After a year filled with crises of all kinds and pandemic related challenges, we find ourselves still adjusting to these complex realities and new personal and professional demands. Despite the uncertain and difficult context, holidays can be an extremely enriching opportunity for inner recovery, cleansing and self-reflection.
Holidays stand apart from days in which we are required to carry out routine activities and are meant to allow us to commemorate an event or tradition with symbolic meaning on a cultural or spiritual level. Honestly recognizing the power of holidays enables us to connect with them with greater depth, even devotion. The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and these occasions can become energy portals that let us encounter the most transcendental things in life, from not only an individual perspective but also as a collective.
Allowing ourselves to connect with the holidays
Religious holidays, or holy days, can be, for those who practice a religion, a great opportunity to reconnect with their traditions and celebrate. If you are a believer, it is interesting in this context to remember the importance of the celebrations and thus give yourself permission to more consciously go through the rituals and ceremonies that are commemorated on these dates. Marianne Williamson argues that Catholics celebrate Easter because the resurrection of Christ, beyond the miracle itself, demonstrates a power that overcame fear and even death: the power of love. A love so perfect that it balanced and conquered the lack of compassion in the world.
Those who are not religious, but are in an internal and spiritual journey, also have the opportunity to take advantage of holidays to grow and evolve internally, creating their own rituals and spaces that allow deeper reflection than in everyday life. These days can be used for introspection: taking care of ourselves on an emotional and spiritual level, working on our virtues and strengths, concentrating on growing as people. That is, finding the sacred in our own ritual and in self-reflection. Participating in the mythical meaning of the festivities through quietude, meditation, the encounter with oneself and the opening up to new spaces in which we listen more to ourselves and to our loved ones.
The importance of rituals
I like the fact that there’s a ritual in the word spiritual. By bringing rituals into our lives, we can open ourselves to new possibilities of connecting to sacred things. Rituals, and with them spiritual exercise, require concentration, preparation and, most of all, constancy. Similar to the way we take care of our bodies by working out frequently, our wellness and spiritual growth depend on our persistence and responsibility. This is necessary for developing our consciousness, our mindfulness and our self- recognition as whole beings.
Rituals remind us of who we are, while also freeing us to turn into who we are capable of being. They present us with points of true connection with ourselves, and also with God, the Universe, Light or whatever we choose to put our faith in. Rituals evoke commitment from our hearts. A sacred one, even one as simple as lighting a candle and meditating in the morning, can make a huge difference in the quality of our lives and the lives of those surrounding us. Through rituals we heal, and we simultaneously heal our relationships with others.
Some tips for creating or celebrating your rituals
- Make the time for your ritual, define it concretely and respect it. Do not let other activities that seem to be more urgent steal away that moment you reserved for yourself.
- Find a quiet space that allows you to connect with what you will be doing with few distractions. Do not become frustrated if these appear, instead, try to understand that the richness of ritual does not come from how hard you concentrate, but from perseverance, will power and true understanding of its importance.
- Choose an activity that you like, feel comfortable doing and have time for. Forcing yourself to start something abruptly or for way too much time can be counterproductive.
- If you will be celebrating your ritual accompanied by others, talk to them and try to choose common goals. Understand together what you all want to work on spiritually with that activity and how you can help each other achieve those goals.
- Surrender body and soul to whatever you do—mind and heart aligned, with feet firmly on the ground. Sometimes, even the most trivial and everyday of activities can take on a deep meaning when you do it from this place, and without realizing it, you have created your own spirituality.