Daily practice/ritual of love

Join me for 30 days of love!

A daily gratitude practice that goes beyond just reflecting on the people, things, moments in your life you are grateful for, and extends into a ritual of love as action.

On and off for the past few years I have engaged in some kind of daily gratitude practice. Generally listing off 5 or so things I am grateful for in my life. Any thing from a person who I love, a person whose work inspires me, an element of myself, my other daily rituals, my favourite food, anything really – anything that adds value to my life and I feel I should acknowledge.

I have decided to take my gratitude further. Step up a little more! Live out my ethics, my values, my beliefs a little stronger.

And I would like you to join me.

Every day, for the month of June, make space and set an intent to spread our actions of love. Choose one of the things we are grateful for, set aside some time to write and reflect on it; what impact this thing/person/moment has on your life? how you engage with it? what you offer it in return? how you actively love it? whether you need to increase your love action for it? or whether you need to pass it or an element of it on to someone/thing else, lovely? (you can see an example of how I have written about this previously in my last blog post)

And then engage, or make a solid plan to engage, in that action of love.

Share what you feel comfortable of this process on a social media platform of your choice (at this stage I will be using Instagram, @dustforthedancers), use the #dailyritualsoflove

One of the reasons I want to share this on social media, is as a way to hold me accountable. I am trying to encourage myself to form a better relationship with social media, and one of the ways I am doing this is through how I use it as a tool in my every day life – one of the tools is accountability (but that is another story to share).

As I mentioned in my last post, Daily practices – gratitude, I owe much gratitude and love to, adrienne maree brown, whose writing and work set off a light bulb moment around deepening my gratitude practice.

Daily practices – gratitude

I have always tried to have daily practices/rituals in my life. A consistent daily ritual has been my morning coffee. Daily yoga, tarot, magick meditation/journey work, morning pages (inspired by the book, The Artists Way), watering my garden, all tools to connect me to myself, to the world around me, tools to ground me into all that exists.

For a while now I have been engaging in a daily practice of gratitude. Listing 5+ things I am grateful for every morning. If I read back over my lists; coffee, yoga, podcasts, my fam and my lover all feature very strongly.

I am *heart beating out of my chest* grateful for the amazing human adrienne maree brown, whose podcast How to Survive the End of the World, and book Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds has my brain exploding with excitement for life and engaging in the world in really wonderful ways.

I was recently 11 pages into Emergent Strategy and had this lightbulb moment. A daily practice of gratitude is great for me as an individual. It gives me a moment to reflect on all that I have in my life and gives me reasons to hang onto hope and excitement for my day to day, my existence. It grounds me in a moment. It centers me. I feel better. I smile more. I complain less. Though I find it really insular. It is about me. And while I find that helpful… I also want to feel more connected externally. I want that appreciation to be actively engaged. I want to share back. I want to love.

So I have started a daily love practice. Replaced the word gratitude for the word love.

I am grateful for the amazing podcasts I listen to, they make me feel connected to a larger world of movement. I love the amazing podcasts I listen to, they inspire me to engage in the world in new and exciting ways and I want them to continue, so when I have a stable income I will become a sustaining member and donate.

Maybe I could still actively engage in loving ways using the word gratitude, but I want to practice love more openly and be responsive to those beings/things/moments I love.

Why I left Facebook…

So I have decided to deactivate my Facebook account. It is slightly depressing, because I have a huge Facebook addiction, one of the reasons I must expel it from my life, and I will miss it deeply, but alas, the time has come.

There are a number of reasons I want to do this and I think my exploration into empathetic narratives has fuelled my aspiration to be Facebook free.

Recently a friend of mine (check out his blog on dumpster diving here) suggested I read a short story called The Machine Stops (it is online in full) by E.M. Forster (1909), and I did, and it moved me beyond words, both in the way it was written and in it’s subject matter.

The Machine Stops explores a world where humans no longer live on the surface of the earth, they have gone underground, isolated in individual ‘rooms’, serviced by the ‘Machine’. Every thing is artificial, every thing is detached from humanity and human connection. Interactions are fast flowing through the ‘Machine’, individuals communicate with 1000’s of ‘friends’ through technology, but “the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression… the imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse was ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of the artificial fruit… something “good enough” had long since been accepted by our race” (Forster, 1909).

This is what triggered my initial pulse of “I don’t want to lose connection with humanity”, that blood pumping connection with what I love, what holds me to people, that “imponderable bloom”, that rosy flare of heart strings pulled by mechanisms all things unexplainably beautiful and human! I don’t want to be accepting superficial “good enough” connectivity.

E.M Forster shares the story of an interaction between a mother, Vashti, and her son, Kuno. They are in their separate ‘bubbles’, one in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere. The story begins with Kuno wanting his mother to visit him. But Vashti feels no need to leave her ‘bubble’, she feels it is a waste of time and that they can connect “good enough” through the ‘Machine”. Eventually she does visit him, and finds he has visited the surface of the world… I don’t want to say too much more, because I feel you should all read it. An hour is all you need, for it is only 25 pages. 25 pages of words woven beautifully.

An internal discourse has lead me to feel I am frustrated by the lack of meaningful ‘feeling’ connections. I long for dialogue that excites my neuronal firing, that triggers memories, interaction that is evocative and emotive. Maybe I feel a disconnection from a love life, maybe I have been too caught up in study and poetry and performance, but I feel it is that I am too caught up in a world where external stimulation guides us too quickly through life’s course. I feel I am being sucked into the void of Facebook and while I used it to try to connect and reach out, share my passions and yearned for a ‘like’, that connection and ‘like’ buttons clicked, hasn’t been enough. I shared on Facebook things that excite me, things I am passionate about, things that trigger in me human responses and I wanted to trigger those things in other people. And maybe I did. But what was lacking was the mutual dialogue, debate, discussion. The face to face, watching some one blush with excitement, or frown with discontent, or nostril flare with anger. I want to see the tears that swell in peoples eyes, I want to hear peoples joy in the heightened pitch of their utterance. I want to touch, enjoy the warmth of flesh and that delight in the tactility of my finger tips.

This is why I have left Facebook. This is why I want to return to my humanity.

I want to leave you, with some of the quotes from The Machine Stops that truly moved me.

“Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man’s feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is loveable and desirable and strong.”

“But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then.”

“I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here.”

“Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives is the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops – but not on our lines. The machine proceeds – but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die.”

Much love humanity, I will see you in person.

Jessie Giles