Ritual: Experience the Fullness of Life

Ritual: Experience the Fullness of Life

By Joan Phillips

This week opens with a full moon on the 12th, and four days later, on the birthday of the 18th-century American educator, lexicographer, and prolific author Noah Webster (of Merriam-Webster, of course), we celebrate National Dictionary Day.

Full. Open up a dictionary and you will gather that this simple word has ancient roots. Present in Old English, akin to the Old High German word fol, it may stem from a prehistoric Indo-European base language. First used in English as an adjective (“full moon”) and adverb (“full well”), it emerged in noun form (“to the full”) in the 14th century.

You will also see, from the many senses of the word indicated by its long definition, that its meaning has likely evolved over the centuries. Full, you will find, may denote abundance, completion, perfection, saturation, satisfaction, and more. And so this week, you might pause and explore some of the many ways in which your life is full.

You might focus throughout the week on fullness in the sense of abundance. Begin each day by affirming and inviting the experience of bountiful good in your life as you complete this statement:

I give thanks today that my life is full of _______________.

Or, expand your exploration by asking yourself a different question each day, such as:

What has come to full fruition in my life? In what sense is my life most full? Who needs my full attention today? What deserves my full dedication? What reminds me to be full of hope? What in my life is so full that I will give some away to make room for the new? How will I enjoy this day to the full?

Consult your dictionary for further inspiration from the various synonyms of “full.” To anchor each meaning you discover, look for an expression of fullness in nature: a velvety pod, ripened ear of corn, overflowing pool, colorful leaf, rain-filled cloud, vibrant blossom, full-throated warble …

You may choose to gather these items, or images of them, as a personal autumn cornucopia (“horn of plenty”) or collage. Or simply appreciate them in their full glory where you encounter them.

About the author: Joan Phillips is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who helps couples, families, and friends express their love for one another and for life through weddings, baby welcomings, funerals, and other life celebrations. Trained and certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute, she is also a longtime member of Toastmasters and a licensed Washington, D.C., tour guide. (And yes, she was an English major.) She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and can be reached at [email protected] or through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.

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