by Miranda Chapman Sunday was the longest day of the year: that precious turning point when the day's light starts waning rather than waxing and the inevitable movement from spring into summer takes form. An important part of my personal practice is doing ritual on these days, the equinoxes and solstices, to remind myself of my connection to nature and to tap into that powerful energy of transition. Some years I have found myself among the company of many but this year I found myself in the company of me.
I was out on the lot where my partner and I are building a home. The winds changed as storm clouds emerged on the horizon. Saturday I had spent in communion with nature through the sweet daylong retreat Nancy Murray led at Copper Beech Institute called The Yoga of Connection. Sunday morning we celebrated my dear father and the afternoon was spent in the righteous, hard work of building a house. In the early evening everyone packed up to leave before the rain set in but I decided to stay back.
I had been building an altar for the solstice the last couple of days on a large tree stump in the middle of the land. Placing stones or branches, mica or other objects that caught my eye on this tree in preparation to celebrate summer. I relish the practice of building altars: totems to the five elements and the earth and sky that provide everything; I build them everywhere I can.
It started to rain as I stood in front of this meaningful creation and I called in my awareness of all of the gifts around me. One of the reasons I like to do ritual four times a year is that it is a pointed reminder that I have a choice. I have a choice to let go of things that no longer serve me and I have a choice to plant the seeds of greater bounty, beauty, and being aliveness.
So, I proclaimed the things that no longer serve me and asked them to burn up in the glory of the longest day's sun. Then, I went to stand in front of the dear little herb and vegetable garden that I planted and gazing at the beauty of new life I set intention to plant my proverbial seeds of love and abundance and being more awake.
As the rain fell around me I danced the dance of gratitude and freedom and life. And, as I breathed in the freshness of rain soaked earth the sun broke through the clouds and bathed me in its resplendent light.
Miranda Chapman is the Program Director and Senior Faculty at Copper Beech Institute, the nation’s newest retreat center for mindfulness and contemplative practice. Copper Beech Institute offers more than 40 transformational retreats and courses, as well as mindfulness practice and mindfulness at work offerings to help you awaken to the beauty of your life.