Sustainability Through Ritual

Sustainability Through Ritual

Rituals have been around in human culture for thousands of years. In an article by Frazer Consulting1 the number is set at 70,000 years and that is a long time. I’m not an anthropologist (If I had chosen a science other than computer science to pursue it may have been anthropology) but it seems clear that ritual means something to us. From my observations of other people I have established my opinion about ritual. We have them and participate in them because we are human. We create them. We need them. Some people will say they don’t need ritual, and that is fine with me as I watch them fix their coffee the same way for the who knows how many times.

Ritual is something people do without even thinking. Now, as you can see I’m not talking about formal rituals such as the ones we follow for religious or civil services, but the patterns we establish to, well live. We all have rituals we participate in daily. If you think about it you can probably identify a few of your own.

But how, you ask, can ritual help with my personal sustainability?

I think ritual is a very important factor in a person’s sustainability. Over the next few posts, and I’m not really sure how many there will be, I will introduce some of the rituals that I have either participated in or directly observed that helped people maintain their sustainability. Here are a few I can identify quickly:

  • Journalling
  • Exercise (This one has several categories alone)
  • Gardening
  • Yard Work
  • Fishing
  • Personal Grooming
  • Entertainment
  • Couples’ Interaction
  • Actual civil or religious events

This is not an exhaustive list, but I expect you may be scratching your head at some of these. You can expect I will take a look at each of these and share my knowledge and experience for why I think each is supportive of a person’s individual sustainability.

My point in all of this is that people create ritual around things they do every day. They may not realize one of the advantages of rituals that they are following. Most often, they won’t even think about their rituals until something (work or emergency) suddenly stops them from performing their ritual. Some people may go for a long time before they suddenly realize they have stopped a ritual. They most often capture the moment by telling someone, “I really miss ...”

Ritual creates a sameness that people crave. It creates a safety that makes them comfortable when things are chaotic or disrupted. People feel calm and at peace when they can complete their rituals. They feel like things are going according to plan or everything is on track. It is this peacefulness or sameness that helps create sustainability for individuals. One can keep going even in challenging situations if they have something reliable to come home to and that gives them a sense of peace.

Over the next few posts I will share some rituals I have experienced, some very mainstream, some less so, that give people a sense of stability that allows them to face their work.     

---- References

1Frazer Consultants, ‘What Are Rituals, and Why Do We Need Them?’, Publishing Organisation or Name of Website, Frazer Consultants, LLC, July 13, 2016,

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