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12 Rituals to Reopen Your Life

“We the people” are conditioned to focus on the positive and not dwell too long on the negative. We share our triumphs but keep our tragedies to ourselves. When we experience emotionally difficult or devastating times in our lives, we are strongly advised to “get past it,” “get over it,” or—my very favorite—“move on,” even though, in many cases, it would be impossible to know how to “move on”—or where to move on to; there is simply no map for us to follow and no set mechanism through which to process the experience, as an individual or a community, so that we may have the closure everyone tells us we should seek.Collectively, we are guilty of sputtering this useless advice to each other because modern Western culture is no longer accustomed to the meaningful ritualization that allowed our wise ancestors to mark life’s transitions in healthy ways.When we focus solely on getting closure and putting the past behind us, rather than fully processing an event or life change, our human experience is minimized. Even our language encourages us to make less of things. For instance, our culture commonly refers to …

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