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Friday, August 19, 2011

Rituals, or routines?


Honour and respect exists in the process of a ritual. As I even think of 'ritual' my heart is filled with reverence, and a glow of delight and awe.


Well, I'm not a great advocate of routines. I find them hard to implement, and deadly to follow. Though of course my life is full of them. Mornings are especially full of  routines, blindly adhered to for the safety and security they offer at a time of weakness. My weakness. So, for as much as I abhor the notion of routine, I acknowledge the role they have in stability and predictability.

But really. Just what is the big difference between ritual and routine?

Until tonight, I've always seen them as diametrically opposed. 

Friday nights are a time of ritual and pleasure for me. It's very simple. I don't think of meals. It's scripted you see, by me at some point, and now it's a ritual. A practice that brings me pleasure. I've even imagined that it was a shared ritual for our family, and that we all felt reassured and comforted by our ritual meal.


Nothing complicated. Just a slightly naughty un-meal that seemed at some point to tick many of my boxes, and gave me the idea that a fun ritual had been established.

Until tonight. Tonight, my myth of shared familial pleasure was shattered.

Nine happened to comment, in a slightly despairing but resigned way, as one might when confronted with an impossibly paralysing routine, that she really wasn't that keen on pies. Four joined in with a similar sigh, and wondered if there were small pies. Big ones just don't work for her. But, when the big one appeared again, she didn't comment anymore. It's a routine. Clearly even to Four, there's no point in resisting a routine.

Therein was the shatter.

Ritual for me. Routine for them.

So. Not diametrically opposed. Actually all in the mind of the believer.

I'm still dealing with my shattered myth. Not the menu I might add. Sad though I am we're on different pages, you can bet next Friday will see me dishing up the same un-meal again. But it won't be seasoned by my projections of pleasure. A bit more reality will season it instead.

Do you have rituals in your family? Do you thrive on routines? Can routines be rituals and bring pleasure, just as my ritual is actually my children's now dull routine? Are all rituals in danger of becoming routine?

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