The Power of Ritual

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This morning, I set up my tray, teacup, saucer, spoon… I turned on the kettle, and selected a teabag from the tin. I stood pondering, smiling, waking, feeling gratitude, as the water began to boil. I poured, and the tea leaves steeped, while I breathed, turning memories over in my thankful hands. I stirred a teaspoon of honey into the amber liquid, and cradled the warm cup in my fingers, lifting it to let the steam bathe my face.

I love this routine; it is quiet, introspective, filled with peace.

I have a plain, somewhat tattered, composition journal, where I do my morning pages. A minimum of three, hand-scribbled, they are filled with what Natalie Goldberg called “monkey mind” — the random, disjointed musings of an early morning brain — that I spill across the paper in smudges and lines of ink, so I can clear away the debris, and write or create from the clear, pure place beneath.  I open the notebook, smooth the page, select a pen, and light a candle, simply because it seems right to do so, makes this a sacred space, a spiritual action that feeds my soul.  I follow my pen, and trust the process.

My soul craves ritual, it’s the breathing in and out, of life, of listening, of stilling the world and meeting myself in the space it creates.

I crave ritual in relationships, too, particularly in power dynamics. I mentioned before that I am not a vanilla girl. A relationship, or relationships, that involve power exchange are an important part of my make-up, and what adds pleasure to my life. In a relationship with a strong, confident, gentle, dominant male, I seek ritual, to quiet my restlessness, to turn my thoughts inward, and to find peace in the connection of that shared bond.

There is a man in my world who offers me part of what I seek in a relationship of this type. We do not meet in person, our interactions are limited to email, text messages, phone calls and online journal entries. He’s older, with decades of experience, and  sense of integrity that appeals to me. He knows my journey has been difficult, and he speaks truth to me. He encourages and celebrates my ethical sluthood, respects my limits, and feeds my heart. He has given me ritual that works.

At the same time every day, my phone sounds an alarm, and I smile. My eyes close, and I can hear his reassuring voice. I remind myself that we are connected, and that the energy we share is a gift. When my day is hectic, and filled with distraction, I close my eyes, breathe, and kneel (sometimes mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically). I often send him a quick text like the following:

*kneels at your feet, and closes my eyes, breathing deeply*

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Sometimes he responds to welcome me, sometimes he is busy with his work day, and does not. But the connection is still there, and I find a few moments of peace and strength, to continue with my day.  This sort of practical ritual can make a big difference in my mind and heart. It’s a centering much like meditation, it’s a reminder, much like a spoken affirmation. These things appeal to me, and provide me with a mirror.

That girl, in the reflection, with the happy smile… she is me finding peace… and I like what I see.

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