Daily Ritual: Not Just for Dying Anymore

Our Personal Journeys Intertwined

As many of you know, for almost three weeks of my life, I sat in daily prayer and ceremony with my grandfather. Because of the timing in my life, I thought it was a test of my discipline.

I had been so weak emotionally and physically for about 7 months, could I stay with my grandfather for days on end? From 900 miles away, could I sit for and with him- with no expectations, no feedback?

Could I feel the difference between a living state vs. (what we call) a death state? And if I could, would it mean I arrived at a new level of something? And if so, what level and what something?

Learning to Just Listen

Busy mind aside, I let these questions simmer in the background while I tended to the task at hand. I told myself it was simple. Connect to grandpa, be with grandpa, assist grandpa. And with that focus  I found myself drawn to the altar at my fireplace every day. And without hesitation I sat in ceremony waiting for his indication of readiness to pass.

I didn’t really know what to do for him. I had been doing my own routine of mindfulness and meditation, but this was different.This task asked me to be a death doula of some sort. The responsibility weighed heavy on me. I wanted to do the right thing.

I didn’t have to worry, though. The right thing happened as I relaxed into each moment. I found it easy to stay calm and present. I treated my time with my grandfather as a long client session. I used my ability to focus and listen to the client. And as a sanity check, I connected with my grandfather a few times through the help of a medium since I couldn’t “see” the effects of my work.

Heading Home

And when it was all said and done, Grandpa made his transition. I performed another four days of ritual to honor his physical body. And after that ritual, I made my way back into my daily routine.

All the questions I had at the beginning of the process seemed to be of no importance to me anymore. I knew what I knew:

  • his death changed my life
  • he and I were connected, (this brings tears to my eyes)
  • I was given powerful gifts in each daily ritual
  •  I had to get to Mexico, I had to connect with the part of me that was coming to life.

I’ll write about Mexico at another time. For now, I will leave you with the words of my grandfather.

He said, (after he passed), “You have much to remember about the power of ceremony.”

And that is how I know that ceremony and daily ritual are not just for dying (anymore).

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