“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.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
So I definitely have been trying to get back to reading, but I really love my nightly decompression of tv series and often The Simpsons (I know, so authentic). I have been thinking about the few conversations I’ve had with friends and family these past few days. Firstly, I am so excited to begin Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a book mentioned to me by a dear friend as a means to find some artistic inspiration and power! Ironically, I have been having a lot of conversations about ritual lately, so when I found this quote I was astonished! Sometimes messages are shown to us in coincidental ways.
Ritual, ritual, ritual, what is it? What does it mean to us? Arbitrarily, I bet most believe only religious/spiritual organizations share that connotation. However, Gilbert speaks the truth in that we are absolutely permitted to make up our own ceremonies!
I had a beautiful, though short, conversation at work today about food and rituals, and food is such a big part of my life. Though I come from no apparent food-lingual descent, and we never really celebrated “roots” and “heritage,” somehow food has always become this ritualistic passion, a ritual of love and life, and offering and receiving.
Currently, and I never thought about this until now, my (to be resumed) morning schedule consists of me waking up before my alarm because my body says “hey, get up before you pee yourself” and then I come back to bed before my alarm goes off, hoping to get an hour or at least a few minutes more rest (my body also says “wait, you’re still exhausted, get back to that bed!”). When I wake up, I go into the kitchen and whether I’ve prepared my juice goodies or not, I chop them up and get the juicer ready. I pull the machine out from the same cabinet it stays in, I pull the external equipment from the cabinets, and without rushing, I juice all the produce I want in the morning.
Often if my partner is up, I start to the coffee process – we LOVE our french press. I grab the kettle, wipe it clean and rinse the old water, and rinse it again, and then fill it. I wipe off the stovetop, and place the kettle on high. It takes only about 10 minutes for the kettle to start singing, meanwhile, I scoop two and a half spoonfuls of coffee. When the kettle sings, it’s game time. I pour the water into the press, let the grounds soak, and place the lid/press and a fork right next to it (you know, always prepared). In about five minutes, I whisk the grounds, grab the lid and gently set the press to just rest on top of the carafe. In 30 seconds, I press the mesh into the carafe, and it’s done – the morning is ready. By the time my partner is out of the shower, we enjoy coffee/juice together, and head off to work around the same time.
These morning rituals, when we can experience them, are so important. Especially when they are shared. Talking about them, inspiring them, manifesting them, they become these joyous occasions that uniquely hold space for us to just stop and be. I can say that even this morning ritual, though I’ve explained in a longer time frame, is short. But, it means the world. It is an effortless effort, it just becomes a part of us.
I also discover ritual comes when we least expect it. I think the other term for that is habit.
Habits become lifestyles, and lifestyles become realties. Same thing as rituals, they are a sacred part of our daily life, just like one would consider going to the gym, or gardening.
We are vessels that create, whether we recognize it as purposeful and meaningful, or as accidental and our normal structures. What space will you hold for yourself and what rituals will you discover?