Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rituals

All kidding aside, if there is one New Year's resolution that I think is important to make, it's to resolve to slow down and consciously build rituals in my life.

With the memories of the holidays still warming to the heart, this is a wonderful video that speaks to the softness and gentle rhythm of days spent building rituals. A winter's walk through the forest, cutting down the tree, noticing the new growth of next year's fiddleheads, baking the recipes handed down from our mothers, gathering together against the cold to share life. We don't make rituals in our lives anymore. We hurry through life, running so fast we're like stones skipping over the surface of the pond. But there are great, wondrous, important things hidden in the depths of the pond, and it is in diving into these things, deliberately, consciously, that we create rituals. These things used to be the province of women who tended the fires, and baked the bread, and nurtured the community by weaving together the single, individual strands of sisters and cousins and neighbors into tightly-knit groups. Groups that laughed together, quietly, voices pressed down by the close warmth of company.



Rituals once were a constant in people's lives. They used to come from religion, which we are rapidly abandoning, from women, whom we have liberated from the chore, from the seasons, which demanded attention for our very survival. But we no longer seem to need rituals, and consequently they have been tossed aside to lighten the load as we speed along until we are all skipping stones. Busy, busy, busy...going nowhere fast.

Rituals create mindfulness and build connections. Rituals give structure and meaning to the present, by shaping the experience of all who participate so that we are pulled closer by shared memories. Without rituals we are left to gather memories on our own from a jumble of constantly bouncing, rushing experiences, each of us pulling different impressions and pictures from the hectic scenes through which we move. Rituals slow us down and connect us.

I resolve to create rituals in my life. 

But they won't all involve bread, or I'll get big as a house.


H/T: Kitchen Vignettes

2 comments:

  1. When I was being raised, there was a distinct line between what was man work and woman work. The chores didn't cross; they only coincided without anyone crossing the line.

    Sunday breakfast and supper were where we gathered as a family to break bread and be thankful for what we had. I had a problem because I wanted to learn to cook, since I liked to eat so much.

    I helped my mother, learned to cook and found the knowledge I wanted. I leaned more than that; I learned patience, the unique perspective of my mother and developed an admiration not for only her, but for her ancestors that went through the same process to prepare a meal, which was also flavored with love.

    So, thank you for your post. I can't cook a slice of bacon, or make a gravy without thinking of my past and being part of the ritual of Sunday. My memories are more than special. They are part of what forged my character.

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    1. Jess, thank you for that thoughtful comment. Your observations are exactly what I was getting at. I'm so delighted that you gleaned that from this post and that it re-connected you to your personal rituals.



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