Rituals are so powerful because they provide structure for the full spectrum of our emotional lives: the births and the deaths, the union and the disintegration. Without them, we live a few octaves short.” ~ Courtney Martin

rows of empty red theater seats

Photo by Martin de Arriba

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has disrupted many of our customary rituals. We’ve been unable to crowd around dinner tables; sing together at concerts or places of worship; squeeze into a packed hall to celebrate a graduation, dance at a wedding, or honor the end of someone’s life. Because these communal rituals provide so much of the architecture of our lives, their absence can be felt as deep grief — a profound longing for those things that give our lives rich meaning and connection. At this midpoint in the week’s practice, we wanted to allow space to name and grieve what we’ve lost this year through the diminishment of our beloved rituals. And through that naming, there’s an opening to remind ourselves what we most cherish and value in our lives.

  • Begin with Gratitude. Begin with what is now, we hope, your opening ritual of centering on the breath and completing the phrase: “In this moment, I’m grateful…”
  • Name and Commemorate. We invite you to bring to mind one of the rituals whose absence you’ve grieved during this year of social isolation. There may be many, but try settling on one for today’s practice. Bring to mind the specific things about this ritual that you’ve deeply missed. Was it the sense of belonging? The music or dancing? The remembering together? The touch or embodied gestures? Take time to go deep and name the details — the colors, textures, sounds — of this ritual you’ve missed. Consider commemorating these losses: perhaps with a eulogy, a letter, a candle, an altar, a piece of music, or a good cry.
  • Reflect. As you allow yourself to name and grieve this loss, how does it also make clear what you cherish and value? When you embrace the poignancy of holding both what you’ve lost and what you love, what arises in you? How does this awaken you to what truly matters?

Deepening Resource:

A Meditation on Grief  with Jack Kornfield

We invite you to share your reflections below.

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Enjoy the full seven-day Tending the Rituals of Our Lives practice.