Why Rituals Matter (and How to Create Your Own)

Mark the important moments in your days, seasons and years with meaningful, mindful action.

Adobe Stock/ Marcos

My whole body softens when I hear the grind-click-pop of my lighter, followed by the sizzle of lit candle wick. A cup of milky Irish breakfast tea emanates heat onto my left elbow as I find a blank page in my journal, and my morning ritual begins.  

The sounds, smells, and tastes of this ritual feels like it lives in my cells, now, after all these years.  

It started when my youngest child—now a 7-year-old Lego aficionado—was just a baby.  I barely had time to brush my teeth, but the desire to reclaim even just a few moments when I could feel like myself again was powerful.

Now, in no small part because of the insights I unearthed in those early morning writing sessions, ritual creation is a part of my job. I am often asked: what exactly is a ritual? And why do I need one?

Ritual is mindfulness in action.

The truth is, we humans are ritual beings. We ritualize everything from birth to death to the way we make our morning coffee. And there’s a reason: ritual is a way of putting a pin in the map of our lives…