Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday Rituals

More than any other day of the week, Saturday keeps many wonderful rituals for me. I've realized this before, but yesterday I stopped to consider all the rituals I hold dear, some new, some older.

Two of my oldest rituals involve listening to radio programs. Memories of old-time radios, kids sitting on the floor, the entire family listening to a show run through my mind. Going back to the early days of my former marriage, my husband and I used to religiously listen to "A Prairie Home Companion". My kids grew up with this program playing in the background on Saturday evenings. I'd make dinner and we'd eat while listening. My son still enjoys this show and one year we went to see Garrison and the gang in person in Santa Barbara. There is so much that is familiar about the show, beyond my long-term friendship with it. The characters are real and they sit in my living room with me, speaking words I've thought, or have spoken as well. Now, I have introduced this show to my current beau who also enjoys it. It is a necessary part of my Saturday.

I am not sure when I started listening to "This American Life" with Ira Glass. It could have been while I was married. But this 'grab your emotions deep down' show pulls me into it's story every time. I sit mesmerized, eating my lunch at the table, or driving my car, leaving it running while idling in a parking lot because I have to hear what happens next. The stories are always so spell-binding, sometimes very funny but so often bittersweet, amazing. The hearts of people opened wide, sharing with the audience some poignant memory. I love Ira Glass and what he creates every week. It is a necessary part of my Saturday.

Usually at least a part of Saturday is spent puttering or cleaning in the house - another tradition, accompanied by my tradition to play music (if the aforementioned shows are not on) that makes me want to sing and dance. Mopping floors, straightening and organizing are so much more fun with tunes.

Since being with my sweetie, we have developed some of our own sweet Saturday rituals. We enjoy a morning bike ride, trying a new path every time, ending at the grocery store to pick just the right number of items that will fit in the bike basket. This ritual works for all seasons, unless it rains. Yesterday's ride was so befitting of fall -- cool, apple crisp breeze blowing my face as we coasted, sky overcast, hands in warm red gloves, smiling, feeling the love I have for fall, for bike rides, for feeling like a kid, for having this joy to share with my love. Sometimes we stop for coffee at Edwins. It's a nourishing Saturday ritual.

So I started at the end of the day with Prairie Home Companion, forgetting to mention another ritual on Saturday which is making a nice dinner. I enjoy cooking, not that I do anything fancy or special, I just enjoy the meditation of chopping, stirring, creating something that tastes yummy. I usually drink wine while I'm cooking and light candles while we eat.

I've touched on my daytime rituals and the morning bike ride. But what usually starts my Saturday is intimate time for sweetie and I. We stay in bed longer than usual, one day we don't have to dash anywhere quick, and talk, read books, watch the sky or birds out our window and snuggle. This too is a necessary part of my Saturday morning as well as a necessary part of our relationship.

I realized yesterday how all these rituals feel so comforting to me because they show up regularly every week, I can count on them and I miss them if something in the agenda excludes them. They are also comforting because of their lasting durability in my life, our shared history. But they also address so many parts of my essential self: connection with my sweetie, time outdoors, learning something new about myself or others by listening to stories on the radio, music, beauty, good tastes and good food, creating and being creative, home. These are all necessary components of my values, what is important and critical to me. Is it any wonder that each of these rituals nurture me and feel so good, and so necessary.

What rituals do you practice on a weekly or daily basis? Do you see a correlation between the rituals you enjoy and your key values, things you love and enjoy in life? If not how can you begin to create sustaining and meaningful rituals for yourself?

Here's to your happy Saturdays!