Serious illness, aging, and loss of capacity are transformative experiences. They impact not only the one directly afflicted, but everyone in that person’s immediate world.
These transformations rock the foundations of who you are, and of how you’re used to being in the world. Whether it’s sudden or gradual, an illness asks you to become someone new, and to meet the world in a new way.
To heal is to make whole
Some things are just too big to carry alone
Coming to terms with a diagnosis
A big diagnosis is a shock to the person who gets it, and to their family and friends. Even if there’s a good prognosis and options for treatment, mortality is suddenly called into your awareness.
An encounter with death is a chance to make a deeper commitment to life, and to those we love. A ritual is the perfect way to mark that commitment.
Adjusting to changes in health
Even with a good recovery, having a serious illness often involves a series of small deaths, as our health and capacity changes (for better, or worse).
Adjusting to these transitions can be difficult, for everyone involved. An individual, family, or community ritual can help honour the significance of the changes, and help your souls to catch up to what’s happening.
Integrating your recovery
Returning to the world that illness took you away from is a big step. You’re not who you were before you got sick, and you probably haven’t yet figured out who you’re going to be on the other side of it.
This is a kind of death and rebirth: you’re alive, but the person you were has died. A ritual can help your soul navigate that rite of passage.
When everything changes, rituals reconnect us – to ourselves, our community, and our world
Examples of Healing Rituals
- A sharing circle to help you, and your immediate family, integrate the shock of a big diagnosis
- A storytelling ceremony in the family home before an aging parent moves into long term care
- A goodbye ritual for a woman’s breast before she undergoes a mastectomy
- A celebration ritual to welcome the new, one-breasted woman
- A healing circle before beginning chemo or radiation, or when it finishes
- A farewell ceremony when capacities like the ability to drive, to see, or to live alone are lost
- A celebration after positive test results, or when a capacity is regained
Find support during hard times
When you, or someone close to you, is experiencing the initiatory power of a serious illness, the journey can be a roller coaster of emotional and interpersonal challenges.
There are tools and practices that can help. Get in touch with me to learn how they can work for you.