We welcome guest blogger Dr Sarah Lantz. Best selling author, organizer of amazing workshops and retreats for woman, and all round good egg :) to share her thoughts on rituals.
While the idea of ritual may seem foreign to many of us these days, of long forgotten times based in ye olde mythology or something steeped in religious traditions that we are challenged to pay attention to, rituals are necessary for our times, and very much alive and waiting to be re-awakened inside each of us. You see, there is something that ignites in all of us when we live with ritual. What we know is that what we give love and attention to, grows and flows. Our world shifts with all that we focus on. Rituals bring us back to the centre of who we are and endow order on chaos and in times of uncertainty.
Research defines ritual as a repeated pattern of behaviour performed at specified times, often composed of rites and actions, symbols, stories, and actions, as a way to make transitions, mark important events in our lives, express ourselves in joy and grief. These can include anything from birthdays to weddings, graduations, holiday traditions, religious events, New Year's, Valentine's Day, deaths and burials. Rituals can make all these experiences definable, memorable, meaningful.
Yet while these societal rituals may be socially (and financially) embedded in society, and sometimes reluctantly attended to as we try desperately to muster enthusiasm, rituals need not be complicated or bound by tradition. You see, rituals can be as simple as a few snippets of grace said before a meal; that first cup of coffee in the morning when we close our eyes and smell the bean; when we lift our faces to the sunrise at the break of dawn; the pause as we smell the summer rain on hot streets; the lighting of a candle for a loved one labouring hard as she births a babe into the world; or even a raucous bedtime routine as parents wrangle small children into slumber. Often these everyday rituals cannot be fully captured as words are inadequate to describe the totality of the experience. They are our own rituals, unique and rich to each of us. They give us a way to ground our yearnings and our devotion into concrete activities, and most of us yearn for this kind of beauty, meaning, and coherence.
At its centre, everyday rituals have a genesis in movements of the soul, usually through feeling something so deep enough that we take pause. The word Selah comes to mind here. Selah is a Hebrew word and when it appears in text (as it does in the bible seventy-four times and in nearly all religious texts) is a point which asks the reader to pause, be still for a moment, in quiet contemplation, because the idea is important enough to deeply consider for a moment. Selah is a holy pause. A space in between words and thoughts...for grace and reflection, illuminating everyday ritual.
More from Dr Sarah Lantz:
Her bestselling book on fermentation 'Forage Ferment Feast' is here: www.foragefermentfeast.com.au
For Sacred Women’s Way workshops, meditations and retreats go to: www.sacredwomensway.com.au