Sacrifice as a spiritual practice had always been one that confused me.
I would think of the Temple in Jerusalem and wonder why they were wasting all that perfectly good food; God certainly didn’t need it.
It began to dawn on me that I might be taking the practice too literally.
Sacrifice is done as a ritual act and as such, is a symbol of something else. But what?
In the new age circles, sacrificing what was no longer useful or what we didn’t want became the go-to thing but that isn’t how the original practice went.
What would it mean to me to give away something of value, something that meant something to me?
I explored this idea the year I turned 29 and decided it was high time I had a coming of age ceremony. I had been exploring my teenage years in my journal and had healed many of the hurts, while at the same time recognizing the destructive patterns I was still following that grew out of those hurts.
I had decided it was time to put my angsty teenage years aside and embrace this thing called adulthood.
It was a beautiful shirt, Dead Head style, with an elaborate blending of blues and greens that I could never hope to achieve with my limited tye dying abilities.
I had purchased it at the age of 16 from a local music store where I used to sell friendship bracelets I made where they’d sell for a hefty mark-up. I couldn’t afford the shirt alone. At $24 it was out of my price range, so my boyfriend and I split the cost with the intention of sharing it (which of course meant that I kept it and wore it all the time!)
All those years later I was still wearing it. The boy and I had broken up years before. I was married and the mother of a 2 year old.
But I loved it! I loved its softness. I loved its colors. I loved the memories of it and of who I felt I was when I wore it. At the same time I recognized that I was stuck and that, if I didn’t find a way to release the past that had haunted me all those years, I would never grow beyond it.
The shirt had to go.
There was a bonfire, and friends – friends who were equally determined to grow out of their old selves, their limiting beliefs. The shirt caught quickly and burned spectacularly.
It hurt like hell to watch it go; what I had done was irredeemable, the shirt would never be mine again.
There wasn’t a feeling of exaltation as I had always assumed my ancestors felt while sacrificing. These were real feelings, practical feelings – sadness, loss, grief.
It was there, in the fire light that I finally understood what the practice of sacrifice is about: it signaled willingness.
In that moment of sadness I had demonstrated to the Universe just how ready I was to let go of my past.
I was willing to undergo discomfort; I was willing to experience sadness and grief in order to arrive at a new place of being.
And I also realized that if I was willing to experience all those negative emotions I was more than willing to experience the positive side of growth and reap the rewards of my work.
I had shown that to the Universe, and to myself.
So, what are you willing to experience?
What discomfort would you undergo to make the world (or just yourself) a better place? What would you sacrifice?
Would you care to come along on the journey? We’re only three days in. Terri and I would love to have you along for the journey!