Blossoming Abounds: A Springtime Ritual

A note from Erin:

Spring has sprung in our neighborhood. I am in delighted awe! So much is also blossoming in the inner world… I’m excited to share a bit of it with you.

Blossoming Abounds: A Springtime Ritual

As Mary Oliver wrote, “Glory to the world, that good teacher.” Oh yeah!

I recently rediscovered a poem by that wise and wonderful Kentucky farmer, Wendell Berry. I shared it with my Women Embodied group a few weeks ago and want to share it with you. It’s been working on me in some deep way these last few weeks. It feels so timely. Even if it’s coming on fall (for our readers in the southern hemisphere) it still feels wonderfully spot on. A good time for digging and composting and beginning again. Consider reading it out loud. Twice. :)

A Purification

by Wendell Berry

At the start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

Spring offers us yet another opportunity to begin again.
Tomorrow is equinox as well as a solar eclipse and a new moon.
Powerful stuff!
Anyhoo, it sure seems like a ripe time for a ritual purification.

Blossoming Abounds: A Springtime RitualWhat would you put into your trench?

Me? I’d toss right in there my recent mistakes, sprinkled with a good dose of self-forgiveness; the too-much-information I’ve collected which I don’t really want to make time for; ideas that once seemed good; old “to-do” lists – especially those things that never get crossed off; hurts; annoyances; judgments; and all those ideals to which I compare myself.
And why not the contents of the outhouse, if I had one?
Suffice it to say I’ll happily toss in all my old shit.

And what sins might you confess to the trees, the sky and the wind?

I too have not been happy enough considering my good luck.
I too have listened to too much noise.
I too have often been inattentive to the many wonders in my world.
On some days, I’ve listened to the voices of fear more than the voices of love and of courage.
I see infinite potential for me to be even more grateful, more attentive, more loving, more generous, more brave.

I’d throw all my regret in there too, and close it right up, trusting the magic of Earth to turn all this old garbage into something new, eventually something beautiful!!!

This poem inspires me to have such a ritual.
Perhaps I’ll dig a trench in my backyard this weekend… and host a symbolic burial of all the old detritus I’d like to compost into new life.

How about you?

What would you throw in a trench for purification?

What “sins” would you confess to the sky and the trees?

What promise does your new beginning hold?

Sending warmest wishes,
and Happy Spring!

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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.

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