Posted by Darren Polito on July 3, 2014

Reading Joyce Rupp's book The Cup of Our Life, I was inspired to create a "receiving ritual" by this suggestion:

"Hold the empty cup in your hands.
Look at all the room the cup has for filling.
Picture the inner part of yourself.
Notice how much room there is for filling.
Hold the cup out before you in the gesture of a beggar.
Ask God to fill you."

I originally asked some of my friends to join me for a monthly ritual salon because I had noticed that many life changes/situations/rites of passage weren't being honored. Many of us are in transition - or will be very soon. And at these times our thoughts run to what we'd like our lives to look like and the things we want to bring into them. We can wish, pray, and vision till we are blue in the face but if we aren't ready, willing, or open to receiving the blessings, we'll never be able to accept or even recognize them when they do come along.

In the invitation to this ritual salon . . .

Posted by Darren Polito on May 8, 2014

The holiday season from November through New Year's is for many people a challenging time, to say the least. So for our December ritual salon I envisioned a simple mindfulness meditation exploring five senses. I wanted to do something that would help us center ourselves and become present as an antidote to the frenzy and scramble of the season.

Everyone was asked to bring a favorite fruit to use in our exploration of each sense for 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute of silence and inactivity.

We began with our usual opening . . .

Posted by Darren C. Polito on March 25, 2014

In my last post, I mentioned my "test tubes of love." Here's how a used spice kit and some leftover, long, colorful strips of paper helped inspire our gratitude ritual.

Last year I decided to celebrate my birthday in June with a big party. It wasn't one of those milestone ages. I just wanted and needed to gather all the people from the different parts of my life and bring them together in my home. Having people in my home is really important to me. It's something I got from my mother, the consummate hostess. Being surrounded by all that love and positivity is what it's all about. When I began imagining what I would do for food and decorations for the party, I looked around my home and realized, "I don't want anyone to bring any gifts. I have too many things already." One of those things is a set of test tubes. Years ago my dear friend Michelle gave me this wonderful set of herbs and spices in a rack of test tubes. She knew I enjoyed cooking and science and this was the perfect blend. I loved this set so much that I kept it well beyond the usefulness of the herbs and spices, and even when it fell off the shelf and a third of the test tubes broke, I could not part with it. The test tubes sat waiting for the right art project to come along.

My birthday became the occasion. . . .

Posted by Darren Polito on March 17, 2014

The first full ritual of our ritual salon focused on gratitude. It was November, the month of Thanksgiving in the United States, so that was an obvious connection. Gratitude seemed like a good beginning since it is something so universal that everyone has experience with it and can relate to it.

I also had these long strips of colored paper left over from my birthday in June (yes I hang onto crafty things). They were used for something I now call my "test tubes of love," which I'll share about in my next post, and I realized they would help me fulfill another goal of our salon. I didn't want it to be an experience people had at my house that ended there. I hoped that if my friends could take something home with them, they would be inspired to engage with that ritual/practice again. Or share it with others.

So as I sat with the strips of paper and thought about gratitude, I noticed a candle nearby and had this image of a hug. What if we could wrap ourselves, or something, in gratitude? What could serve as a simple visual reminder of gratitude? And with a little experimenting I came up with the ritual below.

With everyone seated in a circle . . .

Posted by Darren Polito on February 18, 2014

After I decided that I would like to host a monthly ritual salon at my apartment, I sent out emails to friends I thought might be interested. Some of them were already part of a movie group; others were new; they didn't all know each other. It was November, 2013, the month for Thanksgiving here in the United States. So I created a simple gratitude ritual. But how to start?

Barbara Biziou talks of the importance . . .

Posted by Darren Polito on February 18, 2014

Ritual. When you read or hear that word, what does it conjure up for you? For me the word recalls Sundays in the Catholic church of my adolescence with candles and incense and Latin. But not just the rituals of that formal setting. I also think of all the informal rituals I've been performing all my life: dancing alone in my room as a teenager as a literal escape from bullying, the morning practices of my adult years (journaling, prayer beads, yoga), my sometimes over-the-top holiday decorating, the little daily rituals I share with my cats.

Rituals are everywhere. They are most often associated with religions as every tradition and path has oodles of them. Congregational worship services are punctuated by well-defined rituals. So are the customs and traditions of indigenous peoples: ceremonial dressing, dancing around a fire, smoking a peace pipe. Broaden your perspective a bit, and you'll see that other areas of community life are filled with ritual activities: the opening coin toss of a sporting event, the ringing of the opening and closing bell at the Stock Exchange. In our homes, we may have morning rituals around getting up and bedtime stories for children.

Ritual plays many roles . . .


About This Blog

Rituals are everywhere. They are most often associated with religions as every tradition and path has oodles of them. Broaden your perspective a bit, and you'll see that other areas of our community and personal lives are filled with ritual activities. Darren Polito has been exposed to rituals all his life but found himself yearning for more to mark life changes/situations/rites of passages. So he started a monthly Ritual Salon with a group of friends. More

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