What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pike
You are so wise. You know what you need to survive with grace. The truth is that you are the creator of the rituals which enable you to live your life in a way that feels best to you. While some rituals are inherent in various practices, such as weddings or funerals, you tend to create, quite naturally, the activities which contribute to you surviving and surviving with a feel good feeling, be it a walk each morning or saying your prayers and meditating each day in a favorite spot in or out of your home.
Rituals help you mark the milestones of your life. The first bus ride for each of your children when they begin their official life as a student is a ritual that touches the heart, as does the first school holiday pageant in which they participate, or the first school Halloween parade for which you help them with their costume.
When your loved one dies, rituals again help you mark additional milestones. This may be with a specific service, markings on the gravestone, the lighting of candles and saying of specific prayers are typical rituals. Personally, each year on my mother’s birthday, I go to the florist and purchase for her the most beautiful floral bouquet and take it to the cemetery where I place it in the ground by her gravestone and then sit, cry and talk to her. This helps me to connect with my mom and I do something similar for my dad, as well. I need this ritual to handle my parents’ deaths and I am always more at peace following these activities.
If you think (and feel) about it, the family rituals in which you participated as a child or have created in your adult life have added to the rich awareness of being a part of a family ( a real community) and of sharing in the experience of love, even when love could not be verbally expressed.
Perhaps you and your family always made a big deal of every family member’s birthday, father’s day, mother’s day and every other major holiday. (And, if you did not, you could begin now!) Though you may have complained about having to be present and dress for the occasion, just knowing your Presence mattered contributed to your sense of self-esteem. You mattered!
The precious memories you store in your heart hold the vibration of the joy you experienced in past ceremonies and rituals. For example, if you grew up in an area where you had several snowfalls each winter, then you most likely had opportunities for special snow related activities such as the building of the first snowman – or woman of the season, the sleigh rides you took with your folks, friends and/or siblings, and the hot chocolate and cookies you would have each time you came in from the cold.
Let’s talk mealtimes. Those of you who had to be home for nightly family dinner may have complained about this growing up. However, most adults feel a sense of gratitude for those meals. They provided a sense of groundedness, connection and stability. Research has substantiated the value of rituals such as families gathering for dinner each night.
In fact, Jean Achterberg, a mentor of mine, in Intentional Healing, notes that research confirms that despite the problem of alcohol addiction, when families eat together and participate in family holiday rituals, the children of alcoholics tend not to develop alcohol addition as adults.Vibrationally, despite the alcoholism, the children feel energy of safety, rootedness, stability and goodness because they get to sit down with their families for their evening and holiday meals. This is a powerful argument for the healing power of rituals in families with alcohol addiction problems
Take a moment or two and think about the rituals you might engage in which could best contribute to you and your family being able to feel more connected, more stable and more harmonious; be it walking or watching a movie together, or regularly visiting an ill or dying family member – or going to church, your mosque or synagogue together on a regular basis. (To be continued.).
Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
“Ritual, when it is done in its purest, truest sense, is done in space that is called sacred.”
Have you noticed how you feel when your mind and your heart wander back to times spent with your family, be it a trip each year to spend holidays with your grandparents or a vacation you would take every summer with your folks, perhaps at the beach or mountains. Such memories tend to fill you with a sense of peace, comfort, bliss and stability. These are also rituals which are high vibrational energetic experiences and which have the power to heal.
Rituals are not just those events or ceremonies (sometimes with feeling and sometimes not!) associated with religious moments, such as baptisms, communions and Bar Mitvahs. Actually, a ritual can be any activity which is deemed by you to be meaningful and even has a sense of sacredness to it because it feels so special (in a positive way) , powerful and has a meaning near and dear to your heart. Rituals do contribute to your feeling your bliss and feeling good. And, you have the power to create the high vibrational energetic rituals you need and desire in your life.
Just by choosing life, you choose activities that become rituals which give your life meaning – and a meaning which feels good and which sustains you. Though you may not be conscious of this, you are assigning meaning to everything you do – every moment of every day – and the meaning you give to your activities (or rituals ) is what determines the quality of your moment, day and life. Given that everything is energy, make it a point to choose feel-good meaningful rituals.
Perhaps you have noticed that the rituals which bring you joy, such as the times you spend snuggling with your cat, walking your dog each day or regularly baking cookies or fishing with a grandparent or parent, praying and/or meditating daily in your favorite location are those that have a quiet, even subtle sacredness to them. This is a sacredness which may not be obvious to you until you are in your early or later adult years and are recalling earlier times in your life. If you question your life’s meaning and purpose, be sure to revisit your experience of family and community activities in which you have joyfully engaged on a repeated basis throughout your life.
What is it about rituals that is responsible for you feeling such bliss? Well, just remembering or thinking about the times you have spent celebrating graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, births, housewarmings and marriages, provides you with a sense of belonging to someone, something, some place and being a part of a community. And, feeling that you belong feels good!
Also, have you noticed that you do not feel so terribly isolated, lonely or inadequate when you recall feel good memories such as attending school athletic games, high school and college dances, and participation in events such as walkathons, community charities and church and synagogue activities? Focusing on such feel-good experiences enables you to experience a greater sense of well-being and wholeness – definitely peace and bliss.
Indeed, your life is filled with rituals – all of which add richness, depth and joy to what might otherwise be considered simply “existing.” Consider for a moment the events we participate in which revolve around various entertainment events, be it getting together each year to watch the Oscars, the Tonys or Super Bowl games. There are rituals surrounding these activities as well as those involving the parades we attend each year, the barbecues we hold and fireworks we watch each July;
Take a moment and consider a ritual or ceremony you could create that would bring you comfort and peace and then of how you could integrate this into your life.. (To be continued.)
Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”