Rituals

When I was a kid, say about 8- years-old or maybe even earlier, I came home from school one day and declared that WE as a FAMILY should go to Church and that I wanted to go to Church that Sunday. My parents complied. Many of my friends attended Church or Synagogue on the weekends and I wanted to be a part of this “fun” ritual. They would talk of having to go to CCD class or Bible study and I secretly wanted to be Catholic or Jewish.

As I look back on WHY I made this declaration that my parents dutifully followed until I left home for University, constantly reminding the 16-year-old cranky pants on a Sunday morning “this was YOUR idea”, I realize now that what I craved was ritual. I loved the rituals of Synagogue and Hebrew school that my Jewish friends went to during the week and then on the weekend. I loved the ritual of communion and of everyone simultaneously kneeling on the benches at the Catholic Church.

Although I don’t go to Church on Sundays as an adult I am still fascinated by rituals. I may not have a regular Sunday ritual of sitting in a pew, but rather my ritual is a bit different.

I wake up earlier than Jeff to have some quiet time in the morning. This is my time to read, make breakfast, drink coffee, and just be solo in our house. I then head off to the Yoga Studio for my volunteer gig, where I volunteer twice a week in exchange for unlimited yoga. I love it. I see many of the same yogis every Sunday and I get to chat with them about their weekends or their upcoming weeks. After my volunteering I will head into a yoga class, and then head on home from there. I feel refreshed, contemplative, calm, and sometimes ready for a nap…. which, as I recall, were the exact same feelings I had as a kid going to Church on Sundays.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks of rituals in Eat, Pray, Love:

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”

Do you have a Sunday ritual? What is it?

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One thought on “Rituals

  1. Great article! I too have craved spiritual rituals in the past. There is something to be said about in a presence of a group of people who all have the same, positive intentions. That’s why I love yoga, it balances both my need for peace and quiet with my need to be around others who share their great energy.

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