Today's daily soul retreat was an inspiring one, so I wanted to pass it on. It is something that our family has thought about over the past several years, especially around Christmas time. Many years ago I might have felt obligated to send gift to everyone in the family at Christmas. But over the years, and maybe this is laziness or selfishness...but, I have (and we as a family) decided to send gifts to those that I WANT to send gifts to. People I want to celebrate, people I want to know they are loved and appreciated. I often make gifts, and really think about what that person would enjoy, what would fit their personality, and while working on a particular gift often remember things we have done together, all the many qualities I admire about the person, ways they have enriched my life. It has become, for me, a process of embracing the people in my life, people I enjoy having in my life. So the obligation to include everyone I know, has disappeared. And I feel absolutely no guilt about that.
I think that is one quality I want to pass along to my sons. To do things for people because you love them, enjoy their company, have a real connection with the person, not out of some sense of obligation because they are family, or because it is your mother's friend's child etc. But honor the relationships you treasure.
We have also started our own family traditions, like our new moon and full moon circles. And the prayer sticks we make on the winter solstice. Things we love and enjoy doing together, no sense of passing on old family traditions unless we truly LOVE them. As my boys get older I find they need me less and less, so we create these times to reconnect. It is important for all of us.
Anyway, back to today's Daily Soul Retreat.
Here is a portion of the article:
"Many people would say, in fact, that we have far too much ritual in our lives. Isn't life busy enough without having more plans to make; more occasions to celebrate? The idea of ritual might seem outmoded, even unnecessary, but many psychotherapists insist that, in order to lead balanced, healthy lives, we need much more ritual, not less....
I’m not talking about dispatching a bunch of flowers for Mother's Day, a card for Father's Day, or snatching a last-minute box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. For rituals to be healing and life-enhancing they have to be more than duty - they have to have meaning. We don't need more commercial trappings; we don't need bigger and better Christmases: we simply need more personalised ones. Do you find yourself following exactly the same pattern every year at, say, Christmas? Do you look forward to it or does its approach fill you with a sense of burden? Are your rituals too rigid? Have they stayed the same over the years despite obvious changes in the family's ages or beliefs? If a ritual doesn't work for you, you need to change it. Rituals should grow and evolve all the time...
THINK ABOUT RITUAL Take some time to sit down and think about the rituals you follow and whether they are living, vibrant and worthwhile – or redundant and boring.
What rituals does your family have and what beliefs do they express? Do they represent what you truly believe or do you simply go through the motions to please other people?
Are important yearly events like birthdays and wedding anniversaries marked or do they simply slide by with little notice? How about key events like retirement or graduation?
When you think back to childhood, what rituals do you remember and how do you remember them? With fondness or a shudder? Are there rituals which you still follow simply because they’ve become habit? Are there others you would like to reinstate?
What feelings come up when you think about ritual? Would you find the idea of them embarrassing? Or irritating? If so, think why that might be.
Do you have any daily or weekly family rituals? If not, what might they be? Perhaps a shared meal or a family outing, or a time set aside to discuss how you all feel on a regular basis?..."
Of course there is more so take the time to go read the whole thing.