Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rituals for the Non-Religious

paper butterflies
For Spiritual Journey Thursday we are gathering at Violet Nesdoly's blog to talk about how we celebrate special days.

I really love this topic because it has been an important consideration during our long years of parenting without being church-goers.

A regular religious practice has so much built-in ritual (as I recall from my Episcopal upbringing), so when a family chooses not to participate in a church community, the responsibility for creating ritual falls to the parents.

Christmas tree quilt
It was so important to me to provide rituals for our children! These included daily rituals like reading together and family dinner, and holiday rituals like fishing on Easter and going to the Christmas tree farm to cut a tree and waking the birthday boy on his birthday by singing the birthday song and holding a lit candle stuck in his favorite breakfast snack. My heart always swells when any of our boys recall with fondness any of these special things.

These days, as the empty nest looms, Paul and I are more focused on  the rituals that are just ours. We've had a weekly date night for the past 28 years. These days we eat lunch together almost every day. We walk our country road. We have a Saturday lunch spot and a Sunday afternoon nap-date. These feed me, and our relationship.

sky/trees reflected in the lake
And of course I have my personal daily rituals as well -- I have reading/devotionals each morning. Meditation. I drink my veggie juice. A couple of hours writing. Cello. Cooking. Reading. All of these are essential parts of my spiritual life. These things help me feel connected to the world,  and to a higher power. They help keep me actively present in my life, moment by moment, living my poem.


  1. This is beautiful, Irene. Yes, when one chooses to step a bit out of the norm it takes intention and resolve to keep the essence of what's important. It sounds like you have done that so well with your boys. I love your birthday traditions and the way you and your husband keep your relationship at the forefront--making each day special. You have a wonderful capacity to be present in the moment--one of the things that makes you a wonderful poet and your life a poem!

  2. I feel more at peace just reading your post, Irene. I admire your commitment to each of the rituals you make a priority in your life and your relationships. I recall that we discovered we are both getting closer to being empty nesters now at the same time.... it is clear to me that it is time to begin planning new rituals for just my husband and me!

  3. Irene, it is so comforting hearing you write about your rituals that have grounded your life and your family life. The lake house sounds like the perfect place to find peace and stillness to grow more traditions and live your life as a beautiful poem. The photo you included takes me lakeside watching the reflections shimmer.

  4. I felt such peace and contentment in this peek into your life, Irene. This line speaks to me: "These feed me, and our relationship." I too felt it was important to provide rituals to our children and it is so rewarding to watch them now providing rituals -- some the same, some their own-- to their children.

  5. Personal daily rituals (with you every day and every ritual is special). "They help keep me actively present in my life, moment by moment, living my poem." Thanks for providing this glimpse into your spiritual life.


Your thoughts?