Ritual is something that I have always used as a marker to honor times and places both physical and metaphysical in my life.
Ritual speaks to the deep unconscious places in us and has anchored intentions and goals for me when life has gotten hectic.
This can be as simple as a cup of herbal tea or something as elaborate as this water purification ceremony, I experienced in Bali. This Ceremony occurred whilst I was on a Tigress Yoga retreat in July last year. I went with all sorts of wild intentions, most of them unrealistic! One of them was seeing this holiday as a ritual place marker of healing and time out. The problem with this was that I had an expectation of what healing looked like.
My expectation was that I would go on this magical holiday (it was really really magical) I would have 10 incredible days off (the first 10 days of actual holiday down time in years ) and I would magically spring back like a magical elastic band version of myself. Viola! Keri 2.0. Expectations much? The reality went a little differently.
But it was EXACTLY what I needed and it was in fact just what I had been asking for. I just didn’t know it at the time because it looked a whole lot like MORE breakdown… nothing like I expected breakthrough to look at all.
It was much like this water temple purification process actually.
I don’t know about you but the idea of going to a truly ancient spring on a beach in Bali bathing in the ocean and being blessed and cleansed conjured up all sort of (unrealistic) images. Eat Pray Love has a lot to answer for, but as these images can attest I looked much more like a drowned rat than a divinely inspired Julia Roberts.
Bucket after bucket of salty spring water is tipped over your head as you are chanted over and a cup of coconut water is offered to you that, somehow in-between gasps and dunks, you are meant to mindfully ingest.
The actual blessing itself was quite like being caught in pounding surf, where you mistime the waves and get dumped trying to gasp for air before the next wave lands on your head.
Most of the time instead of feeling serene and mindful, graciously letting go and inviting in my carefully thought out intention I was just praying that I was ingesting the coconut water and not actually giving myself some deadly parasite that would plague my health into old age… I’m still not convinced that didn’t in-fact happen.
Did I feel different? Did I feel changed? Did I leave a different person?
You better believe it.
That pledge that I made to myself, the intention that I had set in action had been witnessed by the gods. Lets be honest I’m an out of the closet Pagan!
I am completely in love with the Balinese reverence to nature and beauty; these places have power if for no other reason than we believe them to.
And that is enough for me.
I came home and I couldn’t in all honesty continue life as I had been. Working with out rest, running from heart ache, avoiding tending to some very large wounds.
In the following months everything unravelled.
A wonderful mix of anxiety, depression, shocking cortisol levels, high testosterone, absent estrogen, exhaustion, and an overwhelming inability to leave the house, left me bewildered and wondering how on Earth I had found myself having another breakdown. Seriously?
The REALLY important thing to realise here and this realisation is only available in hindsight. Is that ALL of this was actually me breaking through. It was the last point of contraction before the process of expansion could take place. And if I hadn’t had such an amazing team of people around me, if I didn’t have all the knowledge of my own years of training I would have believed that I was getting worse. Many people indeed told me I was.
I can tell you now that I wasn’t. Things do actually get worse before they get better but not in the way we think.
It has taken a huge amount of self belief, self care and faith to trust the intuition and self awareness that reassured me in the scariest of moments that this was not under any circumstance a downward spiral.
It was the upward one.
If you find yourself in this situation, in the heat of the moment it will be hard to tell the difference.
So here I am sharing my story with you, to let you know dear reader that there will be moments when you doubt your own resurrection story that ‘something has gong wrong’ with your carefully laid plans of healing your heart and soul.
Do not doubt yourself. Surround yourself with the best team of people you can find.
I involved medical science, herbal medicine, psychology, exercise and meditation.
And above all trust your intuition.
If this post speaks to you in your journey know that help is at hand. I’m kind of a specialist guide for The Dark Night of the Soul. (No water dunking required)
I’d love to hear from you. x