Finding Bliss And Peace Via Meaningful Rituals – Part 5

May 2, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · Comment 

One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavaroti and William Wright~

Where there is love, there is life.
~Mohandas Gandhi~

Food is such a valuable aspect of self-generated ceremonial rituals. Furthermore, food is an expression of healing, loving energy which enables you to feel good and experience bliss. Consider your holidays and how important it is for you to include traditional foods and dishes always associated with specific holidays. Somehow, knowing the treats you will serve or receive as a part of your holiday meals seems to ground and stabilize you, enabling you to feel safe, rooted, deeply loved and that all is okay with you and your world.

As you go about preparing and eating the ritualistic holiday foods, remember to project or feel love in every morsel of food. Actually, it happens quite naturally. Personally, hot dogs and hamburgers convey love, comfort and healing joyful energy for me each July 4th, as does turkey, my mother’s incredibly delicious stuffing and sweet potato pie with marshmallows and for Thanksgiving.

And how could I forget the matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, kugel and my home baked rugalah that have been a part of every Jewish family celebration? This is my heritage – and continuing the rituals helps me to preserve and more deeply root our family members. Think, for a moment, of your own family’s food-related traditions and feel the wonderful, energetic goodness of what this means to you.

Fortunately, for many of my friends, they are able to donate their time and energy to assisting their community members who are homeless by working at food banks. Others, I know, give of their time throughout the year and/or on the holidays to prepare and serve meals for those who have no homes. These acts become loving, ceremonial rituals which enable them to feel they are making a difference in the lives of others.

I often think about the women of the Holocaust who continued to find ways to celebrate special occasions such birthdays, holidays and anniversaries – and the Sabbath. These women understood that they could maintain a sense of some normalcy by continuing the traditions of cooking foods associated with their way of life, as well as maintaining rituals such as prayers and the lighting of candles at appropriate times. I have a cookbook written by the women of the Holocaust (something that I was amazed they could pull off, given the difficulty of their situation). Yet, I know that it is the meager food which was cooked with love and the meaning of the ceremonies and the rituals that sustained them and their families in those most challenging – and horrific circumstances.

Finally, have you thought about the many ways in which you carry on exquisite, loving, ceremonial rituals for your friends and loved ones who are ill, dying or who are grieving? Please consider these times in your life and the ways in which you and your family have either received or provided assistance, be it with a cooked meal , the running of errands, caring for children, being a chauffeur and support system for doctor appointments or assisting with hospital, insurance or burial issues and needs. Because you act from love, these rituals are all high energy shifting experiences for you, bringing you greater peace and comfort.

And, of course, there are the visits you make to either the hospital to be with the ill or to the funeral home or cemetery to honor the deceased. All of these help you and those with whom you visit by the gift of your presence at a time when it is very, very needed as an expression of loving support. You heal yourself and your loved ones by choosing such loving acts and rituals of compassion and kindness.

One of the secrets to a better quality life filled with joy is to consciously and wisely choose those rituals which will feel good to you and enable you to experience healing and well-being!

Susan Barbara Apollon

Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
& Intuition Is Easy & Fun

©2009 Susan Barbara Apollon

Finding Bliss And Peace Via Meaningful Rituals – Part 3

April 8, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness, Healing Wisdom · Comment 

“Through the ceremony, the circle, people move through the inner worlds of Self and one another, connecting with thought, prayer and the sustenance of Presence of others.”
Jeanne Achterberg

When you find yourself struggling with some difficult aspect of life, consider what you might do that could become an event or activity which you would look forward to repeating on a similar occasion. Whatever you create has the power to give you hope, comfort and can contribute to greater harmony and balance in your life (all high vibrational energetic experiences which contribute to the release of healthy neuropeptides for your immune system). In other words, rituals have healing power.

For centuries, perhaps longer, cultures like yours have created rituals which are intended to provide necessary hope and intentional healing. The ceremonial circle is a perfect example of this.. The ritual of meeting in a circle has a sacredness or holiness associated with it. Native American Indians, and so many other cultures, have used the circle as a traditional form of communication, community and healing.

