This is What Rituals are For

This is What Rituals are For

This is What Rituals are For


“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


Each morning I wake, say a silent prayer of gratitude and head to the kitchen to boil water for tea. This ritual takes about 30 minutes to prepare and if I’m lucky, sometimes longer. I often make a tea of spices – fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg… and a matcha latte to satisfy the craving to imbibe something rich and creamy.

Like anyone, I have mornings when I open my eyes and want to run out of bed excited for a new day. There are also mornings when the thought of lifting the plush, delicious covers from my body gives me an instant headache. No matter how I feel, when my feet hit the floor and I walk towards the kitchen to start the flame, I am filled with the sweet sensation of delight. The next 30 minutes are all mine to do absolutely nothing but prepare tea. This is my ritual, my place to enter a new day with a clear, peaceful mind.

As I prepare the tea, I stop mindfully to breathe in the warming scents of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I roll the nutmeg seed in my hand, feeling it’s beauty and softness. I gently whisk the matcha, lowering my head over the large bowl to allow the sweet grassy aroma to enter my nose through the hot steam. I pour the frothed almond milk over the matcha and marvel at it’s gorgeous green color. Pure divinity.

Once the teas are ready I sit at the table and look outside to the weepy willows, playful sparrows and lush grasses. I take some time to run through the things I am most grateful for in the moment. Then I read. I read quotes, books, blogs, inspiring posts, but only words that will bring positivity, love and peace to my day. My mind is still fragile – sleepy like the setting moon,  yet waking with the soft sun. Next I send a few notes to loved ones letting them know that they are appreciated. Sometimes I share a beautiful article I’ve just read, other times I simply say that I am thinking of them and wishing them peace.

Most days I find a way to make this ritual happen. It is one of the most important parts of my life because it gives me a moment to reconnect with the spinning world with ease after a long night of dreaming in an unconscious realm. I can approach the day as a completely new, unspoiled moment.  I have cleared yesterday’s path and made space for new, wonderful possibilities. The moment is mine and I am grateful for the simple ritual of enjoying a cup of tea.

Photo: Anthony Russo

seven mile miracle oahu
The Culture-ist