Rituals for Happiness

Rituals for Happiness

italian cemetery, colma

Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip. ~ John Lennon

As we are all quite aware nothing is typical or normal in our world right now.  For that reason, many of us are craving small doses of normality wherever we can find them.  Last week was a tough week, we’re all having them from time to time right now.  This past week, on top of work being absolutely nuts, I learned of the the death of two people I cared about.  One of them was one of my first and best bosses, a man who taught me a lot about work and even more about life.  He was a damn good man and incredibly good to me.

We have many rituals in our lives, the way we celebrate our holidays, the way we even go about our day to day lives can be very ritualistic.  Our largest rituals in life are put in place around our biggest events such as marriages and deaths.  The rituals around death include the way we memorialize the people we lose in our lives.  This shows up in cemeteries partially in the art that is erected around these memorials. I have always been fascinated by this art.  It is the reason I have made a hobby out of photographing cemeteries.  The combination of the poignancy of the setting, the beautiful grounds and the art in the memorials makes for great subject matter.

When I was a child there was a Sunday morning ritual in our house.  It involved going to the corner store, buying the Sunday New York Times and the NY Daily news.  It also included picking up donuts and coffee cake.  Easy, lazy Sunday mornings reading the newspapers and eating a big breakfast with sweets are very good memories for me.

In these uncertain times it’s importance to find normalcy wherever we can.  To utilize or even establish rituals that we can find comfort in, that’s what today was all about for me.  Without a doubt, today felt more normal than any day since the shelter in place orders came down two months ago.  It definitely felt like those childhood Sunday mornings.  I slept in a bit late this morning, had a big breakfast, minus the sweets.  I got my camera gear together and headed to the Italian Cemetery in Colma.  I call Colma the city of the dead, it’s often called the City of Souls, there are something like a dozen cemeteries there, the history of the Colma cemeteries is quite interesting, check out this link.  So today, finally, after living near Colma for 11 months, I made my first foray today to the Italian Cemetery.  It was a beautiful day, blue skies and broken clouds, with a small breeze.  Given I was never going to be near anyone, I didn’t wear a mask.  So I spent the whole afternoon walking under blue skies, no mask and taking photographs.  It was a really wonderful afternoon.

italian cemetery, colma

We need these normal days right now, so find them where you can my friends.  Manufacture them if you have to, find or create rituals that bring a little routine and normalcy into your life.  If feels funny to write that sentence, when as you know, if you have read this blog for any time, I spend most of my time talking about how to get out of your routine life to find more happiness.  Just goes to show you, you never know what tomorrow will bring.  I hope tomorrow brings you a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

Some other Cemeteries I’ve Photographed

St. Boniface Cemetery

Montjuic Cemetery

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His most recent book about hiking and happiness is Appalachian Trail Happiness available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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