Full disclosure, I am writing this from the perspective of a self-diagnosed ritual junkie. My monthly candle and incense expense rivals my cell phone bill and I chant mantras while driving to work.
I usually don’t consider my ritual practice a bad thing. Life is overwhelming and my little times of ritual anchor me to the earth and the present, preventing the thoughts in my head from swallowing me up.
My short rituals include holding a stone at my work station for a few minutes, touching an amulet in my pocket, and, stay with me here, flicking a little paper dove on my way out the door, visualizing glittery peace poofing over the earth. This is something I need to do this election season.
But sometimes my rituals get to the point where they separate me from reality, the exact opposite effect I’m going for. I do rituals for rituals’ sake and forget they are meant to ground me, not bury me in the ground. I create rituals to create meaning in every damn thing, and suddenly I find myself as not a wacky spiritual practitioner, but just plain wacky.
Is this you? Here’s how to tell.
1. You can’t leave the house without acknowledging you’re leaving the house.
Lovely: Blessing the day ahead of you.
Losing it: Blessing every errand, hair appointment, oil change, and Target run.
2. You keep ritual objects at your work station.
Lovely: Having a rock to grasp to ground you from time to time and remind you that you are part of the elemental makeup of the earth.
Losing it: Cluttering your work station with rocks, shells, battery-operated candles, feathers, statuary, and gongs, and having the IT department regularly reprimand you for having a tabletop fountain running next to your computer.
3. You have to cleanse yourself after watching or listening to upsetting stories in the news.
Lovely: A symbolic brushing away of miserable energies from your body and a round of Om Shanti.
Losing it: A panicked smudging session followed by frantic check writing to support every cause you think will help fix the world.
4. You carry amulets to help you through the day.
Lovely: Keeping an acorn amulet in your pocket for luck, growth, and prosperity.
Losing it: Having so many amulets you need a written key to remember what all of your amulets are for.
5. You feel anxiety if a ritual is missed.
Lovely: Throwing a quick energetic love message to the world in lieu of your ritual.
Losing it: Being unable to function throughout the day because you didn’t flick your dove.
May all beings everywhere be happy, peaceful, and free.
- The Buddha
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