There are certain words in our every day vocabulary that we might associate with a particular religion or religion in general. And that may cause some of us to have a panic attack – or worse. One of those words for me is ritual. The word brings to mind baptisms, sacrament and weddings in which a woman has to promise away all but her own soul to a man.
A ritual “is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence.” Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Wikipedia
I