Day 116 Rituals

April 4, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

Rituals are signposts in our lives as we journey, often meandering, sometimes lost. They are the signs that say YOU ARE HERE

There are daily rituals, the morning coffee that indicates a new day, or a bedtime story that signals the end of the day. When we meet, the handshake, or bow in some cultures, signals a connection between two people. My new daily ritual is this project— 365 gifts, a daily ritual of observation, exploration, meditation and creation.

Rituals are part of a narrative. David and I were invited to a Seder today, a religious ritual, which retells the story of an exodus, the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. The Seder is not part of my family’s history but it is part of David’s, albeit a fuzzy memory of his family gatherings. He and our host, Nelson, put on yarmulkes and the table setting displayed food and other items that symbolized part of the exodus story—Kosher wine, matzah, bitter herbs, eggs, and more. Although I do not understand any Hebrew, David recalled a little from his childhood. As Nelson’s wife, Roz, explained the narrative to me, I began to understand the importance of ritual. It strengthens connections with one’s faith and, although I am not Jewish, this Jewish ritual strengthened my connection with our friends who shared it with us.  

Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love suggests that ritual is important for our emotional health:

This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.

My gift today is a Seder.

> Day 117 Egg Butts and Points

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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