The Power of Ritual (Desire)

The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.
-Orson Welles

What is it that drives you?  What gets you out of bed each morning?  Perhaps it is a steaming hot cup of coffee, or the inevitable 8am commute to that blessed place called work, or training for a 10k, or… love? I am talking about that thing you love and desire more than anything else.  It’s the thing that makes us depressed and edgy when we ignore it, yet freaked out and energized when we embrace it.

I am still trying to fully define this for myself, so if you are clueless, don’t worry…you’re not alone.  More and more though, I think what drives me on many levels is healing and beauty.  As broad as those may seem, it’s what I keep coming back to.  It seems once we hone in on an area of interest, or the general concepts behind it, we can experiment and tease out the specifics over time.

For example, despite the fact that beauty and healing are pretty nebulous, I have learned that they really do show up in most of my daily focus.  This can look like working with clients in a counseling setting or communicating through writing and/or song, or maybe even creating a space for others to enjoy it while connecting over a dinner table (assuming my cooking turns out beautifully).  Thankfully, I havelearned that our drive, calling, passion, whatever you call it, doesn’t have to look a certain way.  We can get rid of the boxes.  Calling is birthed in desire and nurtured through ritual.  It’s far less complicated than we make it.


A songwriter friend of mine once told me about an interview she saw with John Mayer. Despite his less than glowing publicity throughout the years, he has been a long-time favorite guitar player and singer/songwriter of mine. I am also inspired by his steely will that paved the road to his oozing, effortless talent and style.   In this interview, Mayer shared how he  “locked himself up” for an entire year to focus solely on one thing: learning and loving everything about the guitar. In the interview, he also challenged others to examine their schedules and passions, and to be super serious about committing to their craft.  Now, I don’t know all the details of his ritual and what exactly “locking himself up” looked like (nor am I encouraging anyone to follow his extreme lead), but the concept is worth examining:

What practices do I have in place to further my deep desire for __________________?  

I am always a bit jolted into action when I hear someone challenge me this way: “Well, if you don’t embrace and pursue your passion, someone else will run with it!”  Ouch.  Talk about serious blow to the old ego!  However, it seems to get right down to the point and gaugelevels of committment.  Sometimes fear can be a powerful catalyst if we are clever about it.  By this I mean fear can be an excellent indicator of calling.  There is always resistance around places of truth and destiny; fear tends to be the preliminary symptom of courage leading the way.   We have the opportunity to discover and commit to something excellent, yet in my experience, when the desire or goal loses its sparkle and the honeymoon phase is over, we abandon our work; what was once ablazing pursuit becomes a dim and lonely path.  Have you ever experienced this? 

 These final blazing days of summer  may be the perfect time to examine some  habits.  I believe Ritual is a heavy hitter in the realm of progress, thus I am breaking this entry up into two segments for the sake of being annoyingly wordy.  BUT, what would be awesome is to get your feedback. Take a few minutes and email me your experience as it relates to this stuff.  How have you tackled, accomplished, bombed, and even re-invented your greatest loves: those things that get you moving each day?  What are your daily and weekly rituals? How do you get the most from them and even make them…fun?! I can’t wait to hear from you…