... rituals do you have in your life? We all have them. Do you always add cream and sugar to your cup before you pour in the coffee? Do you never leave the house without making your bed? Do you
What rituals do you have in your life? We all have them. Do you always add cream and sugar to your cup before you pour in the coffee? Do you never leave the house without making your bed? Do you have a cup of tea before retiring? Do you always comb your hair and freshen your lipstick before going into a meeting? Do you brush after every meal? Rituals. Of course trimming the tree as a family; turkey on Thanksgiving, red flowers on Valentine’s Day are more noticeable rituals. We all have them - big and small. Rituals. Rituals are important in our lives. They give us unity, consistency, harmony, connectedness. As the world becomes a more stressful, chaotic, disconnected place ritual can bring us back to ourselves and our families. We can create less stress, more communion, more harmony in our lives by creating our own rituals. Big or small. Rituals. I have a “writing ritual”. When I get up and am ready to write I make a cup of tea (Equal goes in the cup first), I go into my office and turn on my little desk fountain, light candles, turn on some quiet music, sit in my big chair, pick two Angel and one Goddess cards, and select my colored pen for the day. I then write five items in my gratitude journal, read a daily meditation and begin my journal. I usually begin by writing down my Angel and Goddess cards and what those words mean to me today. Then I’m usually off and running. Other writers have other rituals. But this ritual relaxes me, it reassures me, and it gets me started. I feel grounded and nurtured by doing this. Ritual: a ceremonial act or actions; a customarily repeated act or set of acts. Rituals are soothing . . . something we can depend on. For women with harried, hectic lives a few minutes of a daily ritual can be a few minutes that unravels and unwinds. A ritual can be anything you desire . . . from meditation to washing and creaming your face. You already do rituals . . . notice them . . . slow them down . . . breathe while you do them . . . enjoy! And create new ones. You don’t meditate? Get up fifteen minutes earlier and start. You don’t wash and cream your face at night? Buy some wonderful soap and moisturizer, get a pretty towel, and start. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll look better. In the movie Soul Food they had a ritual of Sunday Family Dinner. Lots of families used to have that, but busy schedules have all but eliminated it. In Soul Food, after the mother died, so did the ritual, and the family fell apart. To reunite the family they recreated the ritual - and it worked. Personal rituals, family rituals, public rituals . . . we need them for stability and relatedness. Church is a ritual . . . so is Super Bowl. We like rituals! And it is a place we can be creative. Create what feels good for you and yours. Rituals can change. For years I threw a “Chili Bowl” party on Super Bowl Sunday. I made a ton of chili and had “the gang” over and we watched the game. It was fun. But as my friends began having kids and my first marriage ended it wasn’t a ritual I wanted to continue. After I remarried I began a different ritual. My honey and I have super sex - then we watch the Super Bowl - just the two of us. It works! And its fun too! Rituals will change as people and families change. Easter egg hunts go by the way-side as children grow (although my adult daughter still expects a chocolate bunny each year! Rituals!) Most recently we’ve decided to “re-ritual” Christmas. We are a small family: my husband, daughter, bonus son, my mother, and myself. In the past we have had Christmas Eve dinner, sat around and talked, gotten up early on Christmas morning, opened gifts, had breakfast, cooked a turkey, had dinner . . . the whole day was kind of anti-climatic . . .and long . . . and way too food oriented. This year my daughter suggested we do it differently next year. Have turkey on Christmas Eve, open the gifts, sleep late the next morning, have breakfast, and then just hang out - go to a movie, rent a movie, visit friends, what ever - NO EXPECTATIONS - so next year we will try something new. How about you . . . what ritual can you re-define, revise, rediscover, or re-create to give meaning and harmony to your day or week? Try it. Ritual. Ritual, however, is not the same as RUT! Notice if you are actually performing a ritual (it’s soothing, creative, meaningful) . . . or are you in a rut? (Non-thinking, zoned-out, meaningless.) If it is a rut - DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! We get in a rut when we always do things in the same way. Drive to work the same route every day (who cares if it is the shortest or the fastest?) You always use the same meatloaf recipe, you make love because it is the day you always make love; you do Christmas a certain way because you always have. That is a rut. If it doesn’t cause delight, discovery or desirability - it is a rut - not ritual - CHANGE IT!
Jean Johnson, one time single working mom, is now a full-time coach and writer specializing in women’s issues, especially those involving transitions, spirituality and finding your purpose, passion and pizzazz in life. Jean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out her website at www.cuttothechasecoaching.com.