Rituals are a feature of all known human societies. We might more often think of them in terms of religious ceremonies, rites of passage, ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, or even common behaviors such as shaking hands (pre-covid 19!). But in psychological terminology, ritual more often refers to repetitive activity intended to bind anxiety. Think obcessive-compulsive disorder. However, in the midst of the disruption the covid 19 virus has brought into our lives, developing rituals to give shape to our days would seem to be a reasonable response that might indeed minimize anxiety and increase focus.
Though I did not set out to develop rituals during this time, I realize I have unwittingly done just that. We now typically have breakfast on the screen porch followed by a walk down to the road to get the newspaper, a mile round trip. Just this week we impulsively took a ride at sunset. We liked it so much we went again the next night and decided we would do this nightly. We don’t go far or for long. But just that 30 minutes or so in the fading light of evening, passing fields of sunflowers and pastures of cattle grazing, while the sky blazes tangerine and violet, then fades into blue velvet night, is so soothing to my soul.
We zoom twice a week with two different groups of friends. We plan social distance picnics about once a week. I zoom with a Centering Prayer group once a week and meditate and pray daily. I still find I am easily distracted and my focus is variable, a condition I certainly hope will improve as I continue to provide myself with these routines that define this fluid period in which we find ourselves.
“I learned a few years ago that balance is the key to a happy and successful life,” Gretchen Bleiler, former professional snowboarder, has written, “and a huge part of achieving that balance is instilling rituals into your everyday life.”
In these challenging times, we have the opportunity to develop whatever rituals we discover to support balance as we navigate our everyday lives.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.
Hope’s Café Bonus: Movie night (another ritual!) treat: To popcorn, add dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries and dry roasted peanuts (or whatever nuts you prefer)…..enjoy! 😊 Creating Ritual