Rituals keep coming up for me.

I’m hard at work on my memoir, a story about life and death, and how we can ever make sense of what inevitably happens to us all. It’s a sad story, but ultimately, I hope, one that transcends. I’m writing from the perspective of today but sure enough, the human heart buckles just as easily.  Which means that I’m searching for ways to simultaneously dive into my story and then resurface, come up for air, to the present, where the dishes and laundry and picking the kids up from school at 3 p.m. sharp await. My writing teacher suggested a ritual involving a rock or photo or some token object. “When you’re done writing,” she said, “literally put the object on the shelf, away, until you take it out again the next day.” It’s a symbolic gesture, but one that establishes the necessary distance.

Everyone has daily rituals. The medium Rebecca Rosen (more on her amazing intuition in a later post) told me that she begins each day with a prayer asking for the ability to help connect clients with lost loved ones. She repeats this prayer, like a mantra, many times throughout the day. Regardless of how we fill our days, rituals can be as subtle as dressing with the lights off (a fine choice between sleep and consciousness). Or more overt…like watching Seinfeld reruns before bed each night.

What I like best about rituals is that they are wholly are own, reflective of our individual desires and needs. As John Lennon once said, “Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.”

What rituals are working for you? What rituals might you create?

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