Being half Finnish, I am used to going to Sauna. I have often thought that it is interesting that so many ancient cultures have a cleansing ritual, where we get rid of what physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually no longer serves us. It is a way of releasing what is holding us back, keeping us in unhealthy patterns and reemerge back in alignment, back on a healthier track.
On Saturday, I went to a sweat lodge. Sometimes, when I go through one of these cleansing rituals, I have something in mind that is weighing on my heart.
This time, I just stayed open to see how the universe would speak to me. It’s not that I didn’t have several topics that I could bring with me into the lodge, it was just that I realized I needed to even surrender my point of focus. Let go some more around what I thought I needed help with.
So, there I was in the heat and the darkness with seven other souls, receiving the blessings that Merrick offered up following the ancient ways of his people.
My experience is that you just never know how your body, mind, and heart are going to respond to this experience. Will I be able to handle the heat? Will I feel light-headed, nauseous, or cleansed? It is no accident that this warm, dark space calls us to let go of control. It asks us to surrender physically, which often allows us to lay down our other walls, boxes, structures that keep us in our narrow thinking, our old ways that we have grown out of.
I heard the Reverend William Barber speak earlier this week. One of the things that he said that really touched me was that when we are in a dark place, we don’t have to believe that it’s a grave. It could be a womb and perhaps it’s time to push out of it, into the Light.
I knew I didn’t want to be in a grave about any aspect of my life, and so what would be the opening, I wondered.
I sat through the heat of the first session, remembering to listen to my body and be sure to take care of myself.
Oh, the second session was so much hotter! I felt sweat literally pouring off every part of me. It wasn’t that I was glowing, perspiring, or even sweaty. It was a torrent.
And I thought…good! Get rid of all that, get rid of everything that I no longer need, that no longer serves me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially! How can I live more fully in alignment with my Truth, my purpose?
I went into the third session, and found myself at that point where I was hoping I could make it through the next person’s prayers. Hurry, I thought, because after he spoke, we would again have the option to go out of the lodge and cool down. I was almost at my limit. I had my head in my lap, trying to find slightly cooler air.
I made it and moved outside in the open air. I sat on the ground, leaning against a stump. I drank my water and poured a little over my head to cool myself down a bit. It was at that point that the water bucket came out of the lodge and Mike was going to fill it back up in preparation for the next round.
I asked him to pour some water over me, thinking he would take the ladle and put water on my head that way. Instead, he took the whole bucket and gently poured it all over me, bringing me so much more relief than I had imagined.
I sat in the faint light under the crescent moon and cried, not because I have been suffering so much, but because here I was asking for a spoonful and the Universe gave me a whole big bucket! I cried because I realized that so often, my mindset is around just surviving instead of thriving. The spoonful would have cooled me down enough to walk back into the lodge. The bucket allowed me to fully embrace the fourth round where it would be my turn to speak.
I cried because Spirit has much bigger gifts for us all, and if we are just open to them and don’t close ourselves off, thinking that we only deserve this small portion, we are able to live much more fully into our gifts and into the abundance of the sacredness that is all around us.
So I sat there, letting go, quietly crying in thanks for the relief and release that Mike unknowingly gifted to me.
It is amazing how often we bless one another with a simple act or presence. We unknowingly bless one another in ways that are profound beyond our understanding.
And so, again, I was reminded to get out of my own way and not box myself into a grave that stifles and mutes my gifts when I only look to the teaspoon instead of the bucket, the thimble instead of the ocean.
This was a call to allow the bounty and beauty of this universe to work in me, through me and my fellow souls, and to relish the abundance of the gifts along the way.
Photo and content © Copyright 2018. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.