Sunday, November 03, 2013

the comfort of daily rituals

this is easier to read in person than in the photo.
i found myself thinking this morning about all of the little, everyday rituals that make up a life. things like putting on the kettle to make a morning pot of tea. we are coffee drinkers around here, but we do like our tea in the morning. then, on the weekends, around 11, we have our first cup of coffee - our version of elevensies. with a piece of cake if we have some on hand, but often just a cup of coffee with milk and a speck of cream.

nearly every morning, as i sit down to work at my computer, molly, who is otherwise independent and now spends most nights outdoors, wants in and she wants to spend an hour or so in my lap, on a red-dyed, curly-haired sheepskin pillow. she comes in, smelling of fresh hay and the outdoors, jumps up onto her throne and curls into a ball on my lap, sleeping contentedly. it's one of my favorite parts of my day. when i'm away or have morning meetings, i really miss it.

on sunday mornings, my ritual is to stay in bed with a book and the iPad. propped up with pillows and warm under the duvet, i skim facebook and catch up on blogs (using flipboard) and read the opinion pages of the new york times. husband brings me a cup of tea, so i can stay in the warmth of the bed. there's usually a cat or two there with me, purring contentedly away, enjoying the lazy sunday morning as much as i do.

meanwhile, husband's sunday morning ritual is to make tea and sit on a tall stool in the kitchen, listening to the radio and eating his breakfast. sometimes he runs out to the bakery for fresh bread, sometimes we have some left from dinner the night before. i bake bread 2-3 times a week, but we are lucky to have an awesome bread culture in denmark, with good, freshly-baked bread available even at the gas station.

our usual friday dinner is a ritual as well - i almost always bake fresh bread and make a few different things to put on it - garlic mushrooms, some creamy eggplant, maybe hummus, definitely mojo, possibly roasted peppers. whatevers strikes my fancy, really. a sweet , older lady with a truck full of cheese comes to the town square on friday afternoons and i often pick up a big, creamy round of brie or our new favorite - p'tit basque, a sheep milk cheese from france that's just divine. she also has some hand-churned butter that's out of this world. it feels like a relaxed way to eat dinner at the end of the week and a fitting start to the weekend. i'm not sure exactly when we started it, but it has definitely become a ritual and we take comfort in it.

funny how all of the rituals that came to mind are ultimately related to comfort in some way. i think these are the building blocks of our lives, these small comforts we create for ourselves, to fortify us against the sometimes harsh world. they're where life is really lived.

what daily rituals do you have?


Veronica Roth said...

Smiling reading this; I love it Julie. When R and I are together, rituals are very prevalent, but when we're apart, mine fall away quite a bit. Life on my own is often too crazy and interrupted for rituals. I suppose the staying in bed till whenever on Sundays sticks around. (I'm pretty selfish with Sundays) Morning tea in bed with the computer most days, spag bol on Thursdays (because I know R is doing the same thing) and roast supper Sundays on my own. In England or when we are together in Van...oh god there are way too many to count. One ritual we have in both countries is that we never talk out issues or problems after 9pm, because we both know that after 9pm our Zen character is completely overcome by our hyper critical mode, so one of us usually says, "hey, what's the time?" and the other says, "good point."

Lisa-Marie said...

I recently went on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) training (which I found so useful I'm going to train to be a fascilitator). It's designed for people who have been ill (physically, but mostly mentally), but the interesting thing is it's first point of keeping well is the daily maintenance plan - the things you do each day when you are ok, that make the day good and you feel comfortable. These vary for each person, but the little things are so key in keeping us going. Mine are tiny - I make the bed once up, because I know then I have a nice, cosy bed to get into even if I have a terrible day. I arrive at work 20 minutes (minimun) early, so that I have time to sit, chat and have a cup of tea. On a Sunday I spend an hour on my own, drinking tea and catching up on reading in the quiet.

Andi said...

I couldn't agree more with you, I love the little things in life exactly as you described in your Sunday and Friday routine. I have them here, but they seemed to be "better" when I lived in France. I do wish getting good bread even at the gas station! Petit Basque is one of our favorites too and luckily I can get here in the SF Bay Area at Whole Foods or my local Berkeley Bowl. Cheers to you enjoying the small things in life!

Molly said...

'They are where life is really lived.'
Nail meet head.
And yet domestic rituals like this are so often slated as mundane.
Tea in the morning, reading to the girls in bed in the evening, my cat sleeping on my legs every night, friday nights making curry with husband - these are the moments of my life I love and cherish above all else. This is my life.