So many of my friends are struggling. One lost his job, another tried to hurt herself and ended up in hospital. One friend’s father died recently, another has so much anxiety he has trouble stepping out his front door. Many of my friends are also doing well, but it seems like this spring has been particularly tough. Today, I went walking with a friend. We shared stories of past struggles, how we’d both made it through parting with husbands and lovers, raising children, finding friends and earning money. We walked near Queens Wood, the bluebells in early bloom.
Some of the stories we shared were laced with ghosts and magic, and in the shadows just beyond lay fear, death, and loneliness. As we were talking, it struck me how we all look for signs, something to tell us if this is the right thing to do or if it is a mistake. I shared with her a story of how I once moved on my own back into a house I’d lived in with an ex-husband. My friends had put curses on the house when my ex lived there with his new girlfriend, Â and when I prepared to move back, those same friends all gathered with me in the house. We performed a cleansing ritual so I could claim the house as mine again.
Rituals – no matter if they are based in your church, your friendships, your own private communion with the world, with nature – are powerful. They can help you focus your energy on what you want to bring into your life, what you want to let go.
One friend of mine is trying to write her first novel. She’s stuck on one scene, and her busy life is distracting her from figuring out what her characters need. I suggested she create a writing altar. Images and objects and quotes on slips of paper. Anything to bring her attention to her story, her characters’ story. Perhaps you could make an altar for your own story in progress? A little shelf, or a corner of a table. A few bits of this and that. A candle. And the intention to write, to listen.
While you’re mulling over what might go on your writing altar, maybe you want to take a walk? Or perhaps a long country drive? Â I hope you enjoy this song from The Flower Jax, a duo who once lived and performed in Illinois.