Being 14 years her senior, our relationship is a blend of sister/mother/mentor. But that’s changing.
She is having a baby, and I’m over the moon! Yesterday I hosted a blessingway for her at my home. About 12 women attended—mostly friends her age—but some relatives on her husband’s side and our sister-in-law, as well.
It was very emotional for me. Now that I’m a mother, I feel immense sadness that my parents are missing all these important moments in my siblings’ lives—college graduations, job promotions, weddings, personal and professional achievements, new babies. The things I can’t wait to experience with my son as he grows older.
I spent hours Sunday morning getting ready for the gathering (being about as non-crafty as they come, I was very proud when I successfully hobbled together a simple handmade flower wreath to adorn her head!). I missed my normal Sunday spiritual practice, but the process of thoughtfully and contemplatively preparing for her arrival, felt like a ritual unto itself.
The women joining us had never attended a blessingway and I have a feeling it might have been a very new and unusual experience for them to come together with other women in such an intimate way.
We gathered in a circle on the floor in our front room. I shared some stories about growing up with four brothers and how excited I was when the “surprise twins” made their entrance—much to my 40 year old mother’s surprise– and one of them was a girl! And, I talked about the significance of women’s circles, my sister’s journey from maiden to mother, the importance of asking/for receiving help from a tribe and then we all took turns “gifting” my sister with qualities to support her as a new mother and honoring her beautiful kind, generous and wise heart. As we did so, we strung together beautiful, thoughtfully chosen, symbolic charms and beads for her to later create a necklace from and wear during labor and blessed special “birthing” candles that each woman would leave with and light as soon as they get the word that my sister’s labor has begun. I was surprised by how moved many of the women were by this ceremony and ritual.
I’m a big fan of creating moments for and experiencing sacredness and ritual as much as possible in our everyday lives. Whether it’s prayers of gratitude before meals, guided/soulful reflection at the retreats I lead, intention setting before a movement class, morning and evening meditations, family “support circles” at home or thoughtfully creating a Day of the Dead altar, I crave and regularly seek out opportunities for sacred moments and ceremonies both big and small.
I think we all need ritual and opportunities and encouragement to connect to the sacredness of life throughout our days/weeks. It helps us remember that “Life is not a thing to be managed, but a mystery to be lived.”
And just like birth—one of life’s most awe-inspiring and mind-boggling mysteries—these moments help remind us that we’re all swimming in the same big, vast, miraculous and awe-inspiring ocean.
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The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.
Photo: Renee Trudeau–photos from her sister’s beautiful blessingway. We can’t wait to meet you baby G!