When I was a little girl Mum would make a pot of tea every morning. I would watch her from the table as she carefully wound the strings of the tea bags around the handle of the pot, listen as the boiling water made a slight hiss as it hit the tea leaves, and wait for it to be placed on the table to draw wrapped snugly inside the tea cosy my grandmother had made years before.
A few minutes would pass as Mum busied herself in the kitchen making toast, waving the warm bread back and forth to cool so that it wouldn't melt her butter. Two slices with a yellow coating of butter topped with thinly sliced cheese would be placed at her spot at the table as she sat down to her breakfast. Then the teapot would be carefully turned three times in a clockwise direction before Mum would pour herself a cup and stir in two teaspoons of sugar.
Every morning, tea and toast and a little sigh of contentment.
That half hour ritual at the start of the day reveals more about my mother than an hour's conversation with her could possibly yield; she is tea and toast and a little sigh of contentment.
Rituals are an experience and expression of ourselves in the everyday. They are the fundamentals of self that carry us through the ordinary and the extraordinary. A simple way to connect with what lies at the core of who we are, and what we need, on a daily basis.
Rituals are what soothe and comfort us, excite and entertain us, or give a specific period of time a special meaning for us as individuals or with the ones we love. These simple acts or grand can be a way of showing people we care about them; now I make my Mum's tea some mornings, or they can be a way of saying something about ourself without having to say anything at all.
The most important rituals to me are those that lie in the every day. I still make myself a cup of tea every morning like Mum used to, even though I now drink it when I get to work and it doesn't come out of a teapot, I still feel the comfort when I wrap my hands around that mug. There is a link across time to the memory of the little girl watching Mum in the kitchen that warms me, starts my day off correctly. There is a link to my Mum, knowing that somewhere she too is holding a cup of tea, letting the liquid warm her hands, breathing a sigh of contentment.
So I stir my tea three times in a clockwise direction, breathe a sigh of contentment, and start my day.