“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.
Enjoy the full seven-day Tending the Rituals of Our Lives practice.
Please log in or Create a Profile to post a comment.
I began a new gratitude journal to begin my daily practice. It’s lovely and makes me happy before I even begin writing…
As I reflected on creating a space for our ritual making, I put a rock that I found on a beach when on retreat in Santa Cruz many years ago on my altar space. It’s a beautiful visual reminder.
Just returned from 6 pm Mass and the beauty and blessing of a purposed sacred space to the sanctuary of home. Looking forward to this special week.
Thank you for the phrase “the sanctuary of home.” It has prompted me to ask whether my home could be more of a sanctuary for me.
As I considered my space, I remembered that I had a prayer shawl, crocheted for me several years ago by women in a church I served. I dug it out and am now wrapped in it, remembering their love as a warm hug.
Thank you, Kristi and thank you to all those who have commented. Very calming…and a lovely thought to realise that we are breathing with all that lives. May we be a place of calm as we move through the week together.
I appreciate setting the stage and went about putting on a rich patterned shawl that’s been folded away for years. I wrote down how grateful I was to see a Barred Owl sitting in a tree then later a plump bluebird stopped at my feeder, here in the dead of winter with more snow expected. This started with being present for the breath. So calming.
What a gift – this simple breath practice brings bushels of gratitude in its wake. Thank you!
So simple – yet so meaningful. Thank You – looking forward to celebrating ritual with all of you this week.
Grateful for this opportunity to share in this simple practice with my dear friend and everyone participating this week.
Thank you for this beautiful and simple practice of setting the stage for our week together, which surely will ripple out into our lives as we move forward. Today (and every day!) I am so grateful to celebrate love in all of its many forms.
Today on this Valentine’s Day 2021, I am grateful for my husband of 42 years and his unconditional love. I too am thankful and grateful for the sunshine that appeared duirng this my first morning ritual. Reminding me to be happy and hopeful during this bleak winter season.