Encircled Life Ceremonies

Silken Purses from Sow’s Ears: Discovering wellness in chronic disease through ceremony and ritual.

The saying, “You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear” is derived from a 16th century Scottish proverb meaning that you cannot make something good out of something that is naturally bad.

Anyone suffering from a chronic illness, for example; arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, to name a few, may well identify with that meaning in their own lives. It is a terrible thing to be healthy and to lose that health. Your disease may rob you of mobility, independence, even the ability to be pain free, and leave you with feelings of humiliation, lack of self-esteem, or fear.

To go from normal day to day living to dependence on medications, machines, health professionals, family and friends can be emotionally debilitating, even lead to chronic depression. Chronic disease can justifiably be perceived as something that is naturally bad.

So how do you take something naturally bad that may have dominated your life and turn it into something inherently good, like a silken purse? How can you discover wellness in chronic disease? It begins with a surrender to the chronic condition and an acceptance of the disease. From this sense of absolute powerlessness can come the realization that there is more to life than your disease, and the ability to see that a chronic illness or condition can be a doorway into something else. For those who reach this crossroad and are ready to move forward, discover what good may be found out of the bad, who are ready to embrace what life is asking them to learn, then the power of ceremony and ritual for healing your mind and spirit may be employed with effective results.

As the poet Rumi writes: “Trust your wound to a teacher’s surgery. Flies collect on a wound. They cover it, those flies of your self-protecting feelings, our love for what you think is yours. Let a Teacher wave away the flies and put a plaster on the wound. Don’t turn your head. Keep looking at the bandaged place. That’s where the Light enters you. And don’t believe for a moment that you’re healing yourself.”

The experience of personal healing can be magnified in a group ceremony with other people on the same path. Consider attending a retreat where a small group of people journey together in learning how ritual allows us to participate in the inevitable energy of life in its exchanges. Discover together that through the enactment of ritual, our minds focus on the implications of the life act that we are engaged in, and we can effect lasting positive changes in our spiritual and mental health.

If you would like to explore with me the opportunity to develop your own personal healing ceremony or would be interested in participating in a group retreat focusing on healing through ritual, please get in touch with me and we can discuss your intentions in more detail.