Every year I do an elemental balancing ritual. The purpose of this ritual is to create balance in my life by working on aspects of myself that need to be balanced. Really what I'm doing it changing my overall identity by shifting the balance using an intensive working to generate a specific direction for my internal work. I think its worked well to help me make conscious changes to who I am in a positive manner. Internal work isn't something that can be done in one moment. It takes dedication and focus. I figure that by shifting my balance using elemental energy each year, I can actually put dedicated time into internal work that focuses on particular themes I need to work on. I put a year's time into each elemental theme and a years work does provide enough time to make substantive changes to a person's identity. It's not easy work, but it is work that makes your life easier.
Shifting your identity, your state of being, if you will, necessarily changes the relationships that you are in. I've had friendships fall away, a marriage end, and and started new relationships in large part because of the elemental balance work I've done. Shifting your identity also shifts the connections you have with people. You have to decide if that is worth it. I think it is worth it, because even though some relationships have changed, what has changed even more, on a fundamental level is my relationship with myself and how I live in the world. And I find the changes to be satisfying. I like who I am as a result of doing the work.
I've always said that you can't please everyone and I mention that because when you engage in internal work you necessarily have to accept that the changes you make won't please everyone. That's part of the price of doing internal work. You confront who you are, you make changes to your identity and those changes manifest in how you interact with the world.
Changing your balance changes your place in the universe and your awareness of that place. You start asking hard questions of yourself and others and you look at what you can change and you make those changes because you want to shift your balance, want to shift to a new place. That's what internal work does. It spurs you on, pushes you to make changes, demands the best from you, refines you alchemically, and when you do all of that the result is a changed person, someone different from before. And everything that doesn't fit, falls away.
Book Review: On Desire (Affiliate Link) by William Irvine
On Desire is a fascinating book that looks at how we interact with desire. The author comes off as a little prudish, advocating more of an approach of ignoring desires, but even with that tone, the book provides a look at what desire is, what the neurological basis of it is, as well as how different cultures and communities deal with desire. I would have liked to have seen exercises in this book from the author. It is more of a philosophical treatise than anything else, but still worth a read.