New Moon; New Perspective
Using ritual in this rich and churned soil.
As we move through the energy on the New Moon that came on May 22nd, we can turn inward and utilize ritual to assist our transition toward the waxing phase. Here in this new moon, we find ourselves in a huge exhale after the last 8 weeks of social isolation and pandemic focus took over our lives. Anxiety and depression, as well as feelings of inconvenience rose and fell over this city like waves. Some people tapped in to rest and processing while others were called to action working frontlines, essential services, or donating and contributing to their community in another way.
Since we are moving into the next phase of the Pandemic response, we can use this new moon energy to turn inward and allow for rest and healing before the energy of the waxing moon, spring, and the increasing socialization that will occur over the coming weeks.
I am taking intentional measures to show up for myself after a marathon. I felt the call to action after returning home from learning about holistic health modalities and ceremonies in the Sacred Valley, Peru, the Himalayas, and Coimbatore, India. Upon arrival, I started my work back in Public health, and 10 days later, the Pandemic was declared. Myself and colleagues showed up in every way we knew how. In addition, I felt driven to publish a 28-day version of the ‘I AM RESILIENT’ journal to help people through a month, or lunar cycle, of isolation by wiring the brain in a more positive way. I found myself scribbling messages of gratitude on my way home from work in hopes that it would help even a little. It did. All of the tools we know we need to draw on work. I found sometimes I had to force myself to use them; to eat well, gratitude journal, exercise, connect, and advocate for my own self care (which doesn’t come easy as a caregiver). They worked. They worked in the hardest times, and the moment I let them go, I could feel my wellbeing begin to unravel. What a huge gift during this time, to really put my tools to the test.
The resilience tools I used worked for me, but you may find you need different or more tools. The idea is that you practice these and see what works, using each challenging situation as a new opportunity to ‘trial’ your tools and keep up with the ones that work.
One thing I find incredibly powerful is the practice of ritual. Rituals can open and close significant events in our lives. They acknowledge hard times and rites of passage. They create reason for celebration.
Many people take part in rituals without realizing they are rituals. I know my colleagues have created ritual of showering upon entering the home and using this time to decompress from their day by physically and energetically washing themselves clean of what they were exposed to throughout the day so that they can greet their families stripped of what they took on, and more of who they are beneath the surface.
Rituals, or Samskaras are acts to remove the past and generate new and fresh qualities. Other descriptions are refinement, embellishment, impression on memory, sacred ceremony, purification, and cleansing. To me, a ritual marks a moment in time. It creates significance for memory. It is not only important in the big moments in life, but in the small moments.
Samskaras were traditionally used to protect individuals from disease and accidents by prescribing rules of health, diet, and medicine. Rules of sanitation were also observed during a woman’s menstrual cycle, confinement, and a death in the family.
Moving through this tremendous communal shift and transformation in society as a result of the pandemic, I am finding ritual highly beneficial and maybe even essential. As I notice changes in myself, I am using the cycles of the moon and my own physiological cycles to guide ritual. I am bathing thoroughly after being front lines in the pandemic. I am reflecting on my day off. I am marking the end of one week and the beginning of another through simply creating a special spread of nutritious and beautiful foods and taking the time to thoroughly enjoy it and share it with my beloved. I am taking more time to make decisions and more time to reflect and move through emotions. I have been finding myself mourning even the idea of losing a loved one and being unable to take part in a ceremony to say goodbye, as we are seeing many people experiencing in places the pandemic has hit the hardest like New York and Italy. Working in Public Health and connecting with dear friends who have just given birth has revealed the importance of ceremony during one of the most sacred moments in time, a birth. I
As we move through this new moon, I am allowing myself some extra time to turn inward. Here are some of the rituals I am practicing. I encourage you to create some rituals that are meaningful for you, no matter how big or small.
- Bathing with intention
- Taking medicines to enhance my immune system (regardless if they work, placebo effect is real!)
- Creating a ceremonial spread as an offering to myself and the one I love each week
- Reminding myself of what I want by tuning in
- Taking my time
- Doing my traditional yoga sequence 2-3 times/ week
Happy New Moon and may you be well!