May 11, 2012

You Need a Ritual!

The suspense was killing me... what kind of ritual have my friends concocted for me?  The only limitations we had discussed were: no human sacrifice and no snake venom.  Beyond that little joke, anything could happen. How woo-woo would it be?  I could hardly wait to find out.

But these ladies are Jewish... and they're good!  They showed up clutching a few things I couldn't exactly see, and some sheets of paper (we are Jewish, therefore we xerox). They were all quietly excited, appeared to be floating slightly above the floor, and I was too. They asked for matches & foil. Then Eddy put on a kippah, and an amazing experience began.

First they lit up some sage bundless, and Diane smudged the room, the doorway, and me.  It felt right.  Then Julie gently sprayed a scent that she compounded just for me... designed to refresh, renew, and inspire. Together the scents created a special atmosphere.

Eddy had brought a beautiful hand-made blue glass bowl with the word Ahavah (love) fused into it; she filled it with warm water and added a touch of the spray.  This was to be a hand-mikveh: a cleansing for the creative hands, and also for the eyes.  As I washed my hands in the water, they all sang Hebrew prayers that Eddy wrote, to a Debbie Friedman melody. They asked God to bless the hands, bless the eyes, and bless me.  They blessed God for the gift of talent, and I silently blessed God for the gift of true friends.

Then a candle was lit, which I held like a Havdalah candle, and we created a hevdel... a separation between the past and the future in this room.  We blessed HaMakom... the name of God, and also this place that is my studio. We blessed the source of life who releases the one who is bound.  We sang Shehechiyanu.

This was incredibly moving, and each person briefly said what was in her heart. We cried a little, hugged a little, and reluctantly said goodbye.  I gave them each a little thank-you gift, a tiny pink flashlight, with thanks for helping to light my way. These are all ORA women... it seemed appropriate.

I wish I could describe to you how this room feels now.  It's so peaceful and stable.  I don't recall it ever feeling this way.  The love of many people has gone into it, my gratitude inhabits it, and I trust that wonderful things will emerge from it.

Baruch HaMakom.

This Is What Friends Do.

About a month or so ago I expressed to some artist friends my frustration with artist's block. I was on the verge of tears, when one of the women said "you need a ritual."  We all perked up and looked at her, and she continued..."maybe you need help to get un-blocked, to interrupt the cycle of  I-shoulds and I-used-to's and I'm-not-sures, and let yourself fly."  Immediately the others got excited and volunteered to create a ceremony of some sort for me.

Then the conversation continued. Soon I heard myself say "if you've seen my desk lately, you know it's not just ME that needs un-blocking." OMG, that's when something serious was launched!  Diane, who said I needed a ritual, and Laurie, who is an interior designer, both volunteered to come over and actually help me re-organize  my desk & office/studio.  Only I knew what a huge job this would really be, but I recognized immediately that their offer was exactly what I needed: someone else's perspective.

I took a deep breath and accepted all of their offers.  Diane and Laurie came over and helped me get started on re-organizing the whole room. Not only did they analyze the functions of various areas, and suggest different flow patterns, they actually sat down and helped sort through endless piles of stuff, bead by bead! Rather than accept my promises of "I'll get to that next," they pushed me to clear off the desk NOW.  It was scary, but also exhilarating. We cleared the disastrous desktop that first day!

Since then, I've put in a huge amount of work, continuing the process. Going through boxes, bags and piles, getting rid of a lot of stuff, sorting and organizing lots more.  I've bought some needed storage units, and parted with old favorites to make room for them. I've found things I was missing, eliminated stuff I won't miss at all, and the purge has extended to other rooms in the house. It's still an evolving process, but this room is now usable.

And the Ritual?  It happened this morning.  I'm going to write about it in the next post.

Here's just one view of the before-and-after.