Ceremony—religious or secular, big or small—keeps us connected with the people and things that matter most and is a way of giving thanks 365 day s a year.

 

The power of RITUAL is profound and underappreciated. Mostly, I think, it’s because we live in a time-starved culture, and ritual is time-indulgent. Who can afford the luxury of doing one thing at a time? Who has the patience to pause and honor an activity before and after we do it? ritual doesn’t have to be religious; it’s just a tool religions use. Rituals are about paying attention. They’re about stopping for a moment and noticing what you’re about to do, what you’ve just done, or both. They’re about making the most of a particular moment. And that’s something we could use a lot more of.

—Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

Any RITUAL is an opportunity for transformation. —Starhawk

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, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Beer has long been the prime lubricant in our social intercourse and the sacred throat-anointing fluid that accompanies the RITUAL of mateship. To sink a few cold ones with the blokes is both an escape and a confirmation of belonging.

—Rennie Ellis

Making resolutions is a cleansing RITUAL of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.

—Eric Zorn

I loved the atmosphere of the dance studios—the wooden floors, the big mirrors, everyone dressed in pink or black tights, the musicians accompanying us—and the feeling of RITUAL the classes had.

—Suzanne Vega