, peace, and joy.
I drove to Bandon-By-The-Sea, Oregon with the thought that the special “Circles In The Sand” labyrinth, that was being drawn that day especially for the Winter Solstice, would be the perfect place for the Releasing Ritual that was beginning to form in my mind.
When I arrived there, I stopped at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint to do a Sage Smudge cleansing ceremony to quiet my mind, and calm the chaotic energy that was coursing through my body. Years of inner work and soul growth, in addition to fighting like a warrior goddess these past several years to reclaim my physical health, have all been leading to this day. Emotions were definitely running high.
I had a bit of a heart to heart with Princess Ewauna with her beautiful face of stone peering above the waves of the Pacific as I sat there quiet and centered, writing down the things I was ready to say goodbye to; the lessons learned. I knew that by going forward with my plan, I was about to embark on a thrilling new journey.
Brené Brown, author and researcher of vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame, describes this defining moment as “choosing to be courageous over choosing to be comfortable.” I was making the conscious decision, stating my heart’s intention, to no longer “play small” in my life choices. I know that by making this choice, I now have the opportunity, finally, authentically, to “Stand In My Truth,” free of the limiting fears I have sheltered for so long; the fears I have allowed to keep me from being all that I could possibly be in my life.
With several deep breaths in, and exhaling fully out, I walked down and stepped into the Winter Solstice labyrinth that had been drawn on the beach. I was aware of a new sense of determination and intention. One foot in front of the other.
At the center of one of the labyrinth spirals, I stopped and blessed everything I had written on my list, giving thanks for all of the lessons they each have brought me through in my life. I silently and reverently lit the corner of the pieces of paper on fire, watched as the words ignited, and soon… they were nothing more than ash, laying there mingled with the sand. Released with gratitude.
I was amazed by the incredible feeling of calm that I felt. My steps were barely touching the ground as I turned confidently, and walked peacefully out of the labyrinth, filled with such an overwhelming sense of peace, grace, and a powerful sense of knowing that my soul was about to become visible, maybe for the first time, completely free of fear.
As I neared the bottom of the stairs to begin the long climb back up to the viewpoint, I was struck by the sight of the chaos created by the water, mud, Bull Whip Kelp, driftwood, and rocks that had been strewn about haphazardly by the recent December storms. This was in such stark contrast to the calm, light, peaceful feeling I experienced as I left the labyrinth.
As I stood there, this image began to morph into a message that I know will serve me well going forward. No matter the chaos, no matter the storms that may lay ahead, if I fearlessly, and confidently put one foot in front of the other, and then again, continue to put one foot in front of the other, I will cross through whatever the difficulty might be, and get to the other side. With that thought in mind, I stepped forward, and began climbing towards my future.
During my drive home down the Southern Oregon Coast, Synchronicity jumped in and added the finale to this amazing day. “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang began to play on the radio. (WTH? What are the chances of that happening?) I can not even tell you the last time I heard that song. But, if you were a teenager in the 70’s like I was, you know the words! So with all the windows rolled down, cold December air rushing in and whipping against my face, the volume turned up as loud as possible, I celebrated.
Singing very loudly, at the top of my lungs, and very off-key, I soared down Highway 101 filled with a new sense of confidence and celebration. Go ahead, hit the play button and join in! What are you ready to celebrate leaving behind as 2016 comes to an end?
As I sang, the sunlight that had been sprinkling diamonds all along the ocean, suddenly hit the mermaid and crystal heart sun catcher that hangs from the rearview mirror in my car, and the entire interior of the car was flooded with dancing bursts of rainbow light! Coincidence overload? Perhaps. But I believe that when we are living authentically, Synchronicity flows in abundance and is at its finest!
On the darkest day of the year, my fears left behind, my car, and my heart, were filled to overflowing with bright beautiful light. With much gratitude, I confidently and enthusiastically continue forward on my journey. Ready to “stand in my truth,” and explore all that the future holds.
And so it is. And so it is. ~Michele Marie