The end of every year finds me waxing a bit poetic.  I can’t really help doing a round up of all that has happened and assess where I am in the process of moving along.  I just can’t….  which leads me to spend time thinking about where I may be stuck and why.  You know, am I working on some of the same things in 2015 that I resolved to deal with in 2014?  Please tell me they aren’t coming along into 2016….  Do I need a ceremony for these issues?
We all have ceremonies that are important to us.  All around the world we perform them.  They are most often for the beginnings and accomplishments we hold in high esteem. Births, Openings, Unions, Beginnings, Successful Completions.  We call them christenings, weddings, ribbon cuttings, graduations, holidays, celebrations, parties. For the most part, they hold meaning for us and we tend to enjoy them.
Life doesn’t always fit the ceremony mold though.  What then?
There are those beginnings that aren’t traditionally celebrated and commemorated. There isn’t a gift registry or greeting card that’s ready-made for some of our beginnings, like the day we decided to heal, or the moment we completely changed life direction because we simply had to do so.  And I think ceremony is  very much needed – critical even – in those sacred moments.
I was reading Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic and I cheered for her ceremony that she created to declare herself a writer.  She definitely had to ad lib that content!  I absolutely get why she created the ceremony.  She was embarking on a committed journey and that deserved, and dare I say needed, a ceremony.  This was no little thing she was doing.
Or, what about the endings that aren’t so super happy? We commemorate death with a funeral, but that’s about it.  We tend to skip the divorces, the job losses, the closings, the endings.  We don’t gather together, hold each other tight and honor the transition.  But wouldn’t that feel good if we did?
My life has been peppered with ceremonies I have created.  One of my daughter’s high school years held particular difficulty and I sat with her for hours as we burned every note taken that school year.  We needed to leave that year behind us, so we created a ceremony to help us do just that.
There’s a ceremony story for another day that includes a black dress buried beneath an old oak tree….
As I look towards the end of 2015, I will engage in a practice I indulge in every year.  Warning:  it takes me a full day to complete.  Do it longer.  Do it shorter.  Consider modifying it to fit whatever you need it to be.
This is where ceremony gets real for me.
I crawl into the comfiest place I can find, wearing the comfiest clothes I own.  I want this day to be soft in every way possible.  I spread calendars, mail received, checkbooks, photos taken, and I wander back in my mind through the year.  I journal.  I reflect.  I recognize.  I cringe.  I forgive.  I honor.  I feel.
Some of what happened in 2015 will come along with me into the new year.  There was some super good stuff in my life this year.  Many things will need to stay behind.  It’s simply time to be done with them.
Get conscious about what you intend 2016 to be like.  Get clear.  Crystal clear.
And then….  create a ceremony for the ending and the beginning.  Leave behind what needs to stay behind – burn it, release it, mourn it, declare it.  Join with your tribe if you need witnesses.  Have a solitary moment of sacred time, if that feels better.  Create your own tradition.
Get very serious about the work you are willing to do. Commit to the change you desire.  Make a vow.
Design your life,

One comment on “Ceremonies for the Endings

  • What a beautiful idea Rosemary. Reading this brought tears to my eyes because ceremonies can be such a powerful and healing thing. You were present for a very important one for me, my celebration of survival, and I plan to create another for the ending of my marriage and the beginning of my next great adventure as a strong, resilient, and independent woman! Thank you for such inspirational writing and for reminding us the importance of acknowledging and moving past certain life events.

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