The Ritual of Refirement

I like to say that when we are resilient, we move through life with more grace and ease. One of the tools that help us achieve that quality is ritual and we use them to help us with everything from our morning habits to our mourning customs.

My friend Lynn retired from the University and is moving into a new work setting for herself. She asked for help in creating a ritual to solidify that transition and my wife and ritual expert, Sheila Collins prepared a ceremony that we would celebrate over the 4th of July weekend. Lynn invited friends and family, academic colleagues, and other members of her community over for a big barbeque.

In addition to great food and delicious drink we added storytelling and dancing that applauded her career. We lit a fire pit and created the prime ritual where each person took one of her University business cards, threw it into the fire and expressed a wish for her future success. As Lynn listened to each person’s best wishes for her new life, her expression showed that the memories of the past were being blessed along with the hopes for her future.

We called this her “Refirement Ceremony,” not her Retirement Ceremony.

When resilience helps us “bounce forward” and not just to bounce back, we are at our best. Rituals ease the transition from the old to new and when done well create velocity to move us quickly into our new life.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2017


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