Each week at work, one of my senior managers shares a Sunday night email with other managers – typically it’s a newsy email with interesting articles from business journals that may guide people on leadership or something that may be relevant to the current climate at work. Right after the quarantine began, he shared a Harvard Business Review article titled “The Restorative Power of Ritual.”
The article uses the word ritual as in a routine. It’s human nature to create certain routines and rituals for ourselves to deal with stress, grief and other emotions or to add order and stability to our lives. It helps us find deeper meaning and purpose – even those simple rituals as the order we brush our teeth or get dressed in the morning. When something like death or a global pandemic happens, we turn to rituals – either existing or new ones – to help guide, support and thrive through these uncertain times.
As soon as I read the article though, I thought of our Masonic rituals. Not just the words of the ritual, but of the customs and of the behavior of Masons. I was reminded of our core values to take care of each other, be respectful and serve with integrity as we live our virtues and to support our brethren. And the truly restorative power of those rituals to give comfort in this uncertain time or any time. Having these to rely on may help add stability and provide understanding when we’re feeling anxious and stressed.
And the beauty of rituals is that you can always create new ones that provide more personal meaning as well. Take this time during quarantine to rediscover the old ones that we favor and have deep historical ties, but ensure that you establish new ones meaningful for you if they give you solace and comfort – maybe join a virtual lodge meeting even if your home lodge isn’t having them, form a ritual of having dinner together or if you’re like me, establishing a virtual game night with friends several times a month. Make a ritual of going on family walks together.
As many Masons already know, rituals can truly have restorative powers.