Tag Archives: #writing

origami shapes of an elephant, rocking horse and a dress next to a box with Japanese writing

Creating rituals when all seems to unravel

A friend and I talked about folding a daily origami heart to mark the transition between a long day in the home office and being ourselves again.

Rituals have become important. Ways to draw invisible lines that can guide us, not just between our life on Zoom and ‘the other life’, but also through a time that has been challenging to say the least. We are still in the midst of it, but as vaccination programs roll out in many countries, people reflect and begin cautiously to imagine what life after COVID-19 might look like.

Conversations everywhere talk not only about loss but also about what we have gained. Many share that they have gained new rituals which have brought them closer. Closer to their family, to their friends, to their colleagues – even when physically distanced.

Especially in the Western cultures, rituals have been eroded over time. They got lost under layers of productivity and commerce. They fell by the wayside as we sped through life. And the rituals or traditions that still matter to us have been curtailed or made impossible. Reduced or no family meetings over Christmas, no end of year celebrations, no Valentine’s Day dinner… There is sadness, frustration, sometimes anger over all that we can’t do. And quite frankly, we are also bone-tired. We need to make space for this sadness, as bottling up emotions can at best be a temporary fix.


Beyond the sadness there is a place for personal and modern ritual.

It doesn’t have to feel new-agey or esoteric. Understanding the ingredients of ritual, we can all create our own rituals and bring the experience of safety and meaning to our lives. Since rituals energize us and focus our attention, they can be great way to support us in crafting a meaningful and intentional life.

Here are some ingredients of ritual that can transform ordinary actions into symbolic expression and help you create your ‘DIY ritual’:

  • Space and setting
  • An opening element to mark the beginning of your ritual, this might include sensory elements like light (lighting a candle or watching the sunrise), sounds (your own music or a song/ piece of music you listen to, or nature’s sounds), fragrances, the aroma and taste of certain foods…
  • The intention and meaning you want to mark with this ritual
  • Finding ways to ensure you are present
  • Elements of reflection or contemplation
  • Gratitude or a closing element  

Do you wonder which ‘lockdown rituals’ should be carried into the next chapter of life? Start by reflecting on your needs and what feels meaningful. Notice meaningful moments throughout the day and write them down. See what patterns emerge.

A stack of journals

If you are experiencing significant transitions this year, or in this moment, here’s a simple ritual that can be used during transition.

It’s a writing practice that helps you connect with the meaning of letting go and beginning something new. You can find it in the post “Transformation and unlearning”.

Find out more about my work at Sensemaking Space