Rituals? Part 2

Mary Englebriet's card hanging in my kitchen.

Mary Englebriet’s artwork on a card hanging in my kitchen.

Kids are great at rituals.  Doing things in order like… finish the game-clean up-wash hands-set table-eat dinner often delivers a positive behavioral response. I think I would do much less mindless eating too if added in a few steps every time I got an urge to snack!

Bedtime is the same way… all the steps of starting of the ritual with the announcement of “bedtime” through the many steps of changing clothes, stopping at the bathroom, reading a story, singing a song, saying a prayer, kissing goodnight and finally stepping out of the room all help ensure a more successful transition from day-time to night.-time. Do you need a bedtime ritual?

What about us? I think personal rituals shape who we are by calling us back to our essential selves. When we design our own rituals, the experience is shaped by the details we choose.  Rituals also enhance our lives in such a way that we look forward to engaging in them. Many mornings the thought of the toast, tea and quiet time propels me out of bed!

What makes a set of tasks a “ritual?”  Here are a few components…

  1. Intentionality: Participating in a ritual is a choice, it does not “just happen.” Intentionality, “I’m choosing to do this (task, activity) in this same way again and again” sets rituals apart from other activities.  Athletes, writers, dancers, and artists often follow prescribed patterns when entering into the task at hand.
  2. Order: A ritual has a clear beginning and end. You are aware of when it has started and when it is over. The order of a ritual is determined by a variety of factors such as clock time, events, seasonal/liturgical calendars.
  3. Props: Many rituals include objects of some sort to help enhance the experience. Some examples are: Candles, readings, clothing, food/drink, music, prayers.

I still may not have convinced you to create a few new ones but as for me, I would be quite adrift without them!

Hope for the best,



PS Adapted from my book, Rhythms of Renewal. Looking for some new spiritual practices? Want to break out of boring routines? Need a bit of soul de-cluttering? Rhythms of Renewal (http://amzn.to/1wts0eK) addresses all these issues and more





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