The Need for Rituals

I’m not a creature of habit, and I have never really made friends with routine. If anything, I found it scary because I usually felt so comfortable with change. But one thing is change, and the other is chaos and I was definitely leaning more in the direction of the second.

My best friend once told me: “Your middle name should have been Chaos, you know!” I don’t actually have a middle name, nor do I think Chaos would sit exceptionally well beside Tamara. However, if I take into consideration the meanings of both names (Chaos and Tamara, which in Hebrew means “date”, the fruit of the date palm), I come to think that I might just be here to find the sweet spot within my thunder, the calm within the storm.

*How do I do that? Daily rituals.

I’m not necessarily only talking about the morning routine, but a night one, and maybe a midday one, and before and after meals. What I’m talking about is Sādhanā. The word comes from Sanskrit, where it means “spiritual exertion towards an intended goal”. I have witnessed Hindus make poojas several times per day, each day, but I never really thought about the whys, until recently. It’s to keep the connection with God/ the Universe/ all that is/ Earth/ yourself/ life at arms’ length. It’s just that. No matter what your religion or no religion is, everyone’s “intended goal” is to be happy, right? In other words – peaceful.

There are certainly different paths to happy. In fact, I will go thus far as to claim that there are as many ways as there are people. It’s true. Blessed be our uniqueness, blessed be our equality.

I said Sādhanā was a spiritual practice. What that means is it’s a life practice, because all of life is spiritual, even taking out the trash, washing the dishes, freaking out, crying out loud, having sex. This only goes to prove that your rituals might include a warm cup of tea drank before going to bed, a blog that you read daily right before you start working, the walk that you take over to the grocer’, a stare at a night’s sky, a massage of your breasts at dawn, listening to that song, pulling those oracle cards, looking yourself in the mirror and saying out loud how much you miss yourself, going to pick up wood for fireplace, a green smoothie, a combing of your hair, a dance to the dark goddess. It may be anything and everything. The only thing that’s important is that you recognize it, and cherish it for it’s here to aid you.

It’s not like we lose the connection if we don’t pray/ meditate/ do breathing exercises regularly. The connection is always here because we are a part of all that is and that cannot be undone. However, if we don’t keep our rituals regular, we tend to forget about the connection more easily because there’s less (no) things reminding us of the sacredness of life.

I think that is what brings us peace in the first place: seeing, and feeling, and smelling, and touching, and tasting the sacredness of life and of ourselves.

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Forgetting to Breathe?

We all find ourselves in situations that feel uneasy, right?

Sometimes it’s because our unconscious mind takes the lead, without us taking any part. Other times we consciously create them, but ignore the alarm that turns on when we plan. I often do that. I have this fear of being bored or something (that definitely needs further investigation), plus I take no conscious notice of time, so I rather keep myself on a tight schedule than no schedule at all. I did this today, too.

A friend of mine invited us to go for a dip in our lovely river Glinščica, just below the old railway tracks Trieste (Italy) – Rijeka (Croatia). A dip in the river in the middle of summer sounded wonderful, and so did hanging out with new friends who were on the same wave-length, so naturally I said yes. The walk down the canyon was supposed to take half an hour, but actually took us at least an hour with Svarun’s pace. We had a wonderful time, but when we got back, we felt exhausted. Nothing wrong with that, though. Except I had to go to Ljubljana to pick a friend of mine and Svarun’s grandmother who were both visiting us, spend the night here, and go researching the Dragonja river valley here in Istria tomorrow. Right now I feel drenched. But as I said: I love being busy and there is nothing wrong with that. Except – am I capable of not being busy?

When we got to our place, Svarun was hitting the roof. He often does that when grandparents are involved, because they have no authority over him. It was in the midst of his jumping around on my birthing ball that I had this moment of peace; I realized I took no notice of me today. What that means is I forgot to breathe. Breathing is what connects us with ourselves, as well as to our time and space. Breathing is what keeps us grounded. When we are not aware of our breath, we aren’t aware of ourselves. When we aren’t aware of ourselves, life lives us. When we are aware of our breath and thus ourselves, we live our lives.

So what I did was let Svarun go for an ice-cream with his grandmother, which I decided would do less damage than a freaked-out mother. I took a quartz crystal, which is a great cleansing stone, and my dearest obsidian that a friend of mine found in the wilderness of Tenerife; the latter grounds and reminds me like no other. I had no measure of peace this morning (my yoga and meditation practices), so I took one now. I sat in stillness and listened to the life around me until I could hear the wild birds chirping in my mind. When that happens, I know I’m good. I’m back. And I was: breathing and being. And it was enough.

Speaking of which, let me tell you about this amazing experience that I had yesterday night. I tried hope for the first time. Hope is a ground mixture of tobacco and herbs that the Amazon Indians forage, and is used to clean your nose, sinuses, and third eye. I was up for it instantly, because I’m very much tripping on the third-eye-anything at the moment. When I inhaled the dust into my sinuses, one nostril at a time, tears came flushing down my cheeks and so did booger. But after the first reaction, my breathing pathways cleared and I started feeling a lot of heat congesting in the middle of my brain, in the pineal gland. I started feeling utterly present. The presence was penetrating my being, as though I was having a breathing orgasm. I was breathing and living, that’s it. And it was enough. When we gathered around the fire, my friend was asking me whether I’d sing something, because he knows I love singing. I looked at him peacefully and said: “Maybe later. Now I’m just enjoying my breathing like I never have before.” A breathing orgasm. Go get yourself some.