Beginning and ending rituals

I want to talk about beginnings and endings today. No, I don’t mean like big things, like weddings, divorces or death. It’s Monday after all, and too early besides.

I’m talking about events like starting or finishing a big project. I’m talking about setting an intentional goal or planning a life change like finding a new job, starting school or moving somewhere new.

For me, the most common beginning I see is the start of a new draft. This may seem like a small thing, given how many books I write. But it’s not. A new draft means months of work dedicated to one project with one goal. And I get emotional over these sorts of things. Beginnings and endings trigger emotional needs that I don’t really like to ignore.

Maybe this is not a season in your life that will include a major change. Most seasons don’t. And maybe you’re not a writer, always going through different drafts in different made-up worlds. But I bet there is a beginning or ending in your life all the same. Maybe it’s a big project at work. Maybe you want to clear out your garage, start your garden or finally Kona Marie your house. Maybe you’re making a big change to your eating habits or starting a new exercise routine. Any of these things can require a ceremony of beginning. And when you finish, they require a ceremony of ending as well.

Today, I’d like to share with you the parts of my staring and ending ceremonies. These have evolved over time through trial and error, and I expect that they will continue to evolve.

Your starting and ending ceremonies might look very different than mine. But there are certain aspects that I do advise for everyone. For each, it’s a three-step process.

Starting ceremonies

Preparing yourself for the project

This is probably the most practical part of this process. Whatever my new project is, I need to make a plan. I need to know what my end goal is, what steps I’m going to have to take, and how much time this is going to take. I map out time in my planner and make a plan of action in my bullet journal.

Cleansing your space

I mean this is two different ways. First, I mean that I’m going to get the whole house picked up and do any little chores that have been bugging me. For reasons I will never understand, I do not give a damn about the condition of my ceiling fans until I’m trying to start a new project. But I also cleanse the space in a more spiritual sense.

I light a candle. If it’s warm enough I open the windows to clear out all negative energy. I will full on do a Chakra cleansing meditation. This is especially important if your new project is at all creative. And let’s be fair, most things require at least some creative energy.

Have a tradition

Finally, once my plan is set and my space is in order mentally and physically, it’s time to begin. I have a special tradition that I do right before I start on a new project.

I make a cup of tea, but it’s not just any cup. I get this tea that is brewed from a flower. The flower blooms in hot water. So I pour in the hot water, and I watch the flower bloom. It’s a ceremony, a meditation.

As I drink the tea, I pray for help. Help in whatever it is I’m about to get started on. I pray for strength, for insight. I pray for inspiration, most of all.

If you’re not a faithful person, that’s fine. If you don’t like tea, that’s fine too. Your tradition might be to go to a specific coffee shop and order a specific drink. You might read a specific book, or do a facial, or clean off your desk. What you do is not important, it’s just the tradition of the thing. It’s just getting yourself into the mindset of beginning.

Ending ceremonies

Reward

When we reach a goal, even a little one, we should celebrate it. We should have some sort of reward to look forward to.

I know that many of the things we work on have their own reward built in. For instance, I’m working on the second draft of a new novel right now. When it’s done, I will have the reward of knowing I’ve finished the second draft of my fifth novel. And that’s freaking awesome! But I’m also going to go out to a coffee shop and sip a fancy expensive coffee and have a pastry.

That’s just this goal, though. I’m also going to go to the Zoo in May to celebrate the end of Camp Nanowrimo. Sometimes I have a celebratory soda, or I bake something. It can be anything, so long as it’s something that makes me happy.

Let go

The next thing I do is put this project, whatever it is, away. I try to get as much distance as possible. If it’s a writing project, I will put the draft away in a box with no intention of looking at it for a while. Then, I take three days off from writing before I start another project.

Finally, I say a prayer of thanks. I started this project by asking for help. No part of me thinks I didn’t get that help. So now is when I say thank you.

Move forward

Finally, I never sit on my laurels. If I’ve reached one goal and properly rewarded myself, then it’s time for me to make another goal. And so the process starts all over again.

So what do you think? What rituals or customs do you observe at the start or finish of a project? Let us know in the comments below.

Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.

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