Friday, 13 November 2015

Celebrating Life Passages in Rituals by Cynthia Baga

During his last visit, papa gave me a book. It's a book about creating and celebrating rites and rituals in the family. The book was written by my psychologist/life counselor, Cynthia Baga.

Cynthia is an amazing, kindhearted and soft spoken lady. I have been seeing her since I was in highschool. The last time I saw her was when I got dumped by my ex-fiancé. That was a long time ago!

Maybe it's because of her profession but I honestly found it easier to talk to her than my parents. When I was dumped, my mom was so hurt that she was so keen to ask questions to help her understand the situation. Because my mom was hurting too, she was going back and forth between condemning my ex and blaming me. I didn't resent my mom. I understood then  that because she loves me and because we are one, she equally felt rejected by my ex. It actually seemed like she was feeling the pain more than I did.

I only had one conversation with Cynthia about the break-up. By that time, 2 months had passed. She was impressed with the way I processed the break-up and only suggested one thing. She told me that logically I understood that it was meant to happen. That was a good start. She said the thing I needed to do next was to create a ritual that would signal my rational brain to acknowledge the pain and to let go. 

Ideally, that should have been me returning my engagement ring. But that was a 1.5 carat diamond ring and I wasn't stupid. My tears are expensive after all. 

So I opted for the simple ritual of gathering all the gifts my ex gave me. It was then that I realized
that during our 6-year relationship, I never got myself anything valuable/expensive. Most of my nice bags, clothes and jewelries came from him. After that, I vowed that I would learn to celebrate and love myself first before I get into another relationship.  Instead of burning the gifts, I got my self 2 LV bags. I got 2 bags in one shopping trip and with one swipe of my debit card. It was a once in a blue moon,  6-digit  shopping! In pesos, of course!

The book Cynthia wrote is all about these little rituals to celebrate life's joys and even pains. It was inspired by a line from the book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry...

"Rites are too often neglected. They are what make one day different from other days.."

I grew up in a house filled with rituals. I think half of that came from my nanny of 20 years, who came from a different town.

Lola Liling lead the ritual for the protection babies that involved burning of charcoal, called TO-OB. We had a ritual when I had my first period. We had a ritual during Holy Friday. At 3 pm, after "Jesus died", she would very lightly pat us with the palms from Palm Sunday. This was to drive the demons away.

Valentines was the day of my dad. He would bring flowers and chocolates to our school. Then, he would take my mom on a date. 

Christmas and New Years were under the jurisdiction of my mom. It started from the day she decked the house with festive decors down to the opening of gifts at 12 midnight. During New Years Eve, we would get metal pots and pans and bang them to make noise. We would then go to each room in the house to drive off evil spirits

These simple rituals are part of my childhood. The moment I got my own house, I stopped going home for Christmas and New Years because I wanted to start my own Rites and Rituals. 

My in-laws don't have much rituals for Christmas and New Years. They just eat very good food. I actually feel shy to impose or invite them to partake on my crazy traditions. However, they are very strong advocates of Chinese Traditions like Ting Hun, Ke Tseng,which my family never observed. I'm lucky to be part of both worlds.

The book really made me remember my childhood and made me look forward to the many more celebrations I will have in life with my husband and our own family someday.

How about you, what are your most memorable Rites and Rituals?

Having a great day,


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