Ritual is an important part of our lives. Although we tend to think of ritual as religious in nature, we all may engage in regular rituals in our homes and families. As a therapist, I often suggest ritual as an aid to healing. Ritual can be simple or complex, shared or private, daily or yearly.
When I think of some of the ritual in my life, I find that it often involves my family. When my children were little, we had bedtime rituals that involved singing what they referred to as the “goodnight song.” It had meaning for all of us, and the “goodnight song” may bring me to tears today, though the boys have not been babies for a long time. We have ritual surrounding our holidays whose import even I did not recognize until my son wrote a college essay about it.

Ritual may indeed involve religion or spirituality. For years, I have engaged in what I call my “old lady time.” I developed this time when the boys were little out of a need to have some time to settle myself, set my intentions, and bring a positive tone to the day. I still awaken early, make coffee, read something inspiring or maybe challenging, and get on the yoga mat. It is a quiet ritual that is solely for me, yet my hope is that an energy I derive from my practice moves out into my world and is shared with my loved ones.

Think about ritual that may already be a part of your life or the life of of your family. Consider how it enhances your life or heals you, and cherish it. Take a moment or two to exhale.



By |2017-05-19T00:20:52+00:00April 17th, 2016|self-care|0 Comments

About the Author:

Vanessa Whalen is a psychotherapist in private practice with over 20 years of experience. She sees children as well as adults in her practice, doing play therapy with children as young as three. Vanessa draws on numerous theoretical frameworks in her practice and has assisted clients in dealing with a variety of issues. Vanessa has degrees in psychology and social work and is a member of the Association for Play Therapy. In addition to her practice, Vanessa is co-founder of Snappy Kids LLC. Snappy Kids makes therapeutic mobile apps for children to help them learn about and manage feelings. She serves on the board of the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and is a member of the League of Women Voters. She is a musician as well and enjoys playing whenever her schedule permits. Vanessa enjoys music, gardening,cooking, good books, good movies, and the New York Times Sunday crossword. She is an ardent yogi and student of Eastern thought. She and John have two teenage sons, one of whom attends college in Chicago. Vanessa and John have been married since May 2015, and Filimin is a project they share. When they are not working, they enjoy riding the tandem bike, travel, family time, and college basketball. Through her posts in Reflections, Vanessa hopes to share some of the knowledge and insight she has gained over the years, and to maybe start a conversation or two.

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