Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rituals

Our lives are made up of a series of connecting moments, and it brings us a sense of comfort, safety, and continuity to engage in rituals--the little things we do that bring a sense of familiarity to a moment.

One of my favorite rituals is my morning tea and journal writing. Every morning after I have done the necessary things, which during summer break means walking and feeding the dogs, and preparing the Chief's lunch, I make a cup of Celestial Seasoning's Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai with a drop of honey (okay, a bit more than a drop, but somewhat less than a splash), and sit quietly at the table and write in my journal. The "quietly" part is negotiable during summer break, but I still sit there and do it, even if I am surrounded by noise. It has become the way I start my day, and if I can't do it for whatever reason, the day always feel somehow "off" or "wrong."

In our house, we have birthday rituals (Birthday Breakfast, which is doughnuts from the local bakery) on people's birthdays, and we have our holiday rituals such as kids jumping into bed with us on Christmas morning to open their stockings.

Writing Prompt: A ritual can be something you do every day, every week, or even just once a year. What rituals do you use to bring a sense of comfort and familiarity to the moments of your life?

11 comments:

Coco said...

This will be a good writing excercise. Man, you make me think! I guess that's the whole point ~ lol! Comfort and familiarity... 2 things that are so important to my well-being, but also 2 thing which I guess I'm trying to stretch myself with when I'm well.

I'd have to say off the top of my head that my morning & evening rituals/routines are the most important to me; how I start and finish the day brings me a lot of comfort. Yet I don't want to become rigid and set in my ways! Too late maybe.

But the coffee/computer ritual each morning, in my big overstuffed recliner, is big for me; whether I take on a journalling excercise or simply catch up on blogs. I'd love to become more disciplined and make it a for-sure journalling experience each morning, but I'm just not there yet.

Also important to me is my kids' bedtime routine (the youngest 3). Not the bathing, teeth, jammies part, but the part where we pile into my daughters big bed and take turns reading stories. It's the time when we connect after a busy day and 'let our hair down'.... get silly. If I'm depressed it's obviously more sober, but it's a comfort to all of us to have the words of the books to fill the void.

Jazz said...

Coco--
I think rituals or routine or whatever you want to call it, are important for kids. They need to know what to expect. But they are important for us, too. I get a lot of comfort from my little rituals...but I don't feel that those things make me set in my ways, either...

We also have the pile into bed and read ritual in the evenings. My son, who is nearly 13, still comes to listen...probably because we're reading fantasy novels right now, and that's his favorite sort of thing in the whole world. I suppose it helps that I'm rather theatrical about the whole process, with distinct voices and accents for each character...I guess those acting classes in high school did come in handy after all!

Gianna said...

that is so sweet that your son still comes to listen in bed at age 13. adorable...you've got to be a very well respected mom (by you son I mean!)

the 13 year olds I've known ---myself included--- at that age, have thought themselves way too cool to do something like that. Of course I think laying down listening to you read fantasy sounds cool now!!

Jazz said...

He's a sweet boy, still. There are flashes of attitude now and then, but he's still mostly my loving little boy.

I imagine that will change...

Jazz said...

Oh, I should add, the series I'm reading to them right now is The Belgariad by David Eddings, and it's one of my husband's favorite series, so he often pokes his head in to listen, especially when we're getting to a good part!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
That is really nice about your son. I once read that it's not that kids are necessarily ready to stop hearing their parents read, it's that their parents just stop reading to them.

When I was in my last year of elementary school, a friend's mother who was an English professor used to read to us in their garden. Your post made me remember her. God bless you Elva Kremenliev (she's been dead for years and it's nice to remember her and her daughter Lenka).

Susan
P.S. Actually, I'm going to start making the tea you make. Sounds yummy!

Jazz said...

Susan--
Well, it does take time, and I imagine once kids can read for themselves, parents figure they don't need to anymore. I know when they were younger and I had read "Go, Dog, Go" for the nineteenth time one night, I was surely wishing for the day when they could read themselves to sleep and I wouldn't have to.

But then they got older, old enough to appreciate some of my favorite stories like "Heidi" and "The Secret Garden," and now I enjoy our evening reading as much as they do, as I am able to share some of my favorite books with them...and we've discovered a number of new favorites together, too. Both of them adore reading, and we take weekly trips to the library in the summer. My son absolutely inhales books!

bipolarjourney.com said...

My tea comes at night not sure why. Anyway I read something the other day in a book about writing that says to "save your journals" forever. Just a thought. One day one of us might just write the bestseller! Hey, thanks for the tip "Celestial Seasoning's Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai" it is on my list!

Jazz said...

It is awesome tea! A little honey and mmmmm....

Coco said...

Bedtime reading.... my oldest is 14 and prefers to be read to on his own this past year. Once in a while he'll still join us, but mostly as 'assistant tucker-inner', The age spread 3-14 is too great to please all their literary tastes at one time! Plus I get some one on one time with him afterwards which is nice. My son also adores fantasy (inkheart, narnia, etc), and won't read anything else. EXCEPT this past year he's been getting heavy into books on hypnosis, the law of attraction, etc. (which he reads apart from our reading time) Taking after his mother's interest in psychology I guess! I'll take note of the series you mentioned. Also, that's funny, I do voices too! All of us can always tell when I'm in a depression however, as the reading becomes pretty monotone. No energy for voices. Take care ~coco

Jazz said...

Coco--
Yeah, 3-14 is a pretty big age spread! My two are 22 months apart, and my youngest is much more mature than her brother, so I only have one level of maturity/appropriateness to cater to. That does make it easier.

It's the same with me and my voices--when I'm tired or depressed they all sound the same--like a weary mother who wishes it would be over so she can crawl into bed!