As we head towards the holiday season, I've been thinking about what makes for quality time and how we can have more of it.
It can be difficult to achieve quality time these days. We have busy schedules and are juggling multiple commitments, such as work, school, and family obligations. Even when we're together, the proliferation of technology and the constant availability of digital distractions can make it hard to give our full attention to the people we want to be with.
Creating rituals can help us to reconnect with our sense of attention and create quality time with the people we care about. When we create rituals with our loved ones, we are creating the space and time to engage with them in a focused and undistracted way.
By creating rituals, we can also establish a sense of routine and predictability in our interactions with loved ones. This can help to strengthen our relationships and create a sense of togetherness and connection.
Here I'll share templates for rituals that I've found helpful for cultivating attention and creating quality time with the people I care about.
The act of cooking is the perfect ritual in disguise. It comes naturally because we've all seen it done before and can instinctively play our parts while still feeling relaxed and fun.
When we are engaged in preparing a meal we are less likely to be distracted. This allows us to be present and connect with the person we're with. Additionally, the demands of cooking require us to work together and communicate with each other. This fosters a sense of connection and collaboration and brings us closer together. Finally, and obviously, we also get the reward of eating what we've made together.
Explore A New Skill Together
Discovering a new skill with someone you care about can be a great way to create quality time together. When we learn a new skill, we naturally communicate with one another and bond over the shared experience of trying something for the first time.
I recently started learning how to knit from my mother and loved the opportunity to have a conversation and connect while we worked. Similarly, if you decide to learn how to paint or do arts and crafts together, you'll be able to connect while you learn, laugh and create.
Recently I listened to a podcast in which the actor Hugh Jackman shared a morning ritual he practices with his wife. Each morning, first thing, they take turns reading to each other in bed, and inevitably, start talking about either the book or an idea that's been brewing in their minds from the night before.
I loved this because it's a simple example of creating a ritual that provides them the space to communicate or not, depending on what their energy and inclinations dictate. It also demonstrates how the ritual can and should be secondary to the goal of giving each other our full attention.
Function Over Form
When it comes to connecting with the people we care about a ritual is just the steps that set the groundwork for connection. The form is almost immaterial save for the requirement that it helps preserve our attention for the people we're with. The most important thing we bring to it is our intention; what it ends up being will be revealed by the inertia of our presence and connections with those who journey with us.