“The core needs of introspection, ecstatic experience, beauty, feeling like we're part of something bigger — these have existed for millennia. But how we create these experiences varies over time.” - Casper ter Kuile

Our friend Casper shared this sentiment in his book The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices in a time well before COVID-19. But revisiting it through the lens of the last year brings a whole new meaning to it. 

Given the ways our lives have changed, how we can adapt the way we embrace rituals and, by extension, embrace life and all it has to offer?

Casper views rituals as the “outer expression to an inner emotion, like the love we feel for our family or the wonder of being part of the universe.” In a time when we are required, for our safety, to be physically distant from the people and places we love, the way rituals play out in our lives has changed dramatically. It’s been hard to find meaningful ways to celebrate, commemorate, and in some unfortunate circumstances, mourn, together.

But I have been encouraged and inspired by the creative ways people have worked within the restrictions required by COVID-19 to create new rituals. For example:

On Christmas we usually spend time with about 40 of my wife’s extended family members. This past year, we weren’t able to get together in person, so my sister-in-law created a six-minute video mashup of different family members sharing their homes, traditions and well wishes from different parts of the world. 

In my sister’s town in Virginia, drive-by celebrations have become the new normal — some young entrepreneurs have even started a business that sets up celebratory messages like “Happy Birthday” in large letters on your lawn to complement friends driving by with honks and waves.

One friend reframed his solo quarantine as a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Another saw it as an opportunity to go deep on a writing project she had been putting off.

At Holstee, our desire for meaningful connection within the confines of COVID was the nudge we needed to introduce an Online Gathering that brings our Members together once a month. It’s now become one of our most popular Membership features (and one of the things I most look forward to each month).

With the new year here, it’s the perfect moment to map out your year in rituals and consider the ways that COVID’s limitations might serve as inspiration for greater depth and meaning.

If you are looking for help on how to do this, explore our new Ritual Life Planner — a guidebook and annual planner we created in collaboration with Casper to help you identify and embrace your ritual life.

Wishing you a year filled with rituals old and new,

Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee & Reflection.app

P.S. Members: Remember that you can simply sign in and use the member code to save 20% on everything in the Holstee shop!

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Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.

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