Burning rituals have been a part of society since civilizations first took shape. It seems that the act of allowing flames to consume things has healing properties. While the ceremonies of burning rituals do not all contain the same supply list or formal procedures, they all do have two things in common: fire and something to burn.
On a recent getaway with some of my gal pals, we lamented emotions and worries that were weighing heavily on us. As we sought respite in food, drinks, and re-runs of Friends, we were inspired (in part by Phoebe’s idea in “The One with the Candy Hearts”) to have our own burning ritual.
We would each write down the things that were weighing on us and then toss them in the fire. (Our rental cabin had the MOST amazing fireplace.) It took no time at all for each of us to jot down the issues we would like to see go up in flames. Before we decided to just willy-nilly toss our troubles into the fire, we thought it would be best to research burning rituals to see if there was anything that would increase the effectiveness of our sacrifice.
Maybe it’s the frequently falling snowflakes or the walls starting to close in after nearly a year of COVID quarantines, but being easily distracted seems to a more common occurrence these days. Even as I draft this post, my mind has already wandered off to granola bars, coffee, the laundry in the dryer, and what the heck my kids are doing. (Deep breath. Focus.)
Have you found your mind wandering with greater abandon lately? Has it been tougher to hold tight to your train of thought? Well, you are not alone.
When I Googled “How to focus better,” the search produced about 2,890,000,000 results. Yikes! That’s A LOT of information on focus and why we struggle with it. Perhaps the fact that there are nearly 3 billion internet options tells us that we have too much at our fingertips. That abundance of information and distractions makes maintaining concentration confounding.
While it may be winter and there aren’t a lot of crops in our fields now, we are reaping the benefits of last year’s hay season and the work of grain farmers from across the country. Long days and late nights produced a tremendous amount of hay to be stored in our barns last summer. As the grass has frozen and dried up this winter, the cattle and horses have been able to continue to grow and find comfort in those bales. The turkeys and calves are able to eat and develop thanks to the feed made from the harvest of American fields. We aren’t growing crops or animals; we are creating a place for them to flourish in spite of winter’s harshness.
Farmers aren’t the only ones creating places for people and things to produce. We all are creators of environments that allow for safety and growth. We are all cultivators of children, pets, food, products, and emotions. Each and everyone has a hand in growing something.
I’m no Robert Frost, but I am an admirer of hearing “the only sound’s the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake.” I’m not an enthusiast of freezing precipitation and the havoc it wreaks on roadways, but I am a fan of the peaceful nature of falling snow and an even bigger admirer of Fridays. Fridays are the highlight of the week, but a Friday in a world that looks like a snow globe is a special treat.
The peaceful nature of today’s snowfall felt like a call to drop all the worries and stressors that have been weighing me down. The dance of flakes in a symphony of spiraling, soft landings seemed to lower my stress level and reminded me to just let go of the silly stuff that I can’t control. (Hopefully I don’t sound too much like the Frozen soundtrack.)
If you are not in a place where you can see or hear the snow, I hope you will enjoy this clip from my front porch.
The sights and sounds as the snow began to fall harder this morning
The Intentergy message for today is to let the falling snow be your call to peace. Even if for only a minute or two, taking in the frosty scene can help you forget what’s wrong with the world and the blanket of white can be a clean slate allowing you to find calm.
See the world for the beautiful and chaotic snow globe that it is.
Let the simple pleasure of flakes falling be the counterweight to your worries and find some balance between stress and serenity. While we are like Robert Frost in that there are probably miles and miles to go before we sleep, we can be grateful for the opportunity to watch these woods fill up with snow and empty our emotional overloads as we enjoy the sights and sounds of this wintery season.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If there’s enough snow, you can throw some snowballs to get frustrations out as well. A very peaceful practice!
P.P.S. My allusions to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” do not have to stop here. I am so glad we are past “The darkest evening of the year,” and the day light is blissfully growing longer.
Every hour on the hour. Breaking, late-breaking, exclusive. National Broadcast Anxiety is produced at the speed of sound and sight. Our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts cannot escape. Tonight’s segment on how to handle media-based stress made it that much worse.
We can’t trust the “honesty” of journalism because they feed on National Broadcast Anxiety. Coming at you from every angle, but the only angle they want you believe is theirs. Loving our nation for what is it can’t be allowed. Only one side or the other can be accepted. They refuse to compromise…
The only ideals that do not deserve to be compromised Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are excluded by National Broadcast Anxiety. Apparently, if their side is not happy then no one can be happy. The only pursuit is to divide. Liberty loses life when the desires of a radical few strip the American dream from those who are willing to work for it. Working for it isn’t enough. Speaking up is not accepted. Suffer in silence because standing up for yourself is considered prejudice. Be careful! You’ll end up on the NEWS.
N.E.W.S. – Directions that fail to lead anywhere but National Broadcast Anxiety. It’s time to change more than the channel. “Journalists,” listen. You are not speaking for America. You are speaking for ratings. State facts. Take out the loaded adjectives and labels. Tell the stories of what’s working. Use your avenues for advancement beyond that of overpaid officials and their tantrums. Share the problem-solvers. Mute the warmongers. Produce something positive. We don’t need any more seasons of National Broadcast Anxiety.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. If we are ever going to find peace amongst ourselves, we must change the channels of journalism today.
Forgive and forget… easier said than done. I’m gonna make it happen in 2021.
It is true that we are often our own worst critics, but being a flawed human (just like everyone else) I have come to the realization that I am pretty critical of a few other folks in my life.
My cynicism is the result of my failure to forgive. I can’t be my best if I do not absolve my grievances with the people who have hurt or hampered me in the past. Never would I claim to be completely innocent of hurting others, but if I am ever going stop the damage to my own self-esteem and the esteem I have for others, I am going to have to do some forgiving.
When I started gathering ideas for my 2021 Vision Board, I knew I needed to work on my relationship goals with some people in my life, as well as myself. Setting a goal for greater compassion and acceptance was something that my Vision Board simply HAD to display.
In my search through magazines and websites, I couldn’t find just what I needed to say on my board, until I stumbled across a quote from Galina Majda in Mukilteo, Washington. (I am sad to say I don’t know what magazine this was from.) Galina’s statement of forgiveness was EXACTLY what I needed for myself and my relationships.
“Every night before I go to sleep, I forgive everyone, including myself.”
Wow! Wow! Wow!
“I forgive everyone, including myself.”
Do you ever lay awake at night hashing over the mistakes you made or the things you forgot to do? Do you ever just lay there simmering in regret or guilt or anger? I know I do. Ending the day with a mentality of forgiveness could stop all of that wasted worrying and bring about greater peace. It’s what I need to do.
Mom-guilt is the WORST guilt. After a recent bought with illness, I had to wrestle this most worrisome of self-reproaches. Mom-guilt crept up often as I tried to get rest, let the kids cook, and not let the chaos of my unkempt home get to me.
I was sick enough that an outer space alien could have easily taken up residence and claimed our home for his base, and I would not have felt the impact, so forgiveness is an alien entity I’m going to have to let in.
Climbing my way out of the chaos and regaining my strength, I’m finding that I need to be nice to myself or I’m never going to feel better. (Maybe not “never”, but it’s going to take a while.)
As we tackle the challenges of giving our families the “perfect” Christmas and making all of our relationships as meaningful as possible, I encourage you to accept that most alien of notions, the notion of self-forgiveness.
Hi friends, there’s no video for this week, but I promise to get back in broadcasting mode next week.
Last week I saw a post on Facebook that I thought was worthy of sharing. Originally posted by Tee Kim on November 22, 2020, an image of a Starbucks sign speaks volumes about the fragility that many of us are feeling but aren’t always willing to consider in those we encounter.
I wasn’t alone in appreciating the message of Tee’s post. Since its original publication, the post has been shared over 119,000 times and liked/loved/cared for over 6,500 times. The thing that strikes me the most about this message of kindness is just how many people believe we need to be aware of the situations of others. The tough part is we are supposed to be aware of one another’s fragility while maintaining social distancing, wearing our masks, getting holiday deals, and holding in our own emotional rodeos.
2020 has been a rough year on most of us. A lot of people want to forget the year ever happened, so I thought I’d give the December 2020 Positivity Challenge a crazy spin. Instead of thinking about a New Year’s resolution for January 2021, I challenge you to make an Old Year’s Resolution.
That’s right, an Old Year’s Resolution! I challenge you to set a goal or envision yourself taking on a new skill, talent, or outlook for 2020. For the rest of December work harder on helping the year end on a positive note than you normally do on the usual weight loss or decluttering resolutions of new years past.
Take this Old Year’s Resolution seriously!
Think of what you pictured 2020 looking like. Remember the resolutions or goals you set for yourself and grab onto one of those dreams, goals, or ambitions. Work your darndest to make that objective a reality as you wrap up this craziest of years.
Here are some examples:
For the next 24 days, cut out the sugars and carbs you have always said you should.
For the next 24 days, send a Thank You text or card to someone for whom you are grateful.
For the next 24 days, work out for 25 minutes while you watch your favorite tv show.
There are two scenarios for this holiday season that come to mind when I think of what’s worthy of effort.
Scenario 1: Putting up Christmas decorations, particularly outdoor lights, is a tough job. It requires precarious positioning of one’s self while attempting to securely attach, mount, or hang the lights in a way that is both esthetically pleasing and able to withstand potential blizzards. Once the lights are in place and any necessary medical attention has been sought, the display of glowing Christmas spirit can warm even the coldest of Grinch hearts. Was it easy to get those eight pre-lit reindeer with Santa’s sleigh AND the inflatable Snoopy snow globe on the roof? No. Could you ever imagine the amount of time it would take to assemble your Made-in-China nativity using words that baby Jesus should never have heard? No. But you do it anyway, and it’s worth every watt of energy and effort because you are letting ALL your Christmas lights shine.
Scenario 2: The second scenario of the season is a bit tougher. As our world continues to battle the COVID crisis, I encourage you to envision a holiday where you loosen your hold on what tradition says we MUST do to make Christmas happen.