The power of simple rituals
I find it interesting how the smallest of rituals can have the biggest meaning. In fact my life coach used to ask me, when I was feeling overwhelmed “What is the smallest step you could take right now that would make the biggest difference?” Sometimes it was as simple as stopping and taking three deep breaths, at others it might be to dump everything that was spinning into my mind onto a sheet of paper.
Spirituality is often the same. We don’t need (although we may choose to if we like) elaborate rituals for something to speak to our soul.
Something that brings me great pleasure and helps me keep in rhythm with the seasons is our nature table! It’s a small corner in the dining room that we look forward to changing with the seasons. It evolves with the season – so today it looks sparse, but as new flowers bloom, blossoms show their pretty heads and we find nature’s treasures such as feathers, pebbles or leaves on our walks, they get added to the table.[amazon-product align=”right” bordercolor=”#d8bfd8″ small=”1″]0863156460[/amazon-product]
By the end of the season it’s time to clear the nature corner off, give it a clean, save what we need for next time and pack everything away. You know how exciting it is to get the Christmas decorations out every year? You’ve always forgotten something that hides in the bottom of the box and it brings you the same delight every year. You never grow out of that! By setting up a nature table, you get to do that 4 times a year!
Every time I open up the box for the new season, it brings joy to my heart. Today I found a card that a friend sent me last year; covered with flowers and full of her love. I remembered making my first flower child and it transported me for a moment as I smoothed down her petals and found her a place in the sun.
Death and rebirth
[amazon-product bordercolor=”#d8bfd8″ small=”1″]0863156851[/amazon-product]There is also something profound about clearing the table from the last season. This morning, as I put the winter angel into her box it gave me a real sense of movement throughout the year. She has given way to spring – life, rebirth and renewal after a long winter of frosts and bare trees. There is always hope, always a time to reflect and I find myself saying thank you silently to this angel for seeing us safely through another season.
It seems AGES until I will see that angel again, but inevitably the wheel of the year turns and before I know it, I’m unpacking her and smoothing her hair. In a world that seems to gather pace day by day, the simple ritual of slowing down, connecting with the earth, going out to gather treasures and setting up a nature table brings great reverence and meaning to my life.
Children and ritual
Honouring the seasons is such an important activity with children. They are thrust into a face-paced world of technology, numerous after-school clubs and instant gratification, which leaves little time for slowing down and reconnecting with the womb of the earth that holds us. We see more and more ‘hyperactive’ children or those who are unable to focus and concentrate. Maybe the simple act of breathing and reflecting at the beginning of the day as you light a candle on the nature table would bring a sense of rhythm to hold and focus the child and might just make an astonishing difference.
What about you? What simple rituals bring you meaning and pleasure?
The concept of Nature Tables is an excellent one. I think bringing the outdoors inside is a great thing.
We also do this in our home on a simple scale with a fruit bowl that features in season market fruit and vegetables from our local farmers market.
@Terry: Hi Terry; great to see you and thank you for your comment. You’re right – bringing outdoors indoors is a great reminder of the rhythms and pace of nature.
Your seasonal fruit bowl is a lovely reminder of what is going on out there.
What other ways do you keep in harmony with the natural rhythms of life?
@Mrs Green: Hi Mrs. Green,
Another thing I do to keep the seasons, is to change my office wall art to the season. I have bare trees for winter, spring buds for spring, full blooms for summer and autumn leaves for fall.
I actually use the same frames, but insert different pictures. Most of the pictures can actually be stored behind the current season, so I don’t need to find someplace else to put the artwork.
@Terry: Hi again Terry. Changing your wall art is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of that; it’s a lovely ritual. I have a watercolour a friend painted for me of a snowy scene; perhaps I can talk her into the other three seasons too 🙂
Enjoy your art!