We recognize the dynamic of ritual-resistance. Throughout our years of facilitating rituals, we have met many who are reluctant to participate in an experience they expect to be too “touchy feely.” Co-author Linda Ann Smith’s brothers, Stephen and Larry, were the epitome of ritual-resistant men, yet over time they have become ritual makers themselves. Some of the following testimonials were contributed by folks who were initially ritual-resistant. The contributors’ perspectives vary but have in common one thing: they understand the value that rituals bring to their lives and relationships.
My girlfriends and I did the Shoe Ritual the other night. It was SO much fun! We lit some incense and some candles, talked about our intentions, then made a card and colored it and put stickers on it. Then we went to DSW and shopped for shoes. My friend’s mom was in town and she’s 78-ish. Her metaphor was to be the “Barefoot Contessa”. She said that she’s at the point in her life where she doesn’t want to wear shoes anymore. We thought that was awesome! My metaphor was to “hit my stride” concerning work. I found the perfect pair of work shoes and the name brand was “Life Stride.”
Linda Ann Smith surprised my previous group of business compatriots with the “What Would You Do If You Knew You Would Succeed” ritual complete with a gift certificate at a wonderful restaurant in New York. The four of us participating in the ritual were all in fairly significant transitional stages. We finally made it to the restaurant with our package of ritual instructions and materials. The result was a profound opportunity for each of us to affirm the others for who we are in the world. It was one big warm fuzzy.
Environmental Program Director, Patagonia, Ventura, California
Linda’s rituals have always given me the opportunity to speak from my heart – not normally a guy thing – but it sure feels good when I do it.
Age 24 Denver, Colorado
My daughter and I take an annual trip together as the first part of our ritual. A few years ago, I asked Linda for some ideas of how to deepen and enrich our experience together on these trips. After some brainstorming with her, I came up with the idea of bringing a travel journal with us on each of the trips and taking turns writing in the journal. We have such a good time re-reading what we wrote on the previous trips. We never leave the journal behind. It’s the first thing in the suitcase.
Fourth Grade Teacher, Centennial, Colorado
Rituals on special occasions helps everyone to connect more. Very often I will learn new or surprising information about someone that helps me understand them better.
Age 22 Denver, Colorado
I have slowly introduced my circle of friends to rituals. The rituals have to be fun-based, but I have noticed that the more I do the rituals with these resistant friends, the deeper they will go in sharing. There have also been a few miraculous outcomes such as the “House Selling” ritual I designed for friends whose house had been on the market for over three months. While each person smudged him/herself, he/she made positive statements about the house, whether a structural element, aesthetic factor, or the good energy brought about by gatherings while my friends lived there. The owners then smudged the whole house. The house sold two days after the ritual. My friends now ask for a ritual at almost every special occasion!
Regional Brand Manager, State Farm, Phoenix, Arizona
A ritual starting the day by soaking in the bathtub while clarifying my intentions makes for a day in which I can really serve my clients.
Therapist, Coach, Author, Denver, Colorado
I have used rituals on many celebratory occasions to honor my family and friends. These rituals have never failed to serve as a catalyst toward creating strong, warm and more intimate connections between the participants. We have always come away with new, and at times, extraordinary insight into ourselves as well as others. This has been accomplished in very creative and enthralling ways so even the shy or skeptical are willing to participate. Under the guise of fun, many doors of enlightenment have been opened.
Writer, Genesee, Colorado
I believe the “Surgical Journey” that Kelly created for me for a smooth surgical journey and recovery, generated external optimism and internal support. My doctor called my recovery remarkable. Focusing my mind, body and emotions on a positive outcome was a powerful resource for me.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Boulder, Colorado
Once I was introduced to the idea of rituals, I realized just how many are manifested on a regular basis, even in the corporate arena. When there is intent behind a ritual, it can become a very powerful tool to solidify teamwork and group support on projects. Because I've seen how successful they can be in the workplace, I am looking forward to applying rituals at home. Now that I have twin sons and a daughter on the way, I plan to raise them with rituals as a way to build family values and closeness, and to help them live richer and more fulfilling lives.
Brand Marketing Executive, Denver, Colorado
Rituals, the sacred acts and languages that symbolize our life cycles, are vital to bridging the gaps between our psyches, emotions, spirituality, and experiences. Rituals establish our images of self and identify us in the human community. Rituals of day-to-day living, special occurrences, and intimacy inform our relationships and our sacred spaces. Rituals, essentially, are testimonials to our beliefs about our loved ones, ourselves, our deities, and our world.
Reverend Dr. Marjorie Williams-Cooper
Healer, Artist & Educator, Denver, Colorado
I used to hide in the bathroom when a ritual was announced. Now my advice to all men is to stay out of the bathroom because you will lose out on a lot of good material. Once you get past the shock, and if people participate, it can turn out to be an experience in which you get understanding and information – all that warm fuzzy stuff. Plus it’s a good way for men to win points with women.
Entrepreneur, General Contractor, Real Estate Mogul, Denver, Colorado
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