Rituals Help Us Deal with Loss

RitualA number of years ago in the early morning I was walking on the beach and stopped to rest on a bench at the end of one of the short streets leading to the beach. As I sat there drinking in the fresh sea air, an older man arrived in a pickup. He got out, approached the bench and asked me if he could sit down. I welcomed him with a gesture.

After three or four minutes of sitting in silence he got up to leave with the words, “My wife died about a year ago and this was her favorite spot. So every morning about this time I come down to say good morning to her.” He climbed into his pickup and left.

I was impressed with the wisdom of this man…

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Rituals for Celebration and Life

Child`s baptismCelebration

Rituals play an important role in our celebration of important events. The rituals surrounding Christmas and Hanukkah tend to pull like people together and acknowledge that a year has passed. Birthday celebrations similarly mark a passing, albeit in a smaller circle.

Most societies still have rituals around coming-of-age. That’s why they are often called “rites of passage.” In the modern world we celebrate graduations…

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Morphic Fields: Be Careful Where You Focus Your Attention

Hiking in Canadian RockiesI hiked one day with a woman I’ll call Laura. She shared with me that she had just lost her husband. She said that for a number of years he had been obsessed with avoiding all foods and environmental toxins that had any claimed connection to cancer. I asked her how he died and she replied, “Cancer of course. His body was totally riddled with it.”

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Stroke: Four Months out

A little over two months ago I updated you on my stroke recovery. A lot has happened since then, not just on the physical level, but also on the emotional and spiritual levels. It has now been four months since my stroke.

The Physical

When I last wrote, I was moving around the house with a two-wheeled walker. I graduated to a four-wheeled walker that I could take outside. By late May I had switched to two canes. June brought a return to driving much to my delight and relief…

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Appreciate the Flower Power

Flower Power

The blossoms and flowers are out in their full magnificence in Victoria B.C. where I was yesterday. I feasted my eyes on the flowering trees lining the streets and the daffodils. Back home a camellia is blooming in our own yard. I have always loved to drink in the energy of blooms.

Back in the sixties and early seventies, we had the “flower children,” a synonym for the hippies. Idealistic young people would wear flowers in their hair as a symbol of love and peace. Their slogan was “flower power” which stood for non-violence in the face of the Vietnam war. The flower children exerted a powerful influence on society. Those were the days of Woodstock and Easy Rider.

Decades later I discovered and wrote about what I call the appreciation break. If you want to pick yourself up from a low mood, or if you are feeling stressed, stop and for 15 or 20 seconds just look at something you appreciate or are grateful for. Focus on it and let yourself feel it at the heart level. Then let it go. Do it any time for a pick-me-up.

The object of your appreciation or gratitude can be in the external world or in your memory. It can be a person or a thing, a song or a saint, so long as you really appreciate it.

The more often you practice this simple gratitude exercise, the easier it becomes to slip into a state of appreciation. It tends to bring your heart rhythm into coherence and bring you into a deeper sense of connectedness with the universe. It’s like a prayer of thanks. It is up to you whether or not you give it a religious connotation.

What I did not understand until more recently was that there is more to flower power than the social movement it symbolized.

Back when I started to use the appreciation break for myself, there was a beautiful public flowerbed a few blocks from my home. That, or my mental picture of it, is what I focused on in my appreciation breaks. Within seconds, my body and mind would relax.

What I subsequently discovered was that I got better results from the appreciation break by focusing on flowers, rather than on other things. Flowers seemed to have a special energy. On reflection, I realized that all my life I had found flowers uplifting and empowering.

I asked a few other people and they confirmed my experience. One friend has built a business around the power of flowers.

Perhaps I have just discovered what gardeners have known all along. Perhaps the flowers in the hippie movement half a century ago played much more than a symbolic role in the social change that ensued.

I invite you to be curious about how the multitude of blooms around you these days are affecting you.