“Ritual practice is the activity of cultivating extraordinary ordinariness. It is necessary, because human activity has a kind of entropy about it; life, like love, runs down. Things get tiresome and difficult. Body and soul cry out for something different, hence the impetus to ritualize.”-Ronald L. Grimes
When I was really young our family did not go to church. When my little sister was born it was like a switch flipped for my parents and church became what we did on Sunday mornings.
What captured my attention in church was the rituals. All those glorious candles. The beautiful flowers. Incantations. The first time I saw an acolyte I proclaimed to my mom, “I want to do that!” It all seemed like a gateway to a secret club. All of the rituals and ceremonies were fascinating to little me. And, by fifth grade, I was an acolyte.
These rituals were comforting and grounding, in the moment. They were formal, collective, traditional, and connected to eight (8) generations of my ancestors. I enjoyed the histories and meanings behind the rituals, too. As I went through my own rites of passage – marriage, birth, deaths – I began to crave rituals that were comforting and grounding but also private, independent from hierarchical constraints, connected to my experiences and beliefs, to those I love, to those I’ve never known, and to the eternal.
I realized that I didn’t need someone to tell me how to infuse rituals and ceremonies into the every day. I realized I could invent and reimagine, create, rituals for myself. The ones I create for myself and with my family are the ones that sustain me. They slow me down, remind me return to the breath again and again and again, help me remain healthy and happy, connect me to Earth/Nature and Place/Community. They are the ties that link each lotus together. They make the ordinary extraordinary.
Some of my rituals are short in duration, some are based on the small moments in the day, some are longer in duration, some are for deeper practices, some are seasonal, and some are daily. Some examples are:
- Drinking Tea
- Making herbal preparations
- Blessing the morning
- Blessing the first candle that is lit in the morning
- Saturday Morning Potatoes with my husband
- Personal Morning Ritual
- Personal Evening Ritual
- Family Rituals around the seasons such as at Solstice and around the change of the seasons
- Walking barefoot outside, every day
Here is an example of my Meal Prep Ritual:
- This begins when I enter the kitchen, before any food prep begins. The kitchen is a sacred space in our home as it is the location where one of the most intimate family events occur – the place where nourishing food is prepared, food that will enter into self and others. As a result, it is important to me that I prepare the space before any food prep begins, and then connect to the sacred on each phase of food prep.
- Here’s what I do. I begin by lighting the candle on my kitchen altar. Then, three full inhalations and exhalations to leave behind the tension and anything troubling. These breaths help me shift my energy into the moment and the food prep to come. It also serves to create the best energy possible so that the energy transferring from me to the food is nourishing as well. My words come next, tailored for the morning or the evening.
- The food prep then begins. I endeavor to make the food prep process sacred as well. Slowing down. Raising my awareness. Aware of the sounds/light/smells/etc within the kitchen environment. Aware of how my body is entering the space. Being mindful. Hand washing becomes a cleansing ritual. Wiping counters becomes about clearing away thoughts to bring calm and balance. The ingredients are whole foods, plant based. Each phase is an opportunity to raise my awareness and connection.
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