On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos
Rule #9 in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life is “Make Life a Ritual.”
There is a certain comfort in routine. The morning cup of coffee is a perfect example. While some view it as a chore or a necessity, I see it as a way to reconnect to the waking world.
So much of our lives rush by in a blur. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, like dropping the kids off at school, or tossing a load of laundry into the washer, dashing off emails to the clients, or paying the bills. It’s too easy to become automated, almost unthinking, as we scurry through our lives.
One way to bring more connection into my life has been through rituals. Growing up Catholic, we had plenty of proscribed rituals. Tuna noodle casserole became a Friday staple during lent. Even stopping for donuts after Sunday Mass, which explains my ongoing craving for a good jelly bismark one day a week.
I have found new joy in recognizing and celebrating the rituals in my life. Making the bed is now an opportunity to bring my bedroom back to a state of beauty, and prepare the space for another restful night. Checking the mail is gives me just a minute or two to think of someone I’d like to hear from, and plan to write or email them. Cooking dinner goes from being a chore to celebrating a healthy offering for my body.
But what happens when change interrupts our rituals?
The last two weeks have been all about chaos — sorting, packing, storing, selling our home and moving in with a friend while our new home is under construction. The comforting rituals are turned on their heads. And with it, my sense of balance. It’s no wonder I’ve had vertigo in the mornings, as my physical body expresses what’s in my heart and mind.
Yet overturning the familiar is where we find new joy. Creating new order out of the chaos — even though I know this too is temporary — restores my balance while allowing me to be open to new experiences.
My latest ritual? Morning coffee on the dock, feeding the baby turtles at my friend Melissa’s beautiful home. Who knew watching tiny little shell kids bob for food could be such bliss?
I may be out of my element, but that’s no reason to be out of my mind.