I didn't understand the importance of rituals for a long time. I thought their rote, ceremonial nature took the thought and meaning out of things. After all, growing up I'd spend an hour each week faithfully doing Catholic calisthenics. You know, sit...kneel....stand. I didn't know what the significance of doing it was. But, I knew for damn sure precisely where in the mass to do what. Even though I had no idea why.
It's only in mid-life that I get the importance of routine.
When I'm in a healthy routine, I'm efficient, energized and focused. And I don't have to consider other options, because good choices are built into the regimen. The regime I created of exercise, eating right, working and playing. Which is backed up by a lot of thoughtful intent to keep myself grounded. It keeps me from being bogged down by the minuscule details that threaten to derail me. With the detail work on autopilot, It frees me up to focus on the bigger picture and more creative pursuits.
But, it's only in mid-life that I also see the value of breaking routine.
Because you can't get perspective on anything by constantly doing the same thing.
The challenge is keeping a balance of ritual and risk. Putting yourself out there and reeling yourself back in. And the biggest is forgiving yourself when you falter. Which I do with some frequency. (Especially with Catholic guilt roots.)
It's ritualistic even.