We don’t have too much ritual in our life anymore. And these life symbols which people rely on to keep their feeling of wellbeing, that life is not too bad after all, are required more and more.Disney artist, John Hench
I’m a coffee person. I love it and must have it. I actually think I may be so hardcore about it that it’s become a ritual.
SO WHICH IS IT?
It begins when my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 am and I fumble my way to the closet to find a hoodie. (I consider this my spiritual garment of choice) Making my way to the kitchen, I know the day doesn’t even come close to starting until I’ve had that first cup of liquid energy. Like millions of devotees who join me in the drinking of the go-juice, I even have a favorite coffee mug that I alone may use. And, most importantly for the purists, I “take it” black.
But, in the context of this post, the question becomes is this my mundane routine or is this my grounding ritual?
Routine is defined as performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason. While ritual is defined as an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner. Now, the two phrases that leap out at me are the terms special reason and set precise manner.
What I then ask myself as I evaluate my morning regimen is this – Is there a special reason as to why I wake up and set a precise manner for launching the day with my morning coffee?
Nope. In honest reflection, I have zero special reason for my morning pattern and that puts me squarely in the routine camp. Bummer.
But, I want a ritual and I want it bad. Why? There has to be a reason other than it sounds really cool and esoteric and I like stuff like that.
FIGURING IT ALL OUT
I think that reason is that if I create room in my life to join into a regular ritual, it offers me a set apart space that grounds me to my Source. My God. When I do this with my whole heart, my regular ritual creates comfort, peace, and consciousness in the life I am actually living.
I’ve discerned an association between my state of being in the ritual and how I then interact with the world after the ritual. I begin to take a more helpful posture with others. I’m more determined to be appreciative and grateful. And, I allow myself to be more vulnerable and authentic.
So, in my pursuit of creating ritual, I’ve found there are 3 noteworthy steps to the process. Just like a good story, there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s the same for ritual creation.
1- DRAW THE LINE – The beginning of this intentional time starts with a delineation in the before-time and the ritual-time. This is a time of preparation for the ritual. It’s the set-up. This is the best time to be reminded of the “why” in the ritual. For example – I set aside ALL ties to work and home responsibilities. My Friday at 5:00 pm ritual space must be guarded at all cost! When date night starts at it’s designated time, I’ve already gotten everything we’ll need for the evening. Because once it’s time to start, I won’t be stopping to pick up something from the store or be distracted by undone work. It’s time for me and my spouse to connect after a busy week!
2- HERE AND NOW – This middle portion of the ritual is the time of actually carrying it out. But, the goal isn’t a performance to be viewed from afar. It is an intentional attentiveness to the ritual. Appreciating each breath taken in and observing the exceptional moment that is happening. For example – On that date night, I engage with my spouse, both listening and sharing. I’ll be watching him cook while taking mental pictures of moments that are silly. I am open to setting aside any frustrations for another point in time (like the next day or just releasing them all together). I choose to steer clear of topics that may cause disagreement and settle into a space that is different than our regular life together. I am in it, to win it!
3- FINISHING WELL – This ending portion of the ritual offers me a moment of transition before I enter back into the world. Just like I prepared in the beginning, to enter in, I prepare to exit out. I am grateful for my time in my ritual space and yet allow for my routines of life to begin showing their face once again. For example, after an evening of delicious food and movie watching, my date night comes to a close with a kiss goodnight and an “I love you.” That’s the exit point. That’s the finish line.
SUPER-IMPORTANT TO KNOW
Final notes about your adventure with a ritual that’ll change everything (and made a big difference for me).
- Know what your expectations are right from the beginning. What are you seeking from the experience?
- Really embrace the idea that you are in your time of ritual and that is significant for you.
- Participate with your whole heart. Use deep breathing to clear your mind and step away from the rat race going on inside your head.
- Protect your ritual. Don’t let it erode away by scheduling things on top of it. It’s an appointment on your calendar like anything else.
- Be open to changes when necessary. Let your ritual evolve when it needs to.
- Resilience is key. If your ritual falls away, allow yourself to pick it back up again, even if significant time has passed.
Do you already have a ritual in your life? Do you want it as I do? Tell me about your process with it! I wish you well on your ritual-making journey. May your coffee be black and your ritual be wholehearted!