Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Coming Back to Ritual

Riverside Sunday Morning #2 11/7/10
Riverside Park
If you've been anywhere near a Starbucks lately1 you may have noticed their new slogan: "Take Comfort in Rituals."  It's really quite the perfect marketing strategy for them, but that's not my point here.

My point is: I do.  Take comfort in rituals, that is.

And taking comfort in rituals (of my own design, not Starbucks') was exactly what I was looking forward to this past weekend.  After spending a few weekends out of town, and a few weekends before that sick-o in my bed-o, I was eagerly anticipating a return to normalcy.

There are two weekend rituals I was especially looking forward to, and they did not disappoint:

a) Saturday "office hours" at my neighborhood coffee place.  I camp out here with my journal, books, laptop and (of course) a big cup of coffee.  And while Marcus the Barista cracks jokes with other customers, and Broadway rushes by outside the window, I take care of business.

After spending ~50hrs each week working for The Man, this is my time to work for me: to catch up on reading, writing, and all those personal to-do's that don't get the proper time or attention during my weekday grind.  I always leave my "office hours" feeling calmer, more productive, and (of course) caffeinated.

b) Sunday pre-church morning walk through Riverside Park.  I love checking in with my neighborhood this way.  It makes me feel connected to, and grounded in, where I live.  Plus, I know all the key spots for dog-watching!! Like that bend in the path just north of 100th street where owners congregate and let their dogs off the leash for a happy free-for-all.  Watching dogs frolic  = better than therapy, no?  Totally happy-making.

So these are the weekend rituals I've been taking comfort in lately.  I guess too many rituals - or too many empty rituals - in one's life could be a cumbersome weight, a clog in the calendar, a distraction.

But I'm trying to find the right balance of rituals and routines to help order my days and create space for reflection.  The right combo to keep me present and grounded, and to keep that weekend from slipping by so fast.

Do you take comfort in rituals? (Starbucks or otherwise?)

1 Which is essentially asking if you've been alive lately, because it's hard to be alive and not be near a Starbucks.  They were even in Vienna & Budapest, queen cities of civilized coffee cultureI do not remember seeing a Starbucks in Krakow, however, although I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they invade Poland. Because sooner or later - everyone invades Poland.

1 comment:

stephen said...

I do. There's a certain familiarity that comes with rituals. And I believe that rituals identify with what we hold dear.

I've noticed that you are very observant of people. So a pre-church walk through the park should come as no suprise.