Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
Last Friday was a stressful day. I found myself thinking about how I cannot control what happens, but I can control my reaction to what happens. But having that knowledge and putting it into practice are two separate things.
When I awakened Saturday morning I was determined to have a better day than I’d had the day before. I absolutely did not want to dwell on family drama. Not only because of my hefty to-do list, or because I was hosting a literary salon at my house on Sunday, but because I genuinely wanted to rid myself of inner turbulence and create some peace. A little joy would be nice too, I thought.
So instead of diving into my to-do list first thing, I decided to try a bath ceremony I’d read about in Tony Burroughs’ book, Get What You Want: The Art of Making and Manifesting Your Intentions. The ceremony was inspired by a traditional Native American medicine wheel ceremony. I drew myself a warm bath. When the tub was full, I knelt down beside it and swirled the water five times with my hand, blessing each swirl. The first blessing was for the Holy Father; the second was for our Divine Mother; the third for Holy Angels, helpers, and guides; the fourth for All Beings everywhere (including people I was having a hard time loving at that moment); and the fifth was for myself. Then I added five pinches of bath salts, and repeated the blessings with each one.
I expected to have a good, long, cozy soak. But that’s not what happened. First, the stopper wouldn’t stay in place and I had to plug the drain with a washcloth. Then the bath mat wouldn’t stay down and flapped against my thighs and butt. I kneeled to push it down, spreading the front corners with my hands, and then I paused and realized I was on my hands and knees, my face inches from the water. I let out a big sigh. I was so close to the water I could smell my foul morning breath. I want to let go of everything in me that’s foul, I thought. What am I ready to let go of? I took a deep breath, and as I exhaled loud and hard into the water—as if I were blowing my words into the water— I said, “I let go of all my resentment and bitterness.” What else do I want to let go of? I took another breath, and again exhaled hard into the water. I did this for at least five minutes, listening for words, then saying and releasing them into the water with strong breaths. A litany of negative emotions poured out. I surrendered hatreds, fears, petty jealousies, and more.
This was not how the ceremony was supposed to go. I was supposed to soak in sheer and utter bliss. But I didn’t want to stay in that water. I soaped down, splashed myself, and thought: I am cleansing myself. When I pulled the washcloth out of the drain, I returned to Tony’s ceremony and recited his words: “I ask that anything unlike Love, anything unlike God, leaves my body now and goes into this water, and that it goes down the drain and into the earth to be purified and transmuted into its highest and best use.”
I was only in the tub about ten minutes, but when I got out, I felt lighter than I’d felt in a long time. It’s been raining recently in Los Angeles, and I hadn’t been spending time outside. I spent most of last month in the hospital with my mother. The weather on Saturday morning was wet, but mild. I walked outside. The air smelled like damp earth. The grapefruit tree was heavy with fruit. Both camellia bushes were in bloom—red blossoms on one, pink on the other. I hadn’t noticed.
I couldn’t resist setting up a yoga mat outside and meditating under the overcast, drizzly sky. It was cloudy, but the air was cool and fresh. I felt nothing but gratitude and love. Instead of racing around, being a slave to my to-do list, I chose to sit and write about my morning. I wanted to share it with you. I wanted to remind you of what I so often forget—that we can stop life’s rollercoaster rides anytime we want to. We can choose to love the people we want to hate. We can turn away from our family dramas. We can choose to see life’s beauty and experience joy. Peace is here for us all right now. And things don’t have to be so hard.
Later that day, preparations for the salon felt effortless. Everything fell easily into place and the work I feared would take all day took two hours.