the comfort and power of rituals

“rituals are part of every culture.  they are the events that bind a culture together, that create a heart, a center, for a people.  it is ritual that evokes the Deep Self of a group.  in ritual (a patterned movement of energy to accomplish a purpose) we become familiar with power-from-within, learn to recognize its feel, learn how to call it up and let it go….rituals create a strong group bond.  they help build community, creating a meeting-ground where people can share deep feelings, positive and negative – a place where they can sing, or scream, howl, play or keep a solemn silence.”   starhawk

as the idea of familyoga moved from a concept to a plan to a reality, it had a structure to it that i believed would be simple and effective.  what i did not anticipate, was that every good idea, as it is made manifest, has a “life” of its own.  it must not be expressed as only a rigid or fixed idea.  it is imperative to breathe the idea into being….over and over and over again – to let it flow – to stay open to possibilities or different incarnations, evolutions and expressions of the idea and how it fits (or doesn’t) into our lives.  i believe this to be vitally important to the sustainability of the plan.

so, what i initially had thought of as the familyoga routine has revealed itself to be: familyoga as ritual.

funny, i did not see that coming.  a routine, really, lisa – how Boring!  routine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program; a set of customary, often mechanically performed procedures.  compare that definition to starhawk’s explanation of ritual in the first paragraph.  suddenly – aha!  illumination.

we are creating rituals.

i believe that rituals are one of the most important aspects of our culture, our humanity.  the meaning and depth of rituals link us to our ancestors and each other.  rituals infuse our lives with meaning.  they offer us a place, a space to become familiar with power as a tool for processing and healing – a way to take a practice that is routine….and make it extraordinary.

anodea judith states: “the universe exists only through a constant dance of consistency and change.  through consistency, consciousness finds meaning; through change, it finds stimulation and expansion.  to find consistency within change is to embrace the unfolding flow.”

yes.  this is our dance. our familyoga practice is consistent and we extract meaning and relevance from that consistency.  our familyoga practices changes.  each evening may be a little different from the evening before.  as the practice takes on different hues and expressions, we connect to the unfolding flow…. we gather – as a family – a yogi and yoginis.  some evenings we bend and stretch.  we may scowl or we may smile.  some evenings we sit in a circle.  we each hold an unlit candle.  then, we light one candle and pass the flame around the circle until each one of us holds light in our hands.  we may talk or we may be silent.  we may be serious or we may be silly.

at the end of each evening practice, we bring our palms together, bow our heads….yet instead of saying “namaste,” our children have delighted in palms together, bowed heads….then they say “mother’s day” and erupt into giggles.  we all laugh.  humor – helps us keep it all in perspective.

“the ritual, the magic, spins the bonds that can sustain us….we can plant seeds in our circles; we can dream its shape in our visions, and our rituals can feed its growing power.” starhawk

About familyoga

i am a mama, a yoga instructor, a lover, a gardener, and a music maker. i live in a little town 19 miles northwest of downtown indianapolis, indiana. i will blog about familyoga - specifically, myself, my husband/hetero life partner, brett, and our children as we explore familyoga and good livin'. brett will also be blogging. he is a deep soul. he loves music and traveling, gardening and his family.
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