CREATE YOUR OWN RITUALS
To live a life full of meaning, you must create your own rituals.
MODERN DAY RITUALS
Today we still have rituals like graduation and weddings, but they have been so dominated by commercial interests that it is almost impossible to find their true meanings. Weddings are no longer about the love of two people and the joining of communities, but the dress, the ring, the flowers and the big pile of presents. Graduation ceremonies have been watered down to structured processions by parents and authorities afraid that the 18 year-old adults might actually want to celebrate their new freedom and status. Christmas is all about buying gifts and on Valentine’s Day, your guy better give you something sparkly or something sweet, or he will be in the doghouse. Over the years, we have gained a lot of stuff- but in the place of all these things, we have lost the meaning of rituals.
It is time we find it.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN RITUALS
If you want meaning in your life, you are going to have to create it. In fact, the only reason why life has meaning is that humans create it; you decide to assign importance to some things and not others.
To live a life full of meaning, you must create your own rituals. Sure you can accept those which are sold to you on TV commercials, but your life will be so much richer if you have some rituals just for yourself, your family and your community- not just the ones that are making corporations rich.
Start small. Humans are creatures of habit and we crave stability, even more so in a world that is changing faster and faster every day. It’s enough to make your head spin! So create a little sacred space just for you. For example, every morning after I wake up, I put water on the stove to make coffee and then sit down to sort through emails, check my social sites and create a “to-do” list for the day. This “sets” my brain, about that time the coffee is ready and then I am good to go.
You might rather choose a half-hour of yoga, a walk with the dog, or a chat with your mother on the phone or a cup of tea with your cat. Whatever it is, find something that works to center and rebalance you and that can be done most days, exotic vacations notwithstanding.
Now stretch this out to your family, friends and community. Sure you have holiday rituals from childhood you likely still participate in - keep them - but add more, and make sure they don’t revolve around buying anything. Bake heart-shaped tarts with your sisters and take them to elderly women living alone on Valentine’s Day. Every May 1, go jump in a lake with your friends or each first day of autumn, rake leaves with your boyfriend. Create some meaning in your life and in this world, which is so saturated with artifice and ads. Make your own rituals, and you will live with purpose and give others greater purpose as well.
Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.