Routine and Rituals in Covid-19, Part One

Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen invite Heather Stringer, a facilitator at The Allender Center, therapist, and ritual-maker, to begin a conversation about the importance of ritual and routine in a season of traumatic disruption. What does the loss of our previously held routines mean for each of us, and how can creating rituals become life-giving during this time?

Rituals and routines are not one and the same. In a sense, rituals have a way of interrupting our day-to-day routines in order to mark a moment for memory, as significant. Throughout the episode, Heather invites us to ask questions in order to mark our day and create a meaningful ritual: What is it you need to invite yourself to? How do you let your body be present? What does your body need? A ritual does not have to be lengthy and complicated, it can be as simple as eating a meal on a picnic blanket outdoors. 

“In some ways, life has become so much simpler and at the same time so much more complex with how we schedule and maneuver through the day with everyone’s needs met.” Heather Stringer

“I find myself longing and searching for meaning, and there’s some sense of a false belief that a routine can bring meaning, so I’ve found myself thinking that I need rituals to go along with some of these more tactile things.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“Let yourself feel and name the day. When we slow down and listen to our soul, there are things we need to do, things that we need to create to give meaning to our life.” Heather Stringer

“You’re doing something physically with your world, your body, with the space that you have to mark it with a meaning that doesn’t just get glided over.” Dr. Dan Allender


If you are interested in going deeper with the resources mentioned in this podcast:

  • Read a blog post by Heather Stringer about tuning into our bodies. 
  • Listen to an episode of Makers and Mystics: Ritual Making and Performance Art.
  • Watch a presentation Heather gave at The Seattle School titled “Breaking Frozen Seas: How Rituals of the Body Transform Clients and Communities.”