What did rituals ever do for me?


One of my sons sent me a photo of inside his home in London decorated for Halloween. My first thought was to smile (he is 34 years old!). But then I saw things differently – a ‘break free and do something normal’ sign in the world we find ourselves living in at present. My mind wondered on to thinking about rituals and their importance in our lives.

We have social, personal, religious, spiritual and family rituals all around us if we don’t lose sight of them. They help us feel connected, provide a sense of structure in our lives and in society and they are there to mark transitions through phases in life. They provide our children with memories.

In today’s terms, if people are feeling disconnected, disorientated or anxious, rituals can be used as a benchmark of stability, a grounding process in the midst of uncertainty or chaos.

Whilst some rituals such as weddings, sadly funerals, student graduation ceremonies, Friday night drink in your local or Saturday outings with friends have been changed and are somewhat outside our control, we can still bring control into our lives by honouring or creating our own.

Rituals can be organised daily (timeout for yourself or transition between work and home roles), weekly (connecting with friends) or whatever way and however often makes sense to you. Rituals can be big, small, involve others, or be just for yourself. They can cut across family, work, groups, communities, organisations, they all have the same impact of allowing us to feel connected, contribute to our wellbeing, get grounded and ultimately help build our resilience in a changing world.