Rituals and Routines

Rituals was the theme for one of our recent conscious conversation circles on Zoom. Our conversation starter reminded us about the celebratory rituals we often associate with the religious ceremonies for weddings, births, and deaths, or ancient sacred ceremonies such as rites of passage, dedications, atonement and purification, oaths of allegiance, coronations, presidential inaugurations, and much more. Also, the personal preparatory rituals relating to our waking practices, bedtime practices, and so much more.

For our annual family holiday, we rent a big house for children, grandchildren and other family members to gather and spend a week together as a family. Although we create a relaxed atmosphere with very few rules, we require everyone to gather together for dinner each evening to enjoy the meal prepared by the family members responsible for that evening’s meal. One of our rituals is the moment before we begin eating where one of the children read words of gratitude for this precious family time, the meal and all those involved in its preparation, and to express hope for all members of the human family around the world. The children compete to be the day’s reader and all take their turn during the week.

Routines are not the same as rituals. Routines are regularly repeated actions like brushing teeth or eating dinner, whereas rituals often embrace a specific sense of meaning or purpose, and clearly establish valued membership of a group or circle. Gratitude, kindness, and generosity are often part of the ritual, demonstrating the caring and compassionate nature of those involved. Convening our conversation circles involves rituals and agreements that allow for deep meaningful conversations. If you would like to learn more about experiencing the rituals in our conversation circles, please reach out via the contact page on this web site.

Originally published on the Dr. Paul Ward Blog.

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