Monday, March 07, 2011
Every night for going on two years now, J and I have shared one thing we love about each other and one thing we love about ourselves. It's our bedtime ritual and it is often the anchor point of my day.
Most Sunday mornings, he makes buckwheat pancakes for the family, which we festoon with fruit and nut butter, yogurt and maple syrup. We've drifted away from this lately but for a long time we ate while reading and discussing "The Ethicist" column from the New York Times Magazine, each of us presenting a point of view before delving into Randy Cohen's take on the issue at hand. (This weekend I learned that Randy Cohen no longer writes this column.)
Three or four mornings a week I swim laps, often with friends. We usually start with a 500-yard warm-up followed by two or three hundred yards of kick-boarding and chat. And then we challenge each other with ideas for drills to do next.
I walk my dog just about every day, often twice a day when I'm feeling well, almost always with a tennis ball in hand and a pocket full of kibble. I throw the ball, she fetches, and then we strike up a trade. Sometimes we walk with her best doggie friends and my good neighbor, and I get the pleasure of conversation while she spends her time wrestling.
On Tuesday afternoons, some Friday evening, and, now that cancer has added to my daily burdens, sometimes Monday mornings too, I spend an hour listening and caring while a trusted co-counselor works through whatever mental and emotional challenges claim his or her attention. In turn, he or she spends an hour doing the same for me.
For the next eleven weeks, I will go to the hospital every Friday afternoon for chemotherapy. For five weeks after that, I'll go five days a week for radiation.
I check my email nightly before bed. I check it again in the morning. When I occasionally wake up restless, I check it in the middle of the night.
Where am I going with this? I guess I'm just noticing and appreciating rituals. There are some that we choose, some that choose us, some that run their course and move out of our lives. Some that we lean on heavily in our hours of need. Some that become richer for their repetition, some that steal richness from us and that we strive consciously to abandon.
What are the rituals in your life, newly adopted or longstanding, treasured or not?