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River ritual

We humans have always engaged in rituals together! Think of the rituals you have around Birthdays, christening, weddings and don’t even get me started on Christmas!

We are often good at marking ‘big events’ together in our families, communities and various groups. But how often do we make the effort to create rituals for ourselves to mark significant events in our own life stories?

One of the things I love to offer my individual therapy clients is rituals that are personal and meaningful to them – like this river walk. So often people come to me because they want to break free from a habit or addiction that they are suffering with. After a period of time in our work together it becomes obvious when it's time to honour autumns wisdom and let go and move on. Here I was inviting one of my brave clients to come into the forest and make use of the bridge to symbolically cross over from one way of showing up in her life to another. On my invitation she brought meaningful poems, clothes and objects to place on either side of the bridge, we lit a candle, burnt incense and read aloud the goodbye letters she had so carefully written.

These rituals always warm my soul and touch my heart. Together we took the time to bear witness to the pain and welcome in the freedom that waits for us all. Other rituals have included letting go of helium balloons, putting messages in bottles, singing, dancing or lighting campfires. This sort of exercise isn’t for everyone, but to some, it has provided a much-needed line in the sand and marked the end of one era and the start of a new more compassionate and hopeful one.