Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Creating Rituals to Help Us through Challenging Times

One of the things that helped me through the months of my cancer saga this year was creating rituals that were personal and meaningful to me. Rituals and traditions are woven into most cultures around major life transitions, such as birth, marriage, and death, and to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

For me, ritual became a way to create a sacred context for what was happening in my life, to invoke and feel the support and protection of the universe. Some rituals were planned; others were spontaneous. Some were original; others were borrowed. The specifics weren’t prescribed. They weren’t magic. They were meaningful. To me.

For example, I went to a shrine where I could walk a labyrinth under the trees in a lovely garden.

I sat by the creek at my cabin and asked blessings from the water, the earth, the trees, and the sky for my body, especially for the parts that were being released through surgery.

I wore a Kuan Yin bracelet all the time to keep her mercy and compassion in contact with my body.

For every medical appointment I wore my “cancer socks,” turquoise with bright flowers, and boldly stating on each sock, “Carpe the fuck out of this diem!”

I prayed.

I anointed my body with oil.

I drew cards from various oracle decks to give me insight.

I chanted.

I created music playlists.

I copied inspiring quotations on index cards and drew one every morning from the stack.

I had tea parties with a heart shaped ceramic child’s tea set, and invited beings from other realms to come sit with me – Kuan Yin, Jesus, Kali, Archangel Raphael.

I placed little statues of my spirit animals on my altar.

I meditated.

I burned lots and lots of candles. 

Engaging in these rituals helped me stay grounded, connected, grateful. As I said, the details aren’t important. If the concept interests you, what matters is to find something that is meaningful to you. If you need help, don’t be shy. Talk to a spiritual advisor, look online, work with a life celebrant (like my friend Holly – click here for her website). Or contact me. I’m always happy to help.

Most of all, listen to and trust your own inner wisdom. If a ritual would be helpful to you, you will know it and be guided to what is right for you.


8 thoughts on “Creating Rituals to Help Us through Challenging Times”

  1. I love all of the examples you’ve shared, and how simply you integrated them into your life. My outdoor morning greeting ritual is continuously evolving. It’s such a game changer for me. It opens my heart and my energy to all that is present that is so easily obscured or unseen by my mental patterns. I too often skip it and can always tell the difference in my day. In fact I need to get off my computer and get out the door for that reset right now 🙂

    1. An outdoor morning greeting ritual sounds lovely, Holly. And I appreciate your description of how it gets your day off to a good start. I have morning rituals as well, and, like you, I can tell the difference if I skip them. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Hi Galen…how wonderful to fill your heart, action and days with such wonderful “friends.” That’s how I saw them from your explanation becuase they stand/stood by you, comforted you, loved you through all your days. What a great reminder that such support is always available if we remember and take the time to pad our lives with them–especially when faced with challenges. May your rituals continue to be your constant companions as long as needed. Sending you love and support from my neck in the world. ~Kathy

    1. Yes, that is a great image — friends from other realms who stand by me, comfort me, guide me, protect me, and above all love me “through all my days.” That was beautiful. Thank you, Kathy.

  3. Your rituals and intentionality are gifts.
    My daily practice includes swim-meditation.
    I’m praying then, too, and will hold you in those thoughts.

    1. Thank you, Laurie. I’ve always admired your early swim ritual. I know it’s very important to you. For me, I like to have morning rituals that allow me to stay home in my pajamas — ha! Thanks for commenting.

  4. Trista Ainsworth

    Galen, I love these beautiful rituals that have helped you through your cancer journey! I am deeply touched & inspired by them! I believe making personal rituals like thee can help us through challenging times as well as joyful ones. I loved your tea party!

    1. Thank you, Trista! I’m so pleased that you liked this post. Especially the tea parties — I am fond of having tea parties for beings from other realms. Thanks for commenting.

Comments are closed.