My life has become a reflective ritual. Sitting under what’s left of the backyard shade, I smell the freshly washed clothes on the line. Nearby a neighbor mows their grass, while the kids down the street yell and ride their bikes. Other than that, every so often a car passes by, all the while the migrating birds sing from the tops of the trees. The sun slowly moves, meaning I got to move my chair again. While the fallen leaves on the ground are a not-so-subtle reminder, winters right around the corner.
Each of these things take on ritualistic duty, that helps keep me sane. Years ago, I wouldn’t have taken so much time to notice such things. But the ghost of my past guide me and nurture my senses to look beyond the next moment and to focus on the here and now. I meditate much like my uncle and my father; by stopping, listening, and observing. While on the trails, I watch for deer tracks, pay attention to how the wind moves across the yard, and notice the smells that cross my senses.
But sometimes my focus is broken. The troubles of the day start to weigh heavy, pulling me towards despair and troubles. So I cherish these few moments when all things seem okay. Giving me focus and stability to go through another day. Reflective ritual is more than just a well-worn path for me. It’s a guidebook to the answers I often seek.