One of the first days of the CWL retreat (see previous blog post for details), Nina & Toby (the facilitators) offered some wisdom passed along to them from a shamanic teacher/guide:
- Consciousness creates matter.
- Language creates reality.
- Ritual creates relationship.
When they presented this to us, I immediately resonated with these ideas; the first two being quite familiar from my own adventures in eastern mysticism and shamanism. The third, however, jumped right out at me, providing clarity around an inquiry I’ve explored most of my adult life: “How do I create healthy, intimate relationships with myself, Source, and others?” Of course it’s through ritual – patterns of behavior – that I create (or co-create) relationship!!
Three examples come to mind: meditating, snuggling, and creating nourishing meals.
Most every day, Jake meditates. He has been cultivating meditation practices from Tibetan Buddhism for years. I have a sporadic and eclectic meditation and prayer practice that I do whenever I feel like it (read: I used to do it daily, but over the last few years I’ve let it slide). When we moved in together, we set an intention to meditate together several times a week as a way to support our relationship and spiritual development. This ritual supports not only our relationship, but also my relationship with myself and the Source of my being. So, while my human self resists it at times, I am immensely grateful when I surrender to the cushion – usually at Jake’s request;-)
Another ritual that supports me is snuggling with Jake. “Snuggling” you wonder? Well, yes. Both of us work out of our home and although we share space, we are often not engaged with each other. Instead we are focused on our computers, telephones, and spiritual practices. Several times a day, usually after a meal, one of us invites the other to snuggle – lay down on the couch talking and cuddling. It’s not typically sexual, but it can be. This kind of whole body connection ritual meets lots of needs for me – touch, care, physical and emotional intimacy, to name a few. And I imagine it supports Jake in similar ways; hence enlivening our relationship.
Making my own meals is another ritual that supports my relationship with myself . I eat a delightfully organic and nourishing diet that consists primarily of animal and vegetarian proteins, vegetables, and fruits (few grains, flours or sugars). I cook often and enjoy the creativity and nourishment that emerges from feeding myself in this way. Sometimes, I cook for Jake, too. More often, Jake takes care of his own needs for nourishment by cooking large batches of meals (often containing pasta, grains, and breads) and freezing them. We often eat together – a ritual I really enjoy. We sit at a cafe table by the window, enjoy the birds, flowers and a moment of gratitude in silence and then dig in! It’s a relief, after years of taking responsibility for my partners’ needs for nourishment, for me to know I am only responsible for nourishing myself with food and a pleasure to share whatever I am eating in the company of Jake.
So, healthy rituals create healthy, intimate relationships.
My questions for you:
- What rituals do you currently have in place that encourage healthy, intimate relationships with yourself, Source, and others?
- What rituals – patterns of behavior – are in your life that are not so life-serving?
- What steps will you take this week to increase the healthy rituals and decrease the ones that are not so life-serving?