The Rhythm & Rituals of the Beloved Community of Tikkun Farm

Why Rhythm?
Wayne Mueller begins his book, Sabbath, by naming the pervasiveness of rhythm. “There is a rhythm in our waking activity and the body’s need for rest. There is a rhythm in the way the day dissolves into night, and night into morning… There is tidal rhythm, a deep, eternal conversation between the land the great sea.” To live through a year, is to be submerged in a whole series of cycles which are all interrelated and influenced by one another. At the most basic level, we live within the rhythm of the universe as our planet moves around the sun. With every orbit our bodies grow; our lives encounter new milestones. This larger rhythm dictates seasonal rhythms that shape the growing season, the celebration of the sacred seasons, the daily rhythms of light and dark, work and rest. 

Rhythm provides order and sanctifies time. The longing and need for rhythm are pervasive and universal. The Jewish celebration of the Sabbath speaks to the power of Rhythm to shape, hold and give meaning to people. “During Sabbath the Jews, by keeping sacred rest, could maintain their spiritual ground wherever they were, even in protracted exile from their own country. ‘It was not Israel that kept the Sabbath,’ it is said, ‘but the Sabbath kept Israel.’” 

Why Ritual?
Rituals are practices that gather us, grow us, heal us. They orient us and name important moments in our life story. Rituals matter especially during times of transition when a person’s role and identity are shifting. Rituals carry us across thresholds into adulthood, marriage, and parenthood, when we find ourselves divorced or widowed, and on into retirement. They welcome us into the world, and shepherd as we’re leaving. Some rituals mark the moments in our sacred communal story, and family rituals, like saying grace and birthday/anniversary celebrations, remind us how sacred our everyday life is. Rituals strengthen the community that shares in them because they create moments of connection and a shared narrative. 

Rhythm and Ritual Belong Together
Rhythm, like a clock, creates the order that rituals need to occur. Rituals, the numbers on the clock, sanctify time with prayers and blessing, festivals, confessions, welcomings and good-byes. Together they create a sacred order that holds us and grows us. 

The Rhythms and Rituals of the Community at Tikkun Farm 
There are common rhythms and practices that help us grow into our wise mind. While some rituals are practiced individually and others are shared communally, the fact that we practice them, wherever we are, reminds us that we share a common journey. In addition to rituals that support pilgrims on the growing path, Tikkun Farm offers additional opportunities for worship, prayer, and spiritual practice that nurture the spiritual lives pilgrims.

Rhythm and Ritual for Pilgrims on the Path of Becoming Fully Human
These rhythms and rituals serve two purposes:

  1. To support the work of growing into our fully human selves by engaging in spiritual practices, and
  2. To support pilgrims by offering opportunities to gather and celebrate with others consciously doing this same work

Daily Rhythm
Centering Prayer/Meditation (ideally twice a day, once is good)
Gratitude (name at least five specific experiences that blessed your day)

Weekly Rhythm
Sabbath (choose a day of the week when you will rest, play, create and not live by a schedule)

Monthly Rhythm
Community Meal (2x/month) (a time to cook together, share our stories, break bread and bless one another)
Community Work (an opportunity to do more together, than we can do alone)
Community Sacred Gathering* (meditation, chanting, reflection)
Anam Cara (meeting monthly with a spiritual companion or spiritual director)

Seasonal Rhythm

  • Annual Community Retreat (communal time for rest, play, prayer and study with a Wisdom focus)
  • Annual Silent Retreat (a personal retreat) 

Book Study, Discussion & Reflection (shared reading that helps us shift our perception and move into our wise mind)

Rhythms for the Human Journey
Blessings of Welcomings and Good-byes for those choosing the Wisdom Path

Additional Rhythms and Rituals Over the Long Season on the Farm 

Daily Rhythm
Yoga (offered morning and evening) 

Weekly Rhythm
Sacred Circle (a participatory sacred gathering with shared reflection)

Monthly Rhythm
Soul Collage (a contemplative, creative process for listening for our deeper truth)
Lunar Drum Circle (an opportunity to the honor presence of God in creation)

Seasonal Rhythm

  • New Year’s Retreat (a sacred way to review the year & set intentions for the year ahead)
  • Lent Retreat (discern a discipline and invite God to be at work in you for 40 days) 
  • Sabbath Retreat (consider the gift of Sabbath and ways to practice it)
  • Creativity Retreat (how do we practice creativity in our life and work?)
  • Elements Retreat (honoring mysteries at seasonal transitions)

Quiet Days

  • Advent (time to ask the question, “Where is Love being born in me?”)
  • Lent (a reflection on the gifts that come only from struggle and suffering)
  • Easter (a time to consider how endings are making room for new beginnings)
  • Sabbath (a time to practice some Sabbath disciplines)
  • All Hallows Eve (opening up to a thin place in time and considering how we remain in community with those who’ve gone home to God)

Creation Celebrations

  • Winter and Summer Solstice (an opportunity to honor the presence of Love in creation, and consider the gifts of Light and Dark)
  • Spring and Fall Equinox (reflections on what shifts in us as we move toward Light and Dark)
  • Blessing of the Fields/Seeds (blessing the farmers at Tikkun Farm, and our own seeds)
  • Thanksgiving for the Harvest (Community meal and blessing with our farmers)

Blessing of the Animals (celebrating our animal companions) 

Rhythms for the Human Journey
Blessings for Life Milestones (rituals for weddings, funerals, coming of age, divorce, baptism)

Some people participate in the Beloved Community by living on the farm. Others participate  by joining in our community meals and contemplative practices. If you’d like to become a part of this community, contact Mary here.
1. Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (New York: Harper Collins, 2006). 229.
2. Henry Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life (Garden City, NY: Image, 1986), 47-48.
3. Wayne Mueller. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives (New York: Bantam: 1999), 1.
4. Ibid., 9.
5. Anam Cara is Gaelic phrase meaning “soul friend”. The Celtic Church believed it was essential for a person pursing spiritual growth to have an Anam Cara. An often-repeated adage was that ‘a person without an Anam Cara, was like a body without a head.’ A person’s Anam Cara offered sacred companionship, served as a confessor and offered spiritual wisdom and guidance. Sometimes a person’s Anam Cara was older and farther down the spiritual path, other times a peer served as an Anam Cara.