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Dinner Ritual Born of 9/11

On the day after September 11, 2001, my husband and I started a ritual we’ve continued to this day. When we sit down to dinner, we light a candle and say something we’re grateful for that day.

It’s such a simple ritual, and yet it can have a powerful impact. Each evening we have the opportunity to reflect and acknowledge the blessings in our lives—something that’s easy to do when things are going well, but not so easy when life is challenging.

That’s the magic of rituals, says Barbara Biziou, author of The Joy of Ritual. They can lift our spirits, help us cope with problems, gain insights, and enrich our everyday lives while, quite literally, feeding our soul.

At dinner, when I think about a part of my day that I’m grateful for, I shift my focus to the positive. That triggers a torrent of grateful thoughts. Reflecting back on my day also helps me to appreciate what I’ve done and whether I’ve spent my time on things that truly matter to me.

Biziou says that if we take the time to stop and reflect on what we have, we can learn to appreciate each moment and gain happiness from living in the fullness of the present.

As my husband and I continue our ritual, it gives us the chance to look into each other’s eyes and connect with each other for a moment. On this tenth anniversary of our ritual, I am grateful for the past ten years we’ve shared together and for the inspiration to create something positive from a tragic event.

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