Creating Family Rituals

Creating Family Rituals
One of the movies that struck me the most at the True/False film festival was The Crash Reel. The family bond was so evident and strong even before the tragic accident that forms the center of the film. It is a bond that I really hope to emulate. I plan to start by copying one of their rituals, having a moment of meditation before starting a meal. The father would ring a small meditation bowl and the family would close their idea in silence until the gong stopped. I thought it was a lovely way to reconnect and reflect at the end of the day… a sort of prayer for the non-religious.

As I read Nurturing the Soul of Your Family
last week, I noted other ways I could help to nurture myself and my family. And though I really think you should read the book for yourself, I did want to share a few of the things

Five Ways to Nourish and Renew Your Spirit
from Renée Peterson Trudeau

Spiritual renewal is essential to our emotional well-being. It helps us nurture our essence,
feel centered, build inner strength, live in integrity, and trust life. It allows us to experience a
connection to a higher power, feel a sense of purpose, and experience meaning in our lives.

There are many different ways we explore and nurture our spiritual lives. For some this
includes spending time in nature, yoga, prayer and meditation, or musical or artistic expression.
Some of the daily practices that provide me spiritual nourishment include:

Creating Ritual

We all crave sacredness and ritual in our everyday lives — not just around birthdays and
weddings. Rituals can be both carefully planned events and casual but regular remembrances
such as voicing gratitude before a meal or creating dedicated space in your day for

When we mark important transitions or milestones in our lives — whether it’s your
daughter’s first period or your son starting kindergarten — we connect to the sacredness of
everyday life. We remember that life is mysterious and we’re more than our to-do lists!

Cultivating Stillness

Stillness, whether experienced through prayer, meditation, or reflection, is our time to
be alone and connect to our inner wisdom or our higher power — what I call our internal GPS
system. It’s essential for all of us to carve out time for quiet reflection each and every day.

One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from a daily meditation practice is the ability to live
more comfortably with what is–whether that’s my husband’s recent layoff or a car accident. Life
is like the weather in Texas — constantly changing. Meditation has helped anchor me, so that
despite this impermanence and turmoil, I’ve learned how to be still and find my center in the face
of it all.

Practicing Service to Others

Mother Teresa says, “The fruit of love is service.”

We are all interconnected. The more we reach out and are present to one another’s pain
and suffering, the stronger we become and the easier it is to embrace the esoteric idea that we’re
all one. I believe huge shifts in consciousness can occur when we reach out and help one another
navigate this sometimes scary, often isolating and perplexing, but beautiful world. Sometime
that might look like serving soup at your local homeless shelter and other times, it’s helping out
your neighbor who just lost her husband.

Living in the Present

Many great spiritual teachers believe the answer to everything is to just “be here now,”
and that our suffering and emotional distress would end if we simply stopped resisting the
present moment.

One weekend as I sat on the couch with a full-body cold: a splitting headache, body chills
and a nonstop runny nose, I thought about this principle. And, as I watched the things I was
missing fly out the window — my friend’s birthday party, my son’s piano recital — I connected
to my breath and felt myself arrive in the present moment. I sensed my resistance begin to
dissipate and a feeling of peace slowly settled over me. I temporarily suspended my desire for
things to be different and I embraced that on the couch, with a cold, was exactly where I was
supposed to be.

Choosing Happiness

Three of my immediate family members died unexpectedly between my twenty-sixth
and thirty-fourth birthdays. For years I let those losses dictate how much and how often, I could
experience joy. Anytime I started to feel light, free, or happy, the old feeling of “waiting for the
other shoe to drop” would creep in.

Can you only be happy if things are going your way and all the stars are aligned in your

I believe we’re born with the innate capacity to experience emotional well-being and joy;
it’s our birthright to feel good. Happiness comes from within; we’re wired for it. We just have to
remember to choose this moment to moment.

It’s easy to forget who we really are. To lose sight of what really matters. To fall asleep
and not remember how interconnected we all are and that we’re fully human and, at the same
time, divine.

A regular spiritual practice — whether that’s daily prayer or meditation, being in a
spiritual community, or singing— serves to anchor us. It grounds us and helps us navigate the
challenges we face from just being human. It helps us stay awake.

So ultimately, we can begin to let go, trust the rhythm and flow of life and relax into the
beauty of our true nature.

Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the
Soul of Your Family. Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal
Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her
online at

Based on the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau.
Published with permission of New World Library


  1. Family rituals and traditions are so important. They are what separate one family from another. Even if different families have the same ritual, it will still be unique to them. It helps children have consistency and balance in an unbalanced world. Thanks for the post!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful words and for highlighting some of my favorite parts of the book. I so appreciate your support. Check out our facebook page in April where we’ll give away a book a week. With gratitude and joy–Renee
    Oh, it’s

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