Monday, July 9, 2012

Small Rituals


There are moments in all our lives when we need encouragement, hope and insight.  Sometimes, it's difficult to find any of these elements in the blaze of life's challenges.  Some people are naturally steadfast and seem to cope with everything thrown at them.  Then there are people like me, who although on the outside, appear to cope and be in control, at least sometimes, on this inside we're usually a swirl of emotion, confusion, and often tears.

Perhaps it is in the wake of a major life change that we subconsciously give ourselves permission to let our guard down?  Or perhaps it is simply that our cup is full and we are unable to process any more?  I don't know, but it's the little things sneak up, and before you know crumble.

I have this friend Amy. She is a beautiful, generous, caring, loving friend who never stops giving to those around her.  Everything about her epitomizes beauty. She, like me, appreciates the art of tea and we've spent many wonderful afternoons, sipping English Breakfast Tea out of my little floral tea cups given to me by my Great Grandmother.  The tea, meticulously brewed in an elegant tea pot that only ever comes out when Amy comes over, is always steeped, and the table is always set with my very best china.  Amy and I have been sharing this experience with our daughters, and I love it.  It is our small ritual, and it is a gift.

For so long, it was Amy who has been the source of strength and understanding as I have navigated my way through my own very dark challenges.  She always finds a way to introduce celebration into the mundane and ordinary.  It is she who helped me understand the importance of small rituals and humble gratitude.  Amy is one of those people who makes the world a better place, and me a better person, just by knowing her.

Last week, Amy found out her mom has cancer.  Amy is strong, her mum is strong, in fact her family is strong. Advances in treatment mean that life can go on, gloriously, and blissfully normally, for a very long time.  But still is seems that in the wake of confirmation of this terrible disease, all our lives come to a confronting point of reflection. My heart and love go out to Amy's mom.

All I can do for now is wrap Amy, her Mom, and her entire family in love, hope and friendship. I want to thank them for encouraging me to look at my own world with fresh eyes of appreciation. I want to instill this love of simple beauty and celebration into my own children. And in honor of Amy's mom, I want to encourage everyone to embrace small rituals.

Small rituals invite us to notice what we might otherwise rush past.  They remind us to open our lives to simple pleasures, and learn to fully appreciate all that we have, and all that we are able to share.  Small rituals don't have to be planned or elaborate. they just have to be regular.  Like giving thanks before you eat, or eating by candlelight.  Celebrating birthdays with an invitation to share photos, memories, or stories. Mark the end of each day with quiet reflection and journal writing. Or, simply greet each season with a shared walk in nature.  Small rituals help us slow down, so we can see what we have.

I painted this daisy for Amy's mom. It's always been a flower of happiness for me.  Filled with simplicity, youthfulness, and elegance.  It is my daughters favorite flower, and I hope it will be a simple reminder of the beauty that she is, and has given to the world through Amy and her family.  It is done in Twinkling H2O's and Ink.

Do you have any small rituals?  How do you keep the thread of gratitude running through your life? I would love to hear about them.

Thanks for checking in. xx