This past Memorial weekend, I stayed in a huge converted barn with 12 of the most important people of my life.
It was a non-bachelorette bachelorette weekend. Instead of penis straws, we had candles infused with specific prayers to manifest our desires. Instead of the Vegas strip, our view was a gorgeous grass-fed cattle farm. And instead of getting drunk and going out dancing, we did rituals.
Let me digress for a moment . . . Over the previous couple of weeks, I had been feeling really anxious about my upcoming wedding. I’d started to have dreams in which it was the wedding day but we hadn’t done enough preparation and everything was a disaster.
In one of these dreams, Mike surprised me with a cake as big as a house, shaped like a car, with him as the driver. And the delivery guys plunked it down right in the middle of our wedding ceremony site.
In another one, everyone was arriving and I was halfway dressed and realized I’d forgotten to do my hair and makeup so I was a complete mess.
Needless to say, my psyche had been in need of some soothing.
One involved my articulating the things I was ready to let go of so that I could step into this next phase unfettered. I included things like beliefs I was ready to release and past relationships I was ready to let go of. I burned the piece of paper on which all of these things were written, and then I lit two white candles while saying a prayer of healing and detoxification.
For the next ritual, the entire non-bachelorette group stood in a circle on the grass behind the house, and I was asked to share my vows to myself. I was given a bouquet of wildflowers and a wreath made of twigs and leaves, and I wore a white cotton dress which my sister had brought for the occasion.
Then each of the sweet souls in the circle spoke their vows to me as I stepped into this next phase of life.
It was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life. Talk about feeling awash in love.
Now, let me be honest: these rituals made me feel uncomfortable.
I worried about what everyone else in the group thought. I worried that they’d think it was too weird. I worried that I was taking up too much time, energy, and attention.
I felt extremely vulnerable saying the things I wanted to release and making vows to myself out loud.
We don’t have as many rites of passage marking the important moments of our lives as cultures in less technologized and slower paced times had.
By taking the time to consciously let go of the past and welcome the future in, though, we slow down so we don’t miss the moment.
What I have realized is that we put so much pressure on big days like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries because culturally we don’t take any other moments to pause and acknowledge our transitions.
We hop right from one job to the next without a moment’s thought.
We end one relationship and jump right into bed (literally or metaphorically) with the next person.
What I did this weekend was to let my life as a single woman end. I felt the grief of it. I felt the joy of it. And I was witnessed in all of it.
And, not surprisingly, I no longer feel anxious about the wedding.
The day will be what the day will be. I know it will be glorious. And I also know it’s going to go by quickly.
But the rituals of this past weekend tuned me in to a new frequency of consciousness about this transition.
Now, rather than obsessing about the color of the napkins or what type of ribbon I should put on the wedding favors, I can be present.
Slow down and take the time to digest the moments of your life. There are some things that you really only will experience once.
How do you mark your most important transitions? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below – I’d love to continue the conversation with you!
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