Commitment Rituals

Yesterday when I made public my profession of love for Boston, several folks responded with some insightful reflections on the nature of commitment to place.

I should add that it took me six years to finally say “I love you”, which indicates the commitment issues I’ve been having. It’s also a bit frustrating that I finally have reached this point just as I begin to face the possibility of a major move in the next year or two (provided I actually finish my dissertation and get a job of some kind). But I’ve decided that when I leave, I want to miss this place rather than hedge my bets now in order to make the process of leaving easier.

I agree with Jarret and Jean’s suggestion that the marriage analogy has it’s limits in this context. Lorianne makes these limits more clear she wonders if moving=divorce or loving two places = bigamy. However, I think Pica’s idea of having some kind of ritual that reflects one’s commitment to place is worth considering. It seems blogging about place is a kind daily ritual of commitment (in the same we have daily ways of signaling commitment to those we are with), but something more formal would be interesting.

Perhaps such a ritual is particularly important for those of us who have nomadic tendencies, who are trying to rediscover a deep sense of place, or who are compelled for whatever reason to move often. The challenge for us is to figure out what our ethical, spiritual, and artistic responsiblities are to a place no matter whether we live there for two years or twenty. And in some ways, it’s the two years that’s the real challenge.

Any thoughts on what rituals of place commitment might look like? To what extent is writing part of this process? I may have to think about this a bit more.


One response to “Commitment Rituals”

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    Thanks for this insightful essay, Jarrett. I’ve got to digest it a bit before I respond…more about this soon.