Embracing A New Tradition
A ritual can be many things. Lighting a unique candle at the start of each meal. Saying an evening prayer. Taking a moment to contemplate a personal altar. Even setting aside one night each week for a board game and a pizza has the potential to become an important family ritual. But quite often, activities like these are the unconscious rituals in which we engage without recognizing their significance in our lives. Creatively and actively inventing ritual can bring you a sense of community and how you as an individual fit into the universe. Rituals are meant not only to celebrate significant moments, but to ease us through difficult times by preserving stability and to establish bonds that transcend time. Rituals performed with family and friends bring us closer to one another and keep us grounded, but all personal ritual, no matter how outwardly mundane, is meaningful.
The world of today is fast and full, making it seem like there couldn't possibly be room for another activity in the course of a day. Change feels like the only constant but it is for this reason that personal and family rituals are vital. Taking time each day to perform an action you find calming or to bless home, family, or friends is a way to learn to appreciate each individual moment and to find happiness in the present, regardless of what the past has held or what the future promises to bring. Planned rituals, such as using special flatware on your birthday or marking the anniversary of a loved one's death can make change less harrowing.
To create a ritual, examine your days and look for regularly occurring activities that give you a sense of comfort or balance. Once you have identified an unconscious ritual, bring it into the foreground. If possible, dedicate a place in your home to your ritual. If your ritual involves taking time to read or do a craft, mentally label your favorite chair or workspace as your sacred space. If you care for a personal altar, keep that space uncluttered and use it at the same time each day. The key is setting aside time, even if it is only a few minutes each day or one hour each week. If the ritual involves the entire family, let them know what will be expected of them. Not everyone possesses an already established ritual, but it is never too late to invent a new tradition.
Though it may feel strange at first, creating rituals is a powerful way to create a personal culture and to positively reinforce values. When shared, you offer of yourself, your creativity, and your guidance in an activity that both grounds you in the here-and-now and invites a little magic into your life.
A Note from Nancy...
Personally, I greet each day by opening the curtains and acknowledging the beauty before me, wherever I find myself. Then, my daily practice of Half Salutations connects me to my body and breath, followed by a quiet meditation of gratitude. This may last 5, 15 or 50 minutes, depending on the day. It is the consistency of the ritual that nourishes the connection with something greater, bringing a sense of trust and belonging into my daily life. And that has made all the difference.