Rote and Ritual

The deep ruts in our roads have long guided us, kept us from tanking in ditches and sheltered us from the threat of evolution. I have always been a creature not of habit but of ritual. Repetition has felt like tribal trance certain to reveal to me new truths available to those willing to put in the work.

I have come to find that this is true, but that those rituals are also barbed. Rituals can feed and exhaust if not scrutinized. Open systems. Entropy. Heat death.

My rituals are many. I have places I go, both in the Cities and in my mind. I have workout regimens both of pectorals major and frontal cortex. Work has become a ritual, if in nothing else, scattered multi-tasking. Through all of these rituals, I have uncovered things I believe to be true for me.

One discovery, if not a recursive one, is that I am a ritual parasite. I perform ritual too often for its own sake. Lazy living. Well dug, Virgo, ruts. I can sense there is a lot of space between (and around) those ravines, but I forget them all too easily, despite my proclaimed affinity for the new and novel. I cling to behavior and hate anything that feels like an ending. Forget about goodbyes. Suddenly, that person waving to me is transformed, glowing with a holiness that only regret can manage. All days up to that point, reveal themselves, miraculously, to be Halcyon! However, catastrophes aside, we know our days progress not as numbered chapters but more as streams: less Victor Hugo, more James Joyce.

Rituals are important but they should be propulsive, exploratory. If they serve only to keep you swirling in stale eddies, they cease to embody their true nature and, in turn, so do you. From them I hope we derive deepening, pleasure, meaning, something akin to context in the continuum. But it is a two-way street. In return, we also have a responsibility. To what? Explore! Open. Be a solar flare. That which you experience feeds your rituals, which in turn, can allow them to reveal even more. I now think of it as a symbiosis. I envision a constant, upward swirl of being.

In this strange time of Covid, where we seem to naturally be reaching outward for connection and inward for strength, I’m working on pulling myself out of the ruts of my thinking, of my feeling, most of all my doing, and putting my rituals under fresh scrutiny. Do they serve me? Do I serve them? Are there others more appropriate for who and what I am, right now?

With that, I leave you with a new favorite album. Call it music for deepening. As always, please consider supporting the artist.

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