There’s a famous children’s book about a boy having a very bad day.* It ends with a line, much quoted in our household, “Some days are like that, even in Australia.”
This is a ritual for days like that. This is a ritual for days when you just wish all the parts of you would quiet down...or the world would. This is a ritual for when meditation and practices like it don’t seem to provide the desired effect.
This is a ritual that makes room – literally – for all the parts of yourself that clamor for attention, that demand to have their say. This ritual invites them in to a Circle of Quietude.
What You’ll Need:
- Four candles in fire safe holders (optional: one, yellow, one red, one blue, one green) and matches
- Journal and pen (optional)
What You’ll Do:
Select a space at least 6 feet around. Set candles in the cardinal directions with enough space for you to sit cross-legged inside (or more if you have the space.) (If using colored candles yellow goes in the East, red in the South, blue to the West and green to the North.)
Begin your ritual by standing in the center of the four candles and using your hand to draw an energetic circle, enclosing yourself and the candles inside. Say: I draw around myself this circle of quietude.
Beginning in the East say: Into this circle I invite my mind. I offer my mind quietude.
Move clockwise to the South and say: Into this circle I invite my soul. I offer my soul quietude.
Move clockwise to the West and say: Into this circle I invite my heart. I offer my heart quietude.
Move clockwise to the North and say: Into this circle I invite my body. I offer my body quietude.
Sit in the center of your circle and say: Into this circle I invite my whole Self and I offer myself quietude.
Sit quietly for a while. Settle in. Dwell in quietude. As each aspect of yourself clamors for attention gently but firmly tell it: Hush.
When you are feeling hushed, begin again at the East and ask your Mind: What do you need? Listen with curiosity and compassion for the answer to your question. If working with your journal record whatever comes.
Next, tell your Mind what you need.
Repeat around the circle asking your soul, your heart and your body what each of them needs. In turn ask for what it is that you need from each of them, keeping in mind the Stephen Covey adage “Seek first to understand then to be understood."
When you are ready, close your circle with gratitude.
In the East say: Thank you for being here, Mind. Thank you for all that you do. Extinguish the flame.
In the South say: Thank you for being here, Soul. Thank you for all that you do. Extinguish the flame.
In the West say: Thank you for being here, Heart. Thank you for all that you do. Extinguish the flame.
In the North say: Thank you for being here, Body. Thank you for all that you do. Extinguish the flame.
Using your right hand gather up the energy that delineates your circle. Place your right hand to your heart and say: I invite this quietude to remain with me throughout my night/day/week.
So mote it be! (or alternately: So may it be or Amen)
by LaPadre, aka Deborah Globus
*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (and if you've never read it rush yourself to the library and do so! You won't be disappointed.)