There are things that I do, rituals, that make me feel wonderful and break my heart, but they allow me to live my life to the fullest. I am talking about doing things that make my soul sing. I don’t have many rituals, but the ones I do are special to me.
When it’s cold and rainy or snowy outside, I like to be bundled up (after my walk out in the cold, unless it’s a complete blizzard). I put on the softest of sweats or loungewear, something warm and fuzzy; then prepare myself a nice, hot cup of tea (preferably Earl Gray) sweetened with agave. With my hot tea, I have a plate of either goldfish crackers or something else that is salty and crunchy. Finally, one of two things complete the ritual. I either relax with a good book, or watch Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. A blanket wrapped around me is a plus, but not necessary. An animal snuggling next to me is non-negotiable. Years ago, this used to be my cat, Inish, and is now usually my big black dog, Bella.
When I’m working on my fiction writing, I like to have another little ceremony. I light a small candle, something scented with flowers like lilac or rose, and I say a prayer from Mishkan T’Filah, our prayer book: “Author of language and light, help us to use words as You have, to cast light into dark waters and draw out justice and truth.” I am fully aware how hypocritical I am being, me a complete atheist and praying, but I pray a lot to a god I don’t believe in, when seeking help or guidance, because I don’t know how else to open my soul up to receive anything and everything from the universe.
Another life ritual I do, is from time to time I go to the cemetery and visit my grandparents’ graves and my stillborn daughter Ruthie’s grave. Jews often put a pebble or a rock on top of a gravestone whenever they visit the grave of a loved one. Whenever I visit our Museum of Nature and Science, I sometimes stop in the gift shop to load up a small bag with pretty rocks. This way, when I visit my family’s graves, I put something colorful — blue swirled, speckled pink, deep green, or translucent yellow on my grandparents’ gravestones. For Ruthie, I don’t put it on top her small grave marker, because the top is at an angle. I put it on the strip right in front of the headstone. I wouldn’t say that the visit brings me closure about the loss of a daughter, because there is still such a lack of her, even after almost two decades. But the ritual calms my heart, and makes the ache I feel more tolerable, not a clawing thing within my chest.
These are some of the things I do as rituals. What are some of the rituals you, my fellow writers, have? Please share and tag me, or just put it in the comments — I’d love to hear from you.