Last year, my best friend Melissa and I performed a ritual to welcome the new year, and let go of the previous one. It involved choosing four things we wanted to let go of in our lives and scattering them to the four elements. It was a very powerful and moving experience, one of my favorite moments with her in all the years we’ve known one another. We’re doing it again Saturday, and I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to let go of this year, and also contemplating the ritual itself and how it “works” for me.
Last year, I think I was too passive about it. Almost as though I expected that, by giving these words to the elements, they would spirit the feelings away and I would be released. This year, I’m approaching it from a more integrated perspective. I look at it as an offering, a choice I am making to be a better person for myself and the world around me, and asking for help from the powerful forces of nature. I know I need to do the work, but if I’m willing, perhaps I will feel empowered by the relationship I establish with the physical world, grounding me and filling me with fire, making me lighter than air and comforting me with the gentle rocking of a calm sea. Each day for the next four days, I’m going to write about one of the things I am letting go of as I move into this new year.
I’ve already told you a bit about fear and how it controls me. Being motivated by fear was one of the four last year, and while I do feel that I made some significant strides around this (thanks to some amazing friends and a rockin’ therapist), it is still very much a work in progress. This year, I am again choosing to let go of fear, but now I think I have a better idea of what fear is – and what it isn’t. I read an article not too long ago, and I will try to find it to share, that talked about how the only real danger we face is mortal danger, and so fear, unless it is legitimate mortal fear, is the product of our mind. It sounds a little like, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” – a saying I truly detest – but I’m approaching it more as, “What doesn’t kill us doesn’t kill us.” And as long as I’m still here, nothing can really be all that bad. Not when I can sit at a computer and type to you. Not when I can shop for groceries instead of begging for them. Not when I can walk and talk and see and hear and you know what? Even if I couldn’t do one or two or any of those things, it still wouldn’t necessarily be that bad. Perspective is an important part of combating fear, and I need to cultivate that.
Do you have any rituals that you perform, be they at the start of a calendar year, your birth year, an anniversary, or just when the mood strikes? What are some of the ways you fight fear in your daily life?