Healing ceremonies, as well as ceremonies for all aspects of life, occur in the circle. One of my favorite experiences is the talking stick ceremony which also occurs in the circle. As a participant receives the sacred stick which is passed from one to another, he or she has an opportunity to speak from the heart while each of the participants listens with his or her heart. And, of course, support groups, especially cancer support and bereavement groups, tend to meet in the circle – a place in which participants feel safe, comfortable and can anticipate a healing experience.

Through the process of trusting and feeling support, participants share and release their pain, enabling them to shift vibrationally and physiologically to a “feel-better” energetic and chemical state. Yes, the circle is an extraordinary and powerful healing tool offering community, understanding, hope and a sense of safe connection.

Each time I give a seminar, my first thought is about how I can best make everything meaningful happen within the circle. Somehow, when in a circle, we experience a greater sense of connection with one another, as well as with our own soul and with our divinity. We also experience a significant sense of cohesiveness, of belonging and of community. I always feel that in the circle the energy flows more effectively between people, as well as between our own being and our soul.

For example, my intuitive development class has always met in a circle and finished with the ritual of singing a beautiful, moving song while participants stand in a circle, holding hands and eyes closed. I can feel the loving energy flowing from one person to another, through me and back into the circle. Consequently, these experiences consistently leave me feeling uplifted and infused with needed energy and are a reminder of my connection with my Higher Self (that is to say, my soul ) and that I am really never alone.

Finding time to pray in your own unique style and in your own time frame becomes one of the most important ceremonial rituals you can incorporate into your life. Whether you build prayer into your life by going to church or synagogue on Sunday or any other day of the week, or you take time to pray in your own home or in any other location, the very act of involvement in this activity contributes to your feeling a sense of connection with something greater than yourself – and results in your sense of being protected, heard and loved.

You can build rituals of prayer into your life easily and effortlessly. I pray regularly in the car, over a lighted candle each morning, in the bath each evening, on Friday nights, saying prayers over the Sabbath candles, while I am on my daily walk and out in nature, and each time I hear of a loved one, friend, patient or neighbor who is in need of prayer. Prayer is portable and you can take it and do it everywhere – and on a regular basis. (To be continued.)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©2009SusanBarbara Apollon

Finding Bliss And Peace Through Meaningful Rituals – Part 2

March 25, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · 1 Comment 

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pike

You are so wise. You know what you need to survive with grace. The truth is that you are the creator of the rituals which enable you to live your life in a way that feels best to you. While some rituals are inherent in various practices, such as weddings or funerals, you tend to create, quite naturally, the activities which contribute to you surviving and surviving with a feel good feeling, be it a walk each morning or saying your prayers and meditating each day in a favorite spot in or out of your home.

Rituals help you mark the milestones of your life. The first bus ride for each of your children when they begin their official life as a student is a ritual that touches the heart, as does the first school holiday pageant in which they participate, or the first school Halloween parade for which you help them with their costume.

When your loved one dies, rituals again help you mark additional milestones. This may be with a specific service, markings on the gravestone, the lighting of candles and saying of specific prayers are typical rituals. Personally, each year on my mother’s birthday, I go to the florist and purchase for her the most beautiful floral bouquet and take it to the cemetery where I place it in the ground by her gravestone and then sit, cry and talk to her. This helps me to connect with my mom and I do something similar for my dad, as well. I need this ritual to handle my parents’ deaths and I am always more at peace following these activities.

If you think (and feel) about it, the family rituals in which you participated as a child or have created in your adult life have added to the rich awareness of being a part of a family ( a real community) and of sharing in the experience of love, even when love could not be verbally expressed.

Perhaps you and your family always made a big deal of every family member’s birthday, father’s day, mother’s day and every other major holiday. (And, if you did not, you could begin now!) Though you may have complained about having to be present and dress for the occasion, just knowing your Presence mattered contributed to your sense of self-esteem. You mattered!

The precious memories you store in your heart hold the vibration of the joy you experienced in past ceremonies and rituals. For example, if you grew up in an area where you had several snowfalls each winter, then you most likely had opportunities for special snow related activities such as the building of the first snowman – or woman of the season, the sleigh rides you took with your folks, friends and/or siblings, and the hot chocolate and cookies you would have each time you came in from the cold.

Let’s talk mealtimes. Those of you who had to be home for nightly family dinner may have complained about this growing up. However, most adults feel a sense of gratitude for those meals. They provided a sense of groundedness, connection and stability. Research has substantiated the value of rituals such as families gathering for dinner each night.

In fact, Jean Achterberg, a mentor of mine, in Intentional Healing, notes that research confirms that despite the problem of alcohol addiction, when families eat together and participate in family holiday rituals, the children of alcoholics tend not to develop alcohol addition as adults.Vibrationally, despite the alcoholism, the children feel energy of safety, rootedness, stability and goodness because they get to sit down with their families for their evening and holiday meals. This is a powerful argument for the healing power of rituals in families with alcohol addiction problems

Take a moment or two and think about the rituals you might engage in which could best contribute to you and your family being able to feel more connected, more stable and more harmonious; be it walking or watching a movie together, or regularly visiting an ill or dying family member – or going to church, your mosque or synagogue together on a regular basis. (To be continued.).

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©2009SusanBarbara Apollon

Finding Bliss And Peace Via Choosing Meaningful Rituals

March 13, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · Comment 

“Ritual, when it is done in its purest, truest sense, is done in space that is called sacred.”

Jeanne Achterberg

Have you noticed how you feel when your mind and your heart wander back to times spent with your family, be it a trip each year to spend holidays with your grandparents or a vacation you would take every summer with your folks, perhaps at the beach or mountains. Such memories tend to fill you with a sense of peace, comfort, bliss and stability. These are also rituals which are high vibrational energetic experiences and which have the power to heal.

Rituals are not just those events or ceremonies (sometimes with feeling and sometimes not!) associated with religious moments, such as baptisms, communions and Bar Mitvahs. Actually, a ritual can be any activity which is deemed by you to be meaningful and even has a sense of sacredness to it because it feels so special (in a positive way) , powerful and has a meaning near and dear to your heart. Rituals do contribute to your feeling your bliss and feeling good. And, you have the power to create the high vibrational energetic rituals you need and desire in your life.

Just by choosing life, you choose activities that become rituals which give your life meaning – and a meaning which feels good and which sustains you. Though you may not be conscious of this, you are assigning meaning to everything you do – every moment of every day – and the meaning you give to your activities (or rituals ) is what determines the quality of your moment, day and life. Given that everything is energy, make it a point to choose feel-good meaningful rituals.

Perhaps you have noticed that the rituals which bring you joy, such as the times you spend snuggling with your cat, walking your dog each day or regularly baking cookies or fishing with a grandparent or parent, praying and/or meditating daily in your favorite location are those that have a quiet, even subtle sacredness to them. This is a sacredness which may not be obvious to you until you are in your early or later adult years and are recalling earlier times in your life. If you question your life’s meaning and purpose, be sure to revisit your experience of family and community activities in which you have joyfully engaged on a repeated basis throughout your life.

What is it about rituals that is responsible for you feeling such bliss? Well, just remembering or thinking about the times you have spent celebrating graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, births, housewarmings and marriages, provides you with a sense of belonging to someone, something, some place and being a part of a community. And, feeling that you belong feels good!

Also, have you noticed that you do not feel so terribly isolated, lonely or inadequate when you recall feel good memories such as attending school athletic games, high school and college dances, and participation in events such as walkathons, community charities and church and synagogue activities? Focusing on such feel-good experiences enables you to experience a greater sense of well-being and wholeness – definitely peace and bliss.

Indeed, your life is filled with rituals – all of which add richness, depth and joy to what might otherwise be considered simply “existing.” Consider for a moment the events we participate in which revolve around various entertainment events, be it getting together each year to watch the Oscars, the Tonys or Super Bowl games. There are rituals surrounding these activities as well as those involving the parades we attend each year, the barbecues we hold and fireworks we watch each July;

Take a moment and consider a ritual or ceremony you could create that would bring you comfort and peace and then of how you could integrate this into your life.. (To be continued.)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©2009SusanBarbara Apollon