Memento Mori Roller Coaster Ritual

Part of my practice is to find memento mori rituals in daily (and not-so-daily) activities. Whether it’s sporadic, regular, spontaneous or planned, the simple act/thought of acknowledging the reality of mortality is good medicine. A lot of that has to do with accepting loss of control.

Roller coasters offer an almost unique opportunity to practice letting go. Once you’re in your seat, barring an emergency, you’re there until the ride ends. Panic will avail you naught. You can still choose the way you experience the ride, though.

There are “float moments” on any good coaster where you can, by relaxing your mind and muscles, literally experience zero gravity. There are also moments when the G-force is much more intense than usual, and that’s when I grab the safety bar, tense my muscles and yell.

By ritualizing my ride, balancing tension and release, I walk away from every coaster feeling lighter and happier than when I started, somehow both calm and energized. It’s a temporary state of grace, and maybe there’s a life lesson there.

I hope it works for you.

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