Bring attention to the doors of your life and you might discover the magic they hold.
(We share this story again as part of our series on Modern Witchery from "100+ Books We Love")
Think for a moment of all the doors you pass through every day. Most of the time we hardly notice these doors. So few of them are, after all, made to be noticed. They are made so that it is easy to pass through them, as quickly as possible, in order to get to the other space, the other side, with minimal obstruction and fuss.
There are as many doors as there are destinations we travel to and from. Our front doors take us out of the comfort and safety of our homes and out into the wide world, where we are faced with the demands and obligations of daily life. The car or bus or subway doors take us into the frenetic activity of movement and transportation, where we have to be focused and aware of the traffic around us.
When we walk through the doors of our offices and jobs, we often feel ourselves standing up straighter, invisibly surrounding ourselves with the layers of armor required for our various workplaces. When we exit that door at the end of our workday, we carry with us an often quite different set of feelings, sensations, and thoughts. Even those of us who work from home and have a ten-second commute from the bedroom to our desks experience this transformation.
Reflect on these most normal and usual activities of opening doors, closing doors, moving through them and over their thresholds. Become a connoisseur of the experience, tasting it, as it were, with every part of the tongue. What happens when you are moving from one space into another? What is it like? What changes do you undergo physically, emotionally, and mentally? Are there doors in life right now that you love to go into or out of, or even to pass by, just to see them? Are there doors that you already associate with deeper meaning, with magic? Likewise, are there doors that create anxiety or worry for you? These are the physical outer doors that you have daily experience with. What do they teach you?
Everything begins with simply noticing. If you start to notice what it is like to pass through different doors and into and out of the different spaces they separate, you will notice that every time you enter and exit through a door, something within you shifts and changes. It is a subtle but present shift. You may be noticing it for the first time.
Reflection is itself a door. New sensations, new meanings, new possibilities open up with this caring attention to the everyday experience of doors and the spaces they connect. How is it possible that as you exit certain doors you feel so tired? Who knew that going through the door of our favorite grocery store could bring so much sensual pleasure? Be prepared for discovery as you reflect on the magic of doors in your life.
This small ritual gives some basic suggestions for attending to the threshold that you most frequently cross on the way into and out of your home. The suggestions here are optional and really meant to trigger your imagination into finding what techniques and little magics are just right for you and your door.
- a small table
- a bottle of your favorite perfume or room spray
- flowers or other special objects (optional)
- a basket for shoes (optional)
Perform the “Easy Breath Relax and Release” ritual:
Breathe in a blessing on your physical body. Exhale in gratitude.
Take some time to allow yourself to just breathe — a minute or two. Observe without judging, and as you are able, allow your breathing to become slightly deeper and more regular. This is an opportunity for you to learn about the relationship between your body and your breath, the body of your memory and the breath of memory and imagination.
As you are ready, take in a deep breath, feeling it spiral up from the soles of your feet, through your calves, through your knees, thighs, hips; moving up through your sex, your abdomen, and back; spiraling up from fingertips into palms, into forearms, into shoulders; spiraling up into your chest, your neck, until the breath reaches all the way to the top of your head.
Reflect on how it feels in your body to be so full of nourishing breath. Reflect on how it feels to remember and to allow yourself to daydream, to extend your imagination beyond the limits of the possible.
As you are ready, release that breath. Release it fully and completely, and as you do so, release one thing that you can let go of for the rest of the hour, the day, the week, the month, or the rest of your life. This can be a big thing or a small thing: a concern that the taxes were not done on time, an old story about love, the hurtful thing a child said yesterday, the fact that you haven’t talked to your best friend in a week. Whatever it is, just release it for now.
For the purpose of this practice, releasing means honoring the distinction and the distance between yourself and whatever it is you have identified as needing to be released. You are remembering that there really is distance, there is space, between you and that. It is not you. You are not it. Discernment is key.
On your next in breath, breathe in a blessing on yourself. You get to decide what kind of blessing — a blessing of peace, power, strength, brilliance, endurance, joy, prosperity, generosity. You know what you need. Feel into it and say it.
Release your breath, and then breathe in one more blessing on your physical body. Exhale in gratitude.
ATTENDING TO YOUR THRESHOLD
Consider the door to your home that you enter and exit through the most. This could be the back door, front door, or door leading from your garage to your house.
Stand outside of it.
Go back outside.
Take a few moments to reflect on how you feel opening, closing, and going through this door.
Now, set up a small table just inside your home by the entrance to your door. Place a bouquet of fresh flowers or a living plant on it. Add any other items that you would love to see and experience when you first come in — maybe a small piece of artwork or a pretty rock you found on a walk. Add a bottle of your favorite perfume or room spray. Set the basket for shoes, if you are using one, underneath the table or to the side of it.
Once you have set things up just right, go outside once more. When you enter your home, use the perfume or room spray to spray the air around you lightly. As you pass through the scent, deeply breathe in the blessing “I am home.” Take your shoes off and place them in the basket.
You will experience small but noticeable differences after making these changes. How does it feel to do these things as you enter your home? Keep track of what you notice. Don’t analyze. What do they tell you about this particular door and your relationship to it?