Rituals to Invite Balance and Well-being

By changing the way you do routine things
you allow a new person to grow inside of you.

~Paulo Coelho

This site is a compilation of rituals and stories from many different people around the world. Each post is a different person's response to an invitation to share their rituals for healthy living, activities or behaviors they do regularly for the purpose of bringing value to their well-being. Perhaps there is a ritual in these pages that will catch your attention and find its way into your own life. To help keep this site alive, comment on what you read, share your story if you try one of the rituals, and submit new rituals.

Welcome and Enjoy!


Threemile Idaho

I have many rituals in my practice, but the most powerful healing ritual for me is what I call a "three-mile Idaho." I live about 1¼ miles from the Idaho border just east of Palouse, WA, in a very lovely setting along the North Fork of the Palouse River. A gravel road heads east from here along the river, and over the years of living here I have discovered how transformative that walk can be. If I go another ¼ mile past the border, the river valley opens up to an expansive plain where Palootspu and Nez Perce would camp in summer before Europeans came to this country, and right at that point is a portal of sorts with Ponderosa pines on either side of the road, framing the view of the valley. Walking to that point and back is almost precisely three miles.

When I have been miserable, stressed-out, unable to see how to go forward from an impossible situation, I have found that I can hold my crisis in my heart-mind and walk out the door, down that road. The walk is long enough that I can go through every voice inside me, and I begin to sort through them, watching the unconstructive voices fall away as I become invigorated with the exercise, breathing deep into my center. The unresolvable struggles transform somehow to become understandable, manageable. Often there are moments of absolute clarity. Over the years, various "stations" along the walk have become associated in my mind with particular transcendent insights, and if I linger at those points I seem to be able to draw on those experiences in addressing whatever I am carrying at the moment. When I reach the portal, I greet the trees on either side and step through. If the moon is out, or the Milky Way, I align somehow with them, breathing and stretching. I offer whatever I have to the spirit of that place.

Then I turn towards home, and every time it feels as though a huge weight has been lifted from my being. The return trip integrates the transformation into the world I left at home, with everything in perspective.

Of course, I also go on three-miles to entertain my dog and collect native plant seeds, but the ceremonial three-mile Idaho is in an entirely different league. I believe it has saved my sanity on several occasions.

Paul Ely Smith

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. For me, my walks take on the shine of the archetypal. There is a great open space near my house here in Boulder and when I walk along I feel that my self has fallen away and I am elemental. By the end my problems take on their proper size and shape.