Since I finished the enemies challenge for Collective Prayer Sundays shortly before I left town I’m slow writing a post about it. It gave me some time to think about it. The challenge for me came out differently than in the past and I’ve never quite decided whether I felt it succeeded or not.
In the lead-up to the beginning of the Iraq War I got tired of the bombastic e-mails and messages from “peace” groups and decided to chant the lovingkindness chant on my own for President Bush, Osama bin Laden, world leaders. Mostly I chanted for Bush I chanted half an hour every day for a couple of weeks. When I started I despised President Bush.
During the course of the chanting my heart softened and I felt the Divine heart of the Prez. It wasn’t that I suddenly became a Republican or agreed with his positions on… anything. But I could love the Divine being while not agreeing with what he said and did. Many times when I led a group in the chant I watched the same impact occur for others.
I chose my late aunt to chant for because I realize every now and then that the forgiveness I felt at her deathbed didn’t stick (see earlier post). She had no children and I was an only so our relationship was a bit more complex than the average aunt/niece one. I adored her when I was little but her nasty tongue and mean drunk episodes turned me off by the time I was 11 or so and our relationship was often adversarial after that. Anyway, I wanted to put the remaining bitterness to rest.
The first two-three days I could feel a stony place in my heart that had her name on it. After that I realized when I chanted that it was gone. Before I got to seven days I did one of my “consult the council” meditations during which I was told that i was done with the chanting for my aunt. I had one or two left to do and it felt odd to leave my own challenge but I try to follow that guidance so I let it go.
I’d like to say that I had some dramatic release or feeling of being freed or a moment when I knew all was forgiven. But really, it all felt kind of vague. She’s been dead long enough that she doesn’t really enter my thoughts all that often but I feel relatively benign when I think of her now. I didn’t experience a big shift this time. Long ago I saw the wounded heart in her. I guess I’d say this softened my feeling more and yet I still think she was a mean bitch. That just doesn’t make me as mad as it used to.
I haven’t heard much from those of you I know participated. Would love to read a post (put a link to me please so I know) or leave a comment here.
The new challenge. Regular readers know that I put together a big ceremony a couple of weeks ago to break the hold of an ancestor on me and my line. Click here to see the script. I think we all have issues from the past that block us from being truly peaceful. Sometimes the issues are from childhood, sometimes they’re from ancestral patterns, sometimes they’re from past lives. My challenge to you is to pick an issue of whatever variety and create your own ceremony/ritual to release that issue.
You can see from my outline that I planned a long ceremony and incorporated elements from several traditions. Several posts in the next week after the ceremony describe each part of the ceremony (one still to come). You don’t have to use a single thing that I used, but feel free to check it out and incorporate anything you want. Pick a practice or practices from any tradition(s) you wish, make it as long or as short as you wish (I recommend that it be at least 10 minutes). I want you to have time to look inward, decide what issue you want to release and to take your time planning what you want to do so you have until midnight on Sunday October 27 to complete the ceremony.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want suggestions. There’s a private comment box on the CPS page and you can also e-mail me at collpraysun at gmail dot com.
- Ceremony plans – and CPS open for comment (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)
- Ceremony Breakdown: The Chants (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)
- Ceremony Breakdown: My Chants plus Gayatri event and CPS open (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)