All my life I have known myself to be habitual. I have always liked my life to have a foundation of routine, rhythm and ritual. It’s not that I don’t like change or spontaneity, on the contrary I embrace change especially when I know that it supports the whole (myself & others). My habitual tendencies haven’t always been a positive thing as they sometimes would turn into addictive behaviours, but that’s another blog post.
So what is a ritual?
Oxford dictionary has given a couple of meanings stating that it’s
“A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order”
“ A series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone” (https://en.oxforddictionary.com)
In recent years I have come to learn that my rituals are a regular practice that just make things work or flow. My rituals are something that sets a foundation for the next moment. An order of things that bring stability and a marker to my daily life. Rituals once firmly established eventually become just a part of our daily lives or cycles. If lovingly applied or practiced it does not become a chore or just another task done on auto pilot, conscious presence is most definitely required. A ritual is a practice I can feel with every particle of my body and being that brings steadiness and flow to my body and daily rhythms.
Why are they important?
Simple really and I have already mentioned their purpose. It brings stability. Rituals allow you to re-connect, affirm and confirm. Rituals set a marker in you to remind you of your delicateness while bringing you a stop moment. I am still very much in the deepening phase of this quality in my life. I am taking the current supportive rituals that I have mastered and then deepening or building on them, particularly around the subject of self-care.
There is a certain quality of energy that comes with rituals that I am discovering or rather returning to. This quality resonates deeply with my body and the way in which I care for it. I know that when I might stray from my rituals I can drop in areas of dis-regard. Rituals seem to offer a quality of repose for example: I like to be sure that I am in bed by 8:30pm winding down ready to be asleep by around 9pm. I feel supported when I read during that time or practice a few moments of mediation. This sets a foundation for my next day. It means I am more likely to have quality sleep and arise the next morning with the sun and feel steady and ready for another day knowing that I have the energy and the clarity to respond to any situation throughout the day with grace. If something has happened through out the day that has thrown me a little off for the day, I know that I can practice this ritual again that evening and it will offer me the "stop" moment so I can resolve my day and not carry the anxiety of that incident into my sleep and the following day. If I don’t return to that ritual in the evening and find myself choosing to do something not supportive of me because I simply dont to feel into my day and resolve it, I find myself doing the following. Coming home, checking out on my phone or watching a couple of hours of TV and then after those stimulating activities have drained me I drag myself off to bed, have a restless sleep not only because I have indulged in mindless, energy sucking, distractions, I have also not taken the “stop” moment to check in with myself and resolve any reactions I may have gone into throughout the day. I then wake up the next morning from a restless sleep even more tired requiring caffeine (I drink decaf but the comfort level is the same) or sugar to get me going which then sets me up for an even more draining day. Draining because I have gone into reaction over something the day before. Draining because I have used entertainment to distract me. Draining because I took this into my sleep. So, you can see here the sort of momentum a supportive ritual can bring you when applied lovingly and just how much I need to return to my rituals (repose) to bring a true quality to every moment thereafter. You can also see here where practicing thesw
supportive rituals shoe a deep level of regard for self and essentially even others as I am not bringing a tired, exhausted, reactive, distracted, anxious body to other people.
I could give many more examples but I feel like this is one that many people can relate to.
So why not use this opportunity to see what rituals you have implemented in your life, what is working and what is not. Get really honest about it. What practices do you have in your life that bring you vitality and clarity? What series of actions brings you back to yourself that you know will take you into your next day or even your next moment with steadiness and solidarity?
I know that returning to these rituals and setting them as a marker in my day helps me to deepen my connection with myself allowing me to then support others and reflect their innate ability to do the same for themselves.
I LOVE RITUALS