March 28, 2021
When you discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
-Jean Shinoda Bolen
This coming week is our unofficial spring break and a chance to give a big cleaning to the house. We have been setting in place some seasonal changes to our rhythm as I have continued to give measure to our habits, hoping to reinvigorate our days like the waking earth.
As a young child, our etheric body (and the etheric of our parents) provides formative forces for the building of our physical body. In middle childhood as we develop our personalities, the etheric begins to hold habits and anything that is rhythmic and repeated. It develops our memory as well. Through our lives, our etheric continues to hold these habits, but the hope is that we are not ruled by them. Instead it is hoped that we are so awake in our consciousness that we rule our habits, that we are able to use them as tools to create a fulfilling and productive life.
Now, anytime that we come together as a family or a group of people living intimately, the home develops its own sort of etheric. There is a presence or energy that is shaped by people’s habits, and will determine whether that energy is sustaining us or draining us. Even people who visit can feel the life and vitality of our homes and feel comforted or stimulated by it. And so, each spring presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon this part of our homes and bring to us a deeper and longer lasting level of revitalizing energy. Last week, I began evaluating my own home with a framework of the Seven Life Processes. I explored breathing, warming and nourishing, all processes in which something from the outside world is being brought inward. Today, I am exploring the process of discernment and the three processes in which something inward is brought out into the world.
This is also known as the process of sorting or eliminating, but I really find secreting to be most appropriate. Both of the words secret and secrete share an origin in secernere, which means to separate or set apart. Of course, we know a secret as something that we intend to keep hidden. In case of coming into active consciousness, however, we are in the process of becoming aware of those “hidden” habits. Like the act of divulging a secret we knew we shouldn’t keep, releasing ourselves and our homes of unhealthy habits is a huge relief. It also creates space for the next processes to happen.
This is where the real “spring cleaning” of our homelife habits begins. Some activities are part of a rhythm that is simply put to rest for another season. Others would become unhelpful habits if they live on and, thus, need to be culled. What patterns in our life are helpful and productive? What is holding us back from what we want in our home?
If you aren’t really sure, consider what your family’s wishes and values are, and what you want to be cultivating. LifeWays offers a wonderful course for working with these called Creating Your Family Culture: An Elemental Approach.
This is about what provides for the necessities of life, and what provides stability and predictability. It is also about repairing damage and recovery. Physically, most of our maintenance happens during sleep, so again, looking at our sleep habits is really important. However, having a strong etheric is essential for the repair and revitalizing that happens in sleep. So I must ask, “What in my daily life provides a strong etheric sheath for my children?” A calm environment, soothing and warm relationships, clear boundaries and the security of a consistent rhythm would all benefit.
Here, I will also give myself and my family a big pat on the back for all of the good work we have been doing for ourselves. We must acknowledge and maintain all that is already positive and helpful!
Healthy habits for maintenance are crucial for growth as well, but after childhood when the physical body is fully formed (about 18 years old) our etheric body can shift its formative energy into shaping our souls, which can grow infinitely. The habits of our homelife can cultivate the value of open mindedness. What supports my capacity to remain open to change in myself and others? How do we support and respond to each other as we grow and change? How do we respond as the world around us changes?
As volatile as the world has been recently, it has been especially important to be aware of this last thought. In my home, we strive to carefully watch the expression of our opinions, and hold questions instead. Observing our collective human journey and being in wonder of it creates equanimity that extends into compassion for the world instead of rigid judgement. Have I been keenly aware of this recently?
This process embodies the spirit of Spring- giving birth to, creating, producing, reproducing, giving rise to, manifesting…. This is why we are discerning what habits to let go and putting the work into doing it. We are making room for new capacities, ideas, skills, and energies. In what way does my home support this process? How do we apply ourselves to releasing the old and manifesting the new?
The answer is so personal. Everyone must find their way to change habits, let go of old ways and begin anew. For me, sometimes it takes sticky notes around the house or alerts on my phone to set new routines. It takes planning out time for self-care and the discipline to follow through. It takes a lot of self-control and awareness. And even though this whole process of reflection and creation takes energy, I find that it produces more than it takes. It cultivates an etheric force, like a pulsing energy awake and vital, that is consistently giving us what we need — sustenance and strength.
Well wishes for a warm and rejuvenating spring!