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Experience the Power of Ritual

January 9, 2016

Now is the moment.  Stop, pause, breathe, listen, observe. Although the days are getting longer and the light lingers a bit more each evening, the heat from the earth is dissipating and our natural moment for hibernation has arrived.  Life is a cycle, spinning and moving even though we often try to make it stop.  The movement and cycling of life are good and necessary, a constant flow of

Although the days are getting longer and the light lingers a bit more each evening, the heat from the earth is dissipating and our natural moment for hibernation has arrived.  Life is a cycle, spinning and moving even though we often try to make it stop.  The movement and cycling of life are good and necessary, a constant flow of transformation.  It is easy, however, to get lost in the wave on occasion.    Our desire to make time stop is often driven by either having too many tasks to complete simultaneously or in those blissful moments when something amazing is happening and we don’t want it to end.  They are interesting extremes of life, and while seemingly different, find their union in that they are both moments of purity.  On one hand, having reached a limit and needing to look honestly at ourselves and our choices, and on the other hand, having found a moment of connection that resonates with the purity and light of our being.

Our desire to make time stop is often driven by either having too many tasks to complete simultaneously or in those blissful moments when something amazing is happening and we don’t want it to end.  They are interesting extremes of life, and while seemingly different, find their union in that they are both moments of purity.  On one hand, having reached a limit and needing to look honestly at ourselves and our choices, and on the other hand, having found a moment of connection that resonates with the purity and light of our being.

I light a candle each morning when I wake up.  This is a ritual that I have done for many years, even prior to following the path of yoga and eastern philosophies.  When I see the light of the candle, I immediately feel warmth, joy and determination, as if the light is burning deep inside of me.  What was before an innocent ritual that simply made me feel good, lighting the candle is now something that I continue each day to honor the teachers in my life and to keep the inspiration of being a constant student alive.

Symbolic behaviors like this are and have been ubiquitous throughout the world and exist in all cultures and throughout all of time.  Ritual is a ceremony or moment of celebration from the most intimate part of our being.

The ritual in a way, makes time stop for a moment, and in this moment, there exists only truth and clarity.  A ritual can be as simple as lighting a candle, playing a favorite song, snapping your fingers or wearing a special scarf.  A ritual can be going to yoga class each week, or organizing a gathering of friends on a regular basis.  In all cases, as long as you know why you are doing the behavior, the ritual gives us a moment to connect with our intentions, with our dreams, with our visions.  In this way, we have a self-created guide to the path that we would like to follow.  An anchor in the storm, a light to guide our journey even in the moments of fog.

In this cycle of winter, in this moment of natural quiet, why not try to incorporate a small ritual into each of your days or each of your weeks? Light a candle, dance to your favorite song before starting the day, start a gratitude journal. Don’t wait for someone to light the torch for you. Make your own torch, and hold it every day.  Do it.  Practice. Practice again.

Molly Cofman, MSTOM, Dipl.OM, L.Ac is a licensed, board-certified acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist and a certified yoga instructor. Molly completed her Master of Science in Oriental Medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts and Dance from the University of Arizona. She strives to bring together resources and knowledge from different but related healing disciplines in a way that is unique and impactful. In Chicago, Molly maintained a private practice for many years as well as worked for one of the most successful integrative medicine programs in the United States at Northshore University Health Systems. Now, after becoming a volunteer with Mindful Medicine Worldwide and completing a five-month tour of duty in Bhoutechour, Nepal, she teaches yoga and sees patients internationally from her home base in Tuscany, Italy.

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