Talking about ritual and symbols can be a big challenge for me. As an atheist, there are few ritual practices (if any) in which I truly believe. Every “spiritual” practice comes with a large energy expenditure toward justification. Even the term “spiritual”, which I personally dislike, is difficult to avoid if only because there is no word with which to easily label my experience. Not spiritual, but connecting to an underlying shared culture of humanness? Not divine, but acknowledging that human evolution and social evolution dictates that there is some measure of comfort to be had in abandoning constantly turning inward (the self) and instead supplanting that impulse (anxiety, obsession) with something outside of ourselves?
Happy New Year! 2018 is finally here, and it really is with a palpable sense of relief that I let the old year dissipate as I turn to welcome in the new. It promises to be tough in its own right but relieved I am just the same. With the many, many challenges of 2017 came an intense amount of introspection, sometimes in ways that exacerbated existing mental illness and sometimes in ways that opened up new avenues of celebration. This year, I found a focal point for reclaiming a celebratory feeling as well as my emotions as a whole.