This excerpt from Martha Beck’s book The Joy Diet is a perfect companion to Episode 10 of the podcast.

“Celebration is not just happiness or enthusiasm, it is happiness and enthusiasm concretized in behavior - in particular, some form of ritual. A ritual is a set of behaviors designed to show your soul (or true self, or symbolic consciousness) there is deep meaning in what you are doing. You can adopt the rituals of your culture or tradition, or you can invent them yourself. Either way, they direct your attention to the symbolic significance of your actions. '“Rites,” says Antoine de St. Exupery’s fictional fox in The Little Prince, “are actions too often neglected. They are what make one day different from the other days, one hour from the others.” A ritual, however simple, creates a border around a certain activity the way a frame does around a picture. It sets this activity apart from ordinary life in a way that emphasizes beauty and pleasure, ensuring that those who participate in it become more aware of its significance.

…Some social scientists hypothesize that we modern, civilized folks have lost a great deal of psychological resonance and resiliency because we observe so few rituals.

…You are probably accustomed to performing dozens of small rituals already, whether you realize it or not.

…It doesn’t matter what your rituals are. The point is simply to notice that they create a consistent behavioral “frame” that separates a certain act or situation from the rest of your life. Stop and pay attention to these rituals. You may never have thought of them before as occasions for celebration..”

- Martha Beck, The Joy Diet