do you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you? like a black cloud is hovering overhead, following you closer than your own shadow? times when everything seems to go wrong in a crazy succession of circumstances that conjures up images of the old "mousetrap" game—a chain reaction of events that ends up with you, trapped under a web of just plain bad luck?
when i go through those agonizing stretches, i find that rituals help to keep me grounded.
take brunch, for example. brunch at bongo room happens to be one of my favorite rituals. our usual order: eggs benedict for me, breakfast burrito for my husband, and a "chocolate tower" to split (that's right, dessert with brunch).
the decadent tower is made of bittersweet chocolate chunk bread stuffed with maple mascarpone, banana creme brulee sauce, bananas and shaved chocolate. that in itself is the stuff of breakfast legends. but there's so much more to the bongo ritual than just the delectable food.
when we go there, it's friendly and familiar. a neighborhood joint where you can feel the energy of the city, but where they also know your name (i know, queue up the "cheers" theme song). people-watching is a wholly satisfying event: a mix of urban hipsters, post-college grads with their visiting parents, tatooed rockers, urban moms and dads with bugaboo strollers parked outside and new couples, sometimes formed a few hours earlier and sharing their first sober conversation—all while a faint yet thumping soundtrack worthy of boys town plays in the background. the feast for the stomach, the eyes and the ears is topped off with a leisurely stroll around our beloved hood.
rituals are so special because they're like coming home: when your world is in flux, they provide comfort, safety, the feeling that "everything is in its right place"...and in the case of bongo, rituals can often happen to be delicious too.
rituals can come in all shapes, sizes and circumstances.
- reading the sunday paper in your bathrobe with a warm cup of coffee
- making mini pancakes as a weekend treat for your kids
- browsing furniture stores for ideas and inspiration
- blaring your "guilty pleasures" playlist while you clean, dust and polish
- shopping for fresh produce at the farmers market
- going for a run by the lake to clear your mind and strengthen your body
- catching up on your favorite dvr recordings
- taking your dog for long weekend walks to soak up the sights and smells
- sneaking in for a glimpse of your kids sleeping long after they've gone to bed
at face value they seem almost trivial—but if you look a little deeper, they're usually far more than simple acts that satisfy a craving or entertain you while you're killing time. unlike most things in life, rituals are a tiny sliver of life that you can control—and make your own.
what are the rituals that you hold dear, that help you make order out of the chaos of daily life? i'd love to hear them, and maybe add a few more to my own playlist.