“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
The day after the day that I walk out the front door and the air is crisp, with just a hint of the Autumn days ahead, I put cinnamon in my coffee. Not much. Just 1/4 of a teaspoon in the with the ground beans. It’s recognition that a new season has arrived.
I live in Georgia, and the first cool, crisp morning in September is no guarantee that cool, crisp mornings are in full swing. But cinnamon in my coffee is the little bit ceremony that I need to step into this, my favorite season of them all.
We’ve also put a date on the calendar to go to the pumpkin farm with long time family friends. A trek that we’ve been making for at least 15 years and has officially become an Autumn ritual. We take thermoses full of tea and enjoy our own special blend of cuppas, hiking, picnic lunches and hay rides. We choose pumpkins at the farm and stuff our faces with Pumpkin rolls, popcorn and apple cider.
Somewhere along the way, the sequence and content of the day became very much the same as last year’s day. And that brings a certain sort of comfort. A ritual in our yearly cycle that not only signals a favorite season, but reminds us that we have friendships that are treasures. These friendships have both history and future, and we have found it important to pause and choose each other. We created our own ritual, as my pastor friend says, in order to “remember not to forget.”
I am also lighting candles. Candles are a daily ritual, part of the way that I pray and greet the day. Today I switched to candles that fill the house with the scents of pumpkin pie and Apple Cinnamon.
And of course, I am making pages daily. Collecting stories and tending to heart and soul – mine and those in my keeping. I hope that you are enjoying whatever season you’re in. That you’re immersed fully and that you are engaging in, and if necessary, creating ritual in both the large and small cycles of life.
Be in your life,
p.s. If you’d like to learn more about journal keeping, join me in the studio for