Every December 31st for the last nine years, I have gathered up the petitions and prayers of our community members for the final ceremonial service I offer during the year, the Banish and Burn ceremony.
During this sacred time I release and remove what people do not want to carry into the New Year. I listen to what your prayers tell me.
The qualities, experiences, and events that people feel block, thwart, impede, impose, restrict, or create obstacles – the stuff that has been hard or problematic is named, acknowledged, and thrown into a sacred flame so that it can burn up and be transformed into something of good use.
In the years I have facilitated this ceremony I have been privileged read tens of thousands of prayers. These prayers come from so many different people – different ethnic backgrounds and cultures, different languages and countries of origin, different sexual orientations, political affiliations, and religious traditions, different economic brackets and different walks of life.
And when I read the prayers – for I read each one, here is what I see: the problems are the problems.
When we are in the midst of our own struggles it can feel so isolating, so alone.
So I want you to hear me when I tell you, not from an abstract idea but from feet on the ground experience, that you are not alone…someone else is walking that path and hoeing that row too.
Yes, the particulars of each individual’s obstacles and challenges change, but no matter what they may look like on the outside, on the inside those obstacles and challenges all get back to the same things.
Everyone wants to release feeling small, constantly struggling, going on unseen and unheard, worrying about material and financial security, and the excess – be it debt, weight, or bad relationships.
Perhaps most of all, so, so, many of us want to release the feeling of being powerless unable to create true and lasting change, blinded to the real alternatives and possibilities in our lives.
These are your problems. When we get right down to it, they are everyone’s problems, the problems of your neighbors, relatives, and friends.
As you tend your dreams for 2023 I want you to remember that the challenges for you this year are the challenges for all of us, and that you aren’t alone in learning how to navigate and face them.
Because all of those prayers I mentioned?
They also tell me something else.
Magic is real and transformation IS possible.
Keep that close to your heart as you move through the year.