“Rituals make us mindful. Every ritual … has something to do with gratefulness.”
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
So much of ritual depends on intention and preparation. Across cultures and time, we have set the stage for rituals by preparing food and song, decorating our homes or places of worship, donning certain clothes, and committing to stepping away from our daily chores. In so doing, the preparation and its accompanying anticipation actually become an essential part of the ritual.
On this first day of the practice we invite you to set the stage for your exploration of ritual and to try a simple gratefulness practice that is, itself, a ritual way to begin each day of our week together. This will be the first step in the arc of a week that begins in reflection and culminates in the creation of something new.
- Set the Stage. We often recognize a ritual by its outward symbols — its music, candles, readings, clothing, or even time of day. What artifacts might you gather for this week’s focus on ritual? A beautiful piece of fabric, a journal, a rock or shell you treasure? What other markers would help create the container for your practice? Take time on this first day to consider how you can create a certain kind of space for yourself in order to support your exploration of ritual, even if you’ll be squeezing the practice in around the edges of your busy life.
- Begin with Gratitude. We invite you to start with a simple centering ritual for our week together. The purpose is two-fold: We hope this will serve as an entry point to each day’s invitation while also deepening your gratefulness practice by making it a daily ritual. For some, this may simply complement your existing robust practice; for others it may plant the seed for a new ritual in your day. You might consider inviting a family member or friend to join you, as ritual is so often deepened in community. In whatever way is comfortable for you, begin by closing your eyes for several deep breaths and allowing yourself to get present in this moment. As you feel your breath, your heartbeat, allow yourself to complete the phrase “In this moment, I’m grateful…” You can do this silently, speak the words aloud, or use the phrase as a writing prompt. It can be one sentence or many, big-picture or specific, for or about something. Find your way into this small ritual and make it your own so that it offers a meaningful container for how you begin the practice each of our seven days.
Cherishing the Breath: A Guided Practice with Kristi Nelson
We invite you to share your reflections below.