Begin again and journey through the next 40 days with each other as we ponder what it means to sacrifice and to be willing. This group is open to all! Please bring your creative and willing spirits and perspectives. We are found at http://www.facebook.com/groups/BeguineAgain/
Sacrifice as a spiritual practice had always been one that confused me. I would think of the Temple in Jerusalem and wonder why they were wasting all that perfectly good food; God certainly didn’t need it.
It began to dawn on me that I might be taking the practice too literally. Sacrifice is done as a ritual act and as such, is a symbol of something else. But what?
Sacrifice is a letting go of something but who wants to let go of what they love? In the new age circles sacrificing what was no longer useful or what we didn’t want became the go-to thing but that isn’t how the original practice went.
What would it mean to me to give away something of value, something that meant something to me? I explored this idea the year I turned 29 and decided it was high time I had a coming of age ceremony. I had been exploring my teenage years in my journal and had healed many of the hurts, while at the same time recognizing the destructive patterns I was still following that grew out of those hurts.
I had decided it was time to put my angsty teenage years aside and embrace this thing called adulthood.
I needed a symbol of those years and I had just the thing: my space tye-dye. It was a beautiful shirt, Dead Head style, with an elaborate blending of blues and greens that I could never hope to achieve with my limited tye dying abilities. I had purchased it at the age of 16, bought it at a local music store where I used to sell friendship bracelets I made where they’d sell for a hefty mark-up. I couldn’t afford the shirt alone. At $24 it was out of my price range, so my boyfriend and I split the cost with the intention of sharing it (which of course meant that I kept it and wore it all the time!)
All those years later I was still wearing it. The boy and I had broken up years before. I was married and the mother of a 2 year old. It was time to let the shirt go.
But I loved it! I loved its softness. I loved its colors. I loved the memories of it and of who I felt I was when I wore it. At the same time I recognized that I was stuck and that, if I didn’t find a way to release the past that had haunted me all those years, I would never grow beyond it.
The shirt had to go.
There was a bonfire, and friends – friends who were equally determined to grow out of their old selves, their limiting beliefs. The shirt caught quickly and burned spectacularly.
It hurt like hell to watch it go; what I had done was irredeemable, the shirt would never be mine again. There wasn’t a feeling of exaltation as I had always assumed my ancestors felt while sacrificing. This were real feelings, a practical feelings – sadness, loss, grief.
It was there, in the fire light that I finally understood what the practice of sacrifice is about: it signaled willingness.
In that moment of sadness I had demonstrated to the Universe just how ready I was to let go of my past. I was willing to undergo discomfort; I was willing to experience sadness and grief in order to arrive at a new place of being.
And, too, I realized that if I was willing to experience all those negative emotions I was more than willing to experience the positive side of growth and reap the rewards of my work. I had shown that to the Universe and to myself.
And all it cost me was a shirt.
So, what are you willing to experience? What discomfort would you undergo to make the world (or just yourself) a better place? What would you sacrifice?