Because I don’t go to church or participate in any organized spiritual or fraternal groups, I didn’t think that I performed or was attached to any rituals. Recently, though, I spent a little time lately examining my activities and intentions. Quotidian rituals include making the bed every day, compulsively checking that the garage door is closed (three times check and say, “door’s closed”), brushing and flossing my teeth, and applying eye cream at night. There are certainly activities I wish were daily-without fail and more intentional: walking, meditation, performing acts of charity or kindness, and
(the circumlogical) daily intention.

Examining my activities for rituals showed me less about the ritual and more about my self than I would admit before now. The compulsive activities MUST be done. I experimented a few times — try to leave the bed unmade. One time I got as far as sitting in the car before I went back into the house and made the bed. I’ve driven back from the end of the block if I can’t remember ritually closing the garage door. Deliberately refusing these rituals left me feeling vulnerable and exposed; incomplete and unable to free my attention. Perhaps that’s the real value of ritual. it allows you to bundle your angst or anxieties into a tightly controlled activity — it’s an agreement you make with your psyche for a mechanism to facilitate compartmentalization.

Emma helping me write

Emma helping me write

I don’t have any rituals for writing. I have some preferences, though. I’ve learned i write better after meditation. I write better by following a thread of thought intuitively. The times I’ve set out with a specific subject or occasion, I’ve struggled greatly. I enjoy Celtic music while writing. Most of the time I write directly on the laptop, though without specific location, but there are times I work from notes I’d written on paper. Sometimes Emma helps, but usually she just purrs moral support.

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