The question has been asked, because I’m a bit curious about this. Ok, call me nosy then. What got me motivated to write this post in the first place is based on the suggestion of our content manager and my thoughts afterwards. She suggested that we try to talk about rituals for a change. My thought was on the personal side. Our content manager didn’t give us any specific guidelines, so the idea was pleasingly an open one for us to explore. Initially, my thoughts were on religion.
But then my thoughts turned to how embarrassed some women might be about talking about some of their private rituals which no-one else but themselves is privy to. We’ll start with religion then move on to the personal side of practicing rituals. Those who are remotely shy about their private rituals need to rest easy for a moment. Because the ritual, whether performed in a group for religious or other cultural reasons, or in the privacy of the home, is part of our human nature.
More importantly perhaps, as an individual, your ritual, no-one else’s and not copied from anywhere, is what defines you and is part of your unique characteristics as a woman. Compare this to the fingerprint. No-one else has that print but you. What I also find refreshing about religious rituals is this. No matter how different any particular religion, sect or denomination is the rituals performed have similar purposes in mind. It is debated among many, but I for one, believe that we are all serving not just ourselves but the very same Maker of all of us.
Take the notion of ritual washing. Muslim gentlemen do this every time they visit the Mosque on Fridays. They wash their feet thoroughly before entering. And on the eve of His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ performed the lowly but deeply spiritual ritual of washing His disciples’ feet. Comparing this historic event with our own deep-seated embarrassment is worthwhile. Jesus’ chief disciple, Peter was not at all enamored at the idea of his Master washing his dirty feet.
When this Prophet (as many non-Christians believe Him to be) explained the significance of this spiritual ritual to Peter, the future Apostle shouted out loud for his master to wash his entire body. For most women, if not, all of them, the ritual of washing has deep meaning. Cleanliness and cleansing is intensely important to women. The stereotypical opposite of this is that boys in general, and then later, men, do not take as much pride and care over their bathing rituals as women do. This good, maternal habit rubs off on the children as mothers instinctively take care of their children.
And so they teach their children to take good care of themselves. I can say that my mother has heavily influenced me on this side. I can remember my sporting days when I used to get quite grimy and how upset I was. I was quite thorough in my showering and lotion rituals after a race or match. Still physically active today, nothing much has changed. Men, in particular, have often accused women of being obsessed and fussy. If you’re a bit on the soft side, I would say to you; do not worry about what they say and how they may taunt you at times. You are doing the right thing, in any case, and are leading them by example.
Is it any wonder then, why our homes are so clean after we’ve been through each and every room? I think it’s fair to say that quirky rituals, if there are any, are usually confined to the bathroom. But what about outdoors? I suppose this is possible, although some of you may be able to hide them well. While I’m thinking about it, let me share one of mine. It is quite a habit, and I’m not sure how it started in the beginning. But, even up to a few moments ago, I was still doing this.
Today, I think I must have walked around the block at least three times. There were several tasks I was busy taking care of. I was having my mobile serviced at the internet café for one thing. While I was waiting, I took the liberty of stepping outside for a bit of fresh air. Even while deep in thought and prayer, I am still quite conscious of this. I think to myself, people that see me sometimes must think I’m nuts. I’m not, of course, just one woman with an unusual habit (or is it?). When I pray, I sometimes tend to mouth my silent thoughts. Sometimes they become softly spoken words. So, if anyone passes me by, they are bound to hear me.
Has this become a bit of a ramble to you? Only you can tell me. All I can say is that, truly, I believe that there’s nothing wrong with having personal rituals, particularly if it helps you. And if anyone should stare or stutter a laugh, forget about them and carry on with your day. You’re ok, and so, for that matter, is the rest of the world. Although they may deny this if you should confront them, they too, have their rituals, seen or unseen. We all have them. It is part of our human and spiritual nature.