Circle of Release

Life is sticky.   As we move through our days, the dust settles on our skin, the grime adheres to our feet and the unkind word embeds itself in the spirit.  The Cherokee Nation has a lovely morning ritual called Going-to-Water.   Every day upon rising, they go to the nearest pond, lake or stream and immerse themselves fully seven times to celebrate the seven sacred directions.  This is similar to the Christian rite of baptism, but I like the Cherokee idea of a daily cleansing ritual as a means to refresh and celebrate life.  

Prompted by the self-improvement work my writing group is doing, I decided to perform a cleansing ritual of my own to release the issues of the past.  While I think I have done a pretty good job of forgiving and releasing old wounds in the last few years, those pesky old dark times still creep back in from time to time, like a mosquito that buzzes your ear in the middle of the night.   You swat and swat thinking you’ve finally chased it away but just as you resettle back onto the pillow, bzzzt!  It comes back.  My spirit was in need of a good scrubbing.  It was time to get my ego out of my soul’s way.

I prepared my space simply, lighting a candle.  I used the candle to light a leaf of sacred sage.   Placing the burning sage into a small bowl filled with sweet grass, I held the bowl up and offered my prayer, reciting it out loud, to each of the sacred cardinal directions:  East, South, West and North.  Then I repeated my prayer to Sacred Mother Earth and offered it up to Father Sky.  I closed with the prayer to the direction Within.  That night the Great Spirit responded with a dream.

I looked around my dream home.   It was not my home but it felt familiar to me, a comforting place surrounded by open fields.  My children were happy and playing.  A deliveryman knocked and I opened the door.   He also was familiar to me as he has visited me in my dreams before.  He smiled kindly, gave me a box and said it was a gift for me.  Inside the box were very fine bath linens of the highest quality, soft and luxurious.   Compelled to take a bath, I brought the children outside to the yard.   Under the oak trees stood an old-fashioned bathtub with claw feet, filled to the brim with clear, hot water.  The kids played in the yard; they had no interest in the bath. 

I placed the open box of linens next to the tub, removed my clothing and stepped into the scented water, sinking up to my chin.   I smelled gardenias pure and sweet.  Tension drained.   I picked up a large bar of soap and began to scrub, first slow then picking up speed.   I scrubbed and scrubbed, faster and faster. An inch of skin sloughed off.  The hot water seemed scalding against the new skin and after some time I knew it was enough.   I stepped out of the tub and wrapped myself in the fine bath linens, silken against my reddened new skin.  They fit around me perfectly.  The kids were still playing oblivious to my bath.   I turned.  The water in the tub shocked me.  Murky brown, it had the consistency of sticky molasses.  Looking at it I felt disgust. 

The alarm clock rang.   I startled awake with panic.   I had to finish this dream!  I had to drain the tub!  Grabbing the clock, I set it for 20 more minutes then eased back down under the blanket.  Breathing into a meditative state, I re-entered my dream. 

Everything was as I had left it.  I plunged my arm into the tub and pulled the plug.  The water drained and to my surprise there was no residue.   Both the tub and I were sparkling clean.

The sparkle stayed with me through the rest of that day and continues to spill over into my life.   It’s as if my soul is encased in a bubble of light.   I feel light.  I feel clean.  Since then each night I repeat my prayer of release.   Each morning I go to water and stand under the shower with thoughts of gratitude to maintain this sacred circle of release.  To the Great Spirit I say:

I release my soul from the clutches of my ego and give it the freedom to pursue our potential.

I give my soul my trust and willingly allow it to be my guide.

I accept my soul as my teacher, my companion, and my heart.

I release my soul so that it may truly lead me and be the driving force of my life.

I surrender to my soul so that I may fully know its joy, the joy of a life of purpose, beauty and grace.

I release my soul to love and rejoice in a love that is unconditional, open and without reservation.

I embrace the love of my soul fully.

I surrender to the inner voice knowing it is for my highest and greatest good. 

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