When I take a look at how my life is compared to how I want it to be, there are certainly some missing pieces. One of the things I keep coming back to is the lack of rituals in my life. “Ritual” isn’t a word said all that often so a variety of images could be coming up for you right now. What I’m thinking about when I refer to Rituals is basically a routine with a positive intention.
I have memories of rituals in most of the places I’ve lived. In Scottsdale, I would walk to the Coffee Bean & Tea Life and then browse around Pier 1 or World Market with my soy latte. In Dallas, I would go for a run at White Rock Lake, get some breakfast tacos, then turn on ABC Family and take a nap to the hum of a movie marathon.
These may seem like habits or routines but they were much more than that. Let’s take a closer look at Scottsdale.
My move to Scottsdale was the first move I didn’t want to make. I was currently in Connecticut with an incredible social life that I didn’t want to give up. So I made an agreement with myself. When I moved to Scottsdale I was going to leave my apartment everyday, and no going to work didn’t count. The goal was to make sure I didn’t end up feeling sorry for myself but also to make sure I got out and explored my new city. Now coffee and window shopping might not seem like exploring, but it became a weekend ritual. I would walk around the stores imagining my dream home and how I would decorate it and at least for a moment could let go of my FOMO. It was incredibly relaxing.
When I look at my life now, I don’t see many rituals. I absolutely have a lot of habits and routines but I don’t have a Ritual that intentionally do to get me to a specific positive emotion: excitement, joy, peace, etc.
One Ritual I am working on is around Meditation. I am trying to start a meditation practice and I don’t want it to seem like a chore, just waiting for it to be over, constantly checking how much time is left, as I have so often done int he past. So I’m working on the ritual. I create an “altar” by gathering objects that seem peaceful to me - a candle, a little Buddha statue, a heart shaped stone. And I’ve assigned a chair the role of meditation chair. This way I feel more inspired. There is a positive intention to the meditation instead of a just checking it off my list.
Here are 3 easy steps to create your own ritual:
- GET INSPIRED!! Think about your current life. How can you bring a positive intention to something that might be an existing routine or habit? Take inventory of your week - how are you spending your time and how do you wish you were spending your time?
- MAKE A PLAN!!! Your new Ritual is well…New! So in order to make sure you follow the routine you need a plan. Schedule some time in your calendar for your Ritual so you don’t forget. Even think about writing out a plan and put it on the fridge. This way you have some notes to remind you of your intentions.
- STAY CURIOUS!! Be aware of what’s working and what’s not. There may be a whole variety of things keeping you from your Ritual. For me when this happens I can go down a downward spiral to crazy town real fast. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I have a Ritual?!?!? Deep breaths! In reality, all this means is you just need to make some adjustments. If your Ritual is taking too much time think about how you can condense it, if you find you’re too tired for your Ritual on a Friday night reschedule it for a time when you’re typically more awake. Then rewrite your plan and keep going until you find what works for you!
- Bonus: Come back here and let me know how it goes!