Birthdays are a wonderful time to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives, both past and present, as well as gratitude for what is to come. My friend Lynda asked me to lead a birthday gratitude ritual for her a few days ago. I began the ritual with a purification and a blessing: While burning dried sage leaves then gently blowing the smoke on her and others in the room with a feather, I offered this blessing: “May any negative or dark energy within or around you begin to soften and slowly dissipate, and may you be filled with the energy of love.” Those being saged responded with the Native American chant of “A heya heya heya heya, a hoya, hoya, hoya hoya”
Lynda then talked about those joys in her life she feels most grateful for, such as her husband, friends, health, and home. The rest of us added things about Lynda that we were most grateful for, how she’s enriched our lives with her friendship and caring. Lynda then lit the 1st candle on her candelabra, with the light of that candle symbolizing and strengthening all that joy.
Next, because gratitude is about appreciating all that happens in our lives, and growing from that which we didn’t wish for, Lynda talked about those personal challenges and sorrows that she has learned and created greater resiliency from, and then lit the 2nd candle to honor that part of her life.
From the light of the two lit candles, of the joys and challenges of her life so far, Lynda lit the 3rd candle on the candelabra, to symbolize the power and possibility of her life from this point on.
We ended the ritual with a sweet expression of the beauty and gratitude in Lynda’s life by listening to a song that her husband chose – a gorgeous and moving love song by Stan Rogers called “45 Years”
This was a simple ritual. Often the simplest rituals are the most meaningful.
Happy Birthday, Lynda !