Rituals can provide a bolstering sense of comfort. They hold the ability to soothe and reassure. Rituals lead our feet when we are tired with the weight of the world.
But when our rituals are not intentional or chosen, when they are awkwardly placed upon us or mindlessly repeated without awareness, they become their own wearisome weight.
The beauty of being an adult is that we can create and shape our own lives. We can keep that which serves us and lay down that which no longer does.
A life of ritual is an art. It involves considered curation and brave elimination.
The festive season holds plenty of opportunities for traditions and rituals that bring joy. Opportunities to connect and celebrate with others, to revisit acts that make you smile year after year. Rituals that symbolise the significance of the season for you.
Since ancient times, collective feasts and celebrations throughout the rhythm of the year have defined and highlighted many cultures and communities. These celebrations provide times to look forward to and enjoy.
But as we all know, this time of year can also be one of stress, overwhelm and even heartbreak.
Experiences and realities like grief, trauma and loss can make this a challenging time of year. In those situations, boundaries, self-care and connection with safe people are incredibly important and necessary pillars of support. This is true all year round, but even more so during this season.
But if it is stress and overwhelm that are causing the lustre of the festive season to fade, it may be time to examine your rituals and traditions. Getting caught up in the pressure that can be placed upon us by marketing, buying into the modern materialism of the season or trying to live up to other people's expectations can wear us down and lead to a sense of overwhelm.
What would happen if you took some time at the start of the season to be intentional about the festive period? What if you decided to focus purely on the rituals that bring you joy and have meaning for you? Things that foster a sense of love and connection. What if you were bold enough to say no to that which you don't value? To that which causes stress and overwhelm.
What would you keep? What would you lay down? What boundaries would you put in place? What would you say yes to? What simple pleasures would you focus on?
As the year draws to a close, may we connect with good people, find the joy that only comes from giving, be brave enough to create lives we love and head into the new year with intention.