The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Routine and Ritual


This morning as I was prepping to go to work, it occurred to me that I get dressed in the same order every day. Underwear, bra, pants, blouse/shirt/sweater, socks, shoes, jewelry, makeup, coat and gloves  (depending on the weather) and then head out the door. I do it unconsciously, repetitively, day after day…sometimes mix it up by wearing a dress or skirt. I grab my keys, check to be sure I have my cell phone and wallet in my purse, pick up my briefcase and sling it over my shoulder. I walk to the Jeep, put my belongings in and drive to the office where I offer counseling for folks in recovery from addiction. This morning, I facilitated a group and on the board  wrote the words ROUTINE vs. RITUAL and asked the participants what each meant. We all have routines in which we engage at home, school, work and in social settings. Some serve us and others don’t, but repeat them we do, sometimes out of habit or without realizing we have a choice about changing our patterns. They spoke about the positive and negative aspsects of their routines and about creating new ones that serve them better. It brought to mind an episode of All In The Family in which Archie and Mike (a.k.a. Meathead)  got into a to-do over what order to put on socks and shoes. Before I could explain it, one of the group members, in his best Archie Bunker accent, berated ‘Mike’ who put on sock, shoe, sock shoe when Archie thought it should be sock, sock, shoe, shoe. We all laughed and clapped and then he and I launched into the theme song…Those Were The Days and I did MY best Edith Bunker screech, hitting the high notes with playful precision.


We then spoke about ritual and all kinds of images came to mind; of religious upbringing, of the rituals that went into sustaining their addictions, of the use of prayer and meditation, of attending 12 step meetings, of making a daily gratitude list, of being in the flow when exercising, of being in nature, of gardening, of family traditions, some nourishing, some toxic. I shared with them my own daily ritual that includes setting intention each day, saying the Shema (the signature prayer in Judaism) before closing my eyes. It’s been part of my life since childhood and I can’t fall asleep without saying it and then my gratitude list.

Shema Yisrael, Adonai, Elohenu, Adonai Echad  translates to “Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One”, but one that is closer to my heart is “That which we call God is Oneness Itself.”

What are the rituals and routines that sustain you and enrich your life?  All In The Family (Sock/Shoe episdode) Those Were The Days

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