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The mixed life of change!

By Michael Ketterhagen

Today, December 21, is this year’s solstice, this year’s change of season from Fall to Winter. We already experienced the change in the length of daylight, getting more used to the diminishing presence of light in our day.  Now we will be adjusting to the length of the returning daylight. For most of us this is a joyful change.

However, change is not always joy-filled. Psychologists say that even joyful change, like a marriage or moving to a new home, is filled with stress. Often, it takes some time of relaxation and gratitude to flow with the waves of change and the accompanying stress that life brings us.

All the religious and spiritual traditions of the world use rituals to mark and help people to navigate the river of fast-flowing changes that are always present.  The one constant in life is change. Those rituals especially mark major changes in our journey through life, like the wedding ceremony signifying the union of two single people, or a baptism identifying one’s entrance into the spiritual journey.   These rituals bring closure to the past which is no longer relevant, yet to which we often remain quite attached. They also confirm that life is wonderful and will continue in a new, although very different, life-giving way. 

I have experienced much change in these past couple of months and will be experiencing more in the coming months. Only my morning ritual of meditation and seeking guidance from the Divine Mother through regular morning reflection and journaling has allowed me to remain peaceful in my boat of life.

On December 31, I will no longer act as director of The Center. I will be involved with the Center only through my teaching of yoga and meditation and offering my services as a health coach. My daily schedule will dramatically change. A new director will be making decisions for the growth and well-being of The Center’s mission of service to those seeking health and wholeness in the Fond du Lac area.

Letting go of that responsibility has been mostly joyful for me. However, The Center is moving to a new location and that has been challenging for me to adjust to. After over 23 years at 74 S. Main, we are moving to a smaller Center at 1020 S. Main. It’s a beautiful place and will allow our Center students and clients a much more visible and accessible yoga and healing arts Center. There is lots of parking, which was a regular complaint about our downtown location.

The biggest challenge for me, though, is letting go of the hundreds of spirituality and healing books that The Center accumulated over these past years.  There is no room for them in the smaller space.  Many of them are from my own teaching

library when I was a professor at Marian University.

So now, I am managing the changes by focusing more actively on my meditation ritual and developing another ritual for moving the energies of the Divine Mother from the downtown Center to the Southside Center.  In the Yoga Tradition, there are rituals for that specific event.  My yoga teacher modeled such a change for me when he moved the location of the altar and meditation space from one building to the shrine at the Himalayan Institute.  The Yoga Tradition, flowing from its understanding that The Divine is always present in our world and that Reality is One, believes in the presence of The Divine in every space and that that presence is more apparent in some spaces than in others. After 23 years of meditation and joy, the third floor Center has a very strong presence of the Divine within its entire space. Many people comment on the peace in The Center as soon as they enter it. So, we need to ask that presence to join us as we move to our new Center.

These rituals have already started to help me deal with the stress of all the changes that are occurring in my life. The moving ritual will also help all the Center’s team realize that we will have a wonderful new beginning in our new Center on 1020 S Main Street, Suite D.

I bow to the Divinity within you!

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