Most of my work is around creating ceremonies to mark those really big human milestones – the big three: birth, marriage, death. But lately I’ve been thinking about those lesser life transitions, which may not be quite as momentous, but still have the ability to re-orient the soul.
Today I helped a good friend do the final cleaning of her apartment as she completes her move to a new home. As we swept and mopped, I found myself tearing up with the re-realization that things just don’t ever stay the same! We spent so many sweet afternoons together in that house, watching our kids grow from infants to the independent four year olds they are today. We ate good food, laughed really hard, and supported each other through so many things. It’s not even my apartment, and I’m getting sad here missing it already!
I remember the day about ten years ago that I moved out of a dear apartment and into the house I share with my now husband. I loved that apartment. It was there that I nursed an achingly broken heart, that I reconnected with myself, that I charted the course that I’m following to this day. I remember my boyfriend and I had loaded the last boxes into his truck, and we came back in to do one last check. I leaned back against the living room wall and sank down the floor. Unexpected sobs surged out of me. He sat with me and lent his steady support as I cried it out, as I cried for all I had gone through living there. Moving is a big deal!
Now, ten years later, my family is preparing to move. It’s a big one – back to my hometown of Ithaca, NY. I have all the feelings, sometimes all at once. And I know that a ceremony is going to be in order to help us with the transition. I need to thank this place, say good bye to this place. I need a ceremonial space to grieve what we’re leaving and to let it go, so that we can enter this next phase of our lives with open hearts.
For really, what is life but a series of events that crack our hearts open? I don’t want to miss a single one of those moments. So I’ll be turning to a house-leaving ceremony to guide me through and help me feel it all. And then a house-welcoming ceremony on the other end. And then…, and then…, and so it goes, our lives ever turning. And we, if we’re brave, get to keep our eyes open, our hearts soft, and live it all.