The word “ritual” seems to have taken on ominous tones these days, and it’s too bad. Many people find much comfort in religious or spiritual rituals and the performance of them.
At its root, a ritual is anything that we do regularly in a particular sequence. For example, you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face, hop in the shower, and get dressed. This is a morning routine, but it can also be considered a ritual.
Rituals have fallen out of favor because of the religious tone the word invokes. However it’s worth a change in perspective. Rituals provide comfort to millions and can bring a sense of stability and order to even the most troubled mind.
In my life and in my work, I see that the breakdown of family and relationships stem from the lack of these routines. People rush out on their daily grind, choke down their food, breathe shallow, and stay on a permanent diet of caffeine.
Religious rituals of old brought the family and community together. They spent time in the same places, prayed the same prayers and governed their lives around this routine. Was it that they all had this deep abiding faith in God? Not necessarily. You can talk to many people in church services, even today, who go because the family goes, or because they are expected to go. It wasn’t necessarily about the church, it was the sense of connectedness that rituals bring to our lives. We create emotional and spiritual bonds of support when we come together. The same is said of those of us who have spent time in choirs, theater productions, bands, sport teams and the military. You become as close as family and sometimes share in the love and drama as if you were related. And make no mistake, these groups are related, not by blood but by a common denominator or a common purpose to either make music, win a game or accomplish a mission. They share in rituals in which they train or practice.
This is how we build bonds with each other. When we discard ritual as being a thing of the past or old school, we also toss the benefits those experiences bring to our lives. I encourage you to take a fresh look at this and see how you can make space for meaningful routines. When you first begin, it can seem corny or you may not notice anything at all, and that is to be expected. You don’t build a house in one day, give things time to develop. Over time you will notice your relationships strengthen and learn more about yourself in the process.
Let me know what rituals you may already engage in. If you need ideas for where to start, I’d be happy to chat with you here or on my Facebook page! Talk soon!