7:30 BELLS: The Bells of Making and Unmaking

Every morning I take my beautiful woven bedspread out of a drawer and unfold it in the same ritual way across my bed. I take care to feel the texture of the cloth. To look at the colors. This ritual brings me from the honored dream world of the unconscious night back into the topside world. Even on dark winter mornings, the yellow and white flowers speak of sun. Day has come.

I keep my bedroom as a place of honor to the night time world (no e-mail, TV, texts). Gifts of deep knowing come from dreams. Many of us try to lead mindful lives. I recently heard author Murray Stein say that it is mindful to pay attention to your dreams. Yes. Only when my bed is beautifully made, do I leave the bedroom and begin the day. I transition to consciousness and its gifts.

Every night, I fold my bedspread in the same ritual way and place it back in its drawer. Like tucking the sun away for the night. I begin letting go of the daylight world in preparation for the night time one.

This ritual began three years ago when I developed a severe dust mite allergy. All my bedding must be washed weekly in hot water. Cotton can’t tolerate that. I wash the bedspread every month in expensive low temperature allergy detergent and tumble it on air fluff for hours to dry. But I decided to remove the bedspread at night to minimize my exposure. And so this beautiful, centering ritual developed out of need.

But isn’t that always the way? Rituals around life, death, marriage, eating—all developed because we have some deep need. Ritual is a form of practice, keeping before our eyes what we most want to remember. 

For me as an artist this ritual of making and unmaking my bed connects me to the larger creative world. It symbolizes the astounding cyclical rhythm of life. Out of unmaking arises new making. New life springs from the unconscious night time world and meets the rush of the conscious sunlit world. And in the great splash of meeting, they create something new, something unexpected, something the world so deeply needs from us.

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.
7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month.