A number of my friends recently created a Blessingway ceremony for me for my 60th birthday.

A Blessingway is a traditional Navajo ceremony. The name, Blessingway, is a basic translation from the Navajo language and encompasses everything that can be interpreted as good, including beauty, harmony, success and well-being. A Blessingway honors a life passage or helps to prepare for an upcoming event. It’s a spiritual and heart expansive ceremony which we’ve loosely borrowed, (thank you so much) where the guest(s) of honor are cherished and blessed.

Over the years I’ve created and held the space for many Blessingway ceremonies – couples getting married or having their first child, pregnant women, young women graduating from high school and women becoming Elders. Each ceremony is inspired by the unique event and fed by the love of friends and family.

When my dear friend, Jean was about to turn 65, I told her I wanted to have a Blessingway for her, which she willingly accepted. I asked her if she would create one for me when I turned 65. I think this age is very significant for women; we become Elders, and it’s important for us to be received as such by our community, as well as claim it for ourselves.

In my recent 59th year I experienced much healing, awakening and growth. I felt I had turned an important corner in my life and realized I wanted a Blessingway for my 60th birthday. Originally I thought I’d wait until 65, yet I knew something needed to happen now. Jean lovingly agreed to organize it and hold the space. It would be my first Blessingway.

I arrived in Weed, California, just outside of Mount Shasta, on Friday, the day before the Blessingway. Jean was excited, and I could tell there were many surprises ahead. Late Saturday morning we went for a walk up the road along Eddy Creek; it was a beautiful way to begin the day. When we got back to the house, I noticed a car that hadn’t been there when we left. I thought it was Susan’s rental; she had come all the way from Arizona and was early. I got to the front door and immediately realized I was wrong. That’s when it all began.

Sally, looking radiant in a beautiful, long Mexican dress, opened the door for me. She was rattling. She captured my eyes with hers and never let them go, deeply committed to her role as Guardian. I looked down for a moment and saw the floor was strewn with rose petals. Sally led me upon the petals into the bathroom where the tub was full of more rose petals, and the luscious aroma of lavender essential oil filled the room.

There was no, “Hi Annie, how are you?” No words at all as Sally, rattling non-stop, embraced me with her heart and helped me into the tub. I was completely caught off guard, and the energy of the rattle permeated my soul. The Blessingway had begun.

Warm water, delicious smells, rose petals floating freely in the tub…. the rattle continued. Sally stayed with me for a while, and then left to prepare for her next gift. (Yes, there was more.)

I lay in the water and breathed deeply; I think I was in a little bit of shock. I certainly was up against myself. How could I possibly receive this? All this love? And it was just the very beginning of the day! The rest of the women hadn’t even arrived at the yurt to set up for whatever they had planned. How could I receive all this love? How is it that people love me so much?

Moved to tears, I told myself out loud, “I can do this. I can do this. I can receive the love.” I felt the presence of Guadalupe, my spiritual mother, as I consciously opened my heart with intention and breath. I breathed in from the back of my heart, the place of receptivity, and followed my breath through the center of my Being, as it moved to, through and out the front of my heart. I followed my breath from the front of my heart as it moved back in, through my center and returned and moved out the back of my heart. Again and again. In from the back, out through the front, and in from the front, out through the back. With this figure 8 breath I was able to open my whole heart to receive. And then spontaneously, I was given this exquisite teaching.

“It is only in the receiving of love that one can truly give love.”

Oftentimes we’re moved by people who have big hearts, who seem to give love so easily. Yet are these very same people able to receive the love we offer them? Sometimes the front of the heart center is open and flowing, but the rear is not. This disables the energies from moving in their complete natural flow. When we breathe in a figure 8 breath, energy moves through the center of our Being and connects both aspects of our heart. This is a full cycle of breath. The Inhalation and Exhalation as One Breath through Our Center.

“It is only in the receiving of love that one can truly give love.” Ahhh, the full cycle of breath must occur.

I stayed in the bathtub opening my whole heart. “Yes, I can do this. I can receive all the love that’s offered to me.” How beautiful to know that receiving love allows me to feel deeply and offer even more love.

My Blessingway was extraordinary. I received an abundance of love, honor, respect and gifts to last a lifetime. All that day and into the night. I’ll never forget what my beautiful sisters created and gave to me out of the depths of their hearts. How they loved. And I took it all in, with grace, they told me. And they as well, received the love that was offered to them; I saw it in their faces. For with each inhalation of receptivity, my exhalations of loving became richer.

This is for you – Jean, Sally, Michael, Laura, Linda Jean, Sarah, Bakur, Susan, Deb, Elizabeth, Nikki, Chelsea, Tammy, Paula, Lori, Mary and Guadalupe.
Thank you for teaching me about Love.

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