BY HILLARY RAIN
“What are you doing?” my husband asked this morning as I flung open the balcony door. For months we’ve kept it locked firmly, mostly hidden behind layers of insulating drapes to hold the Texas heat at bay.
I stuck my hand outside and breathed in, hoping desperately for a cool breeze to greet me. “I’m checking for fall!” I said, using my foot to nudge aside a sad brown bouquet of sunflowers which gave up long ago.
Nevermind that we’ve got a few weeks to go; switching the page to September always means autumn to me … a new season with relief and change. This year has brought many changes, mostly good, some painful. For me fall means I can breathe again, which I need, because lately? I’ve forgotten how.
I find myself craving more and more the simple rituals that make up everyday life, the dots on a map that say “I am here” and invite a sweet breath to fill me or the soft flutter of eyes closing in rest. These in-between moments are the portals of grace I find hidden in the shadows of living … opening the curtains to welcome daylight, the steamy swirl of morning coffee, the sacramental lighting of incense, fragrant evening tea, a soft touch. All grace. All gift. All here for me to notice, to mark, to partake like communion.
With intention I am moving into a new season of communion, wanting to notice these moments and give thanks for the grace they offer—a quiet place to check in with my heart and, as my friend Mandy says, “begin again, again.” I want to take this communion with gratitude and love, not as an afterthought or a “should” but rather as the creative consecration of a life filled with so much beauty + so much joy.
Because moments like these? When you white-knuckle grasp the edge of your counter, heart racing, head spinning because you can’t find a way out of this mess? Or when you’re wide awake all night and groggy all day and keep forgetting important things? Sometimes it’s hard to find the blessing when a bank account sags in the red or the cut-off notices arrive or you can’t button your favorite pair of jeans. For me, a ritual of grace feels like calm hands on my shoulders, a gentle and motherly hug, a soft “you can do this” and a healing re-start.
Things may be the same when we return to them. But with a moment of relief draping love across our shoulders, we won’t be. And maybe this is just the alchemy we’ve been waiting for.
What do you love? What daily rituals bring meaning and grace to you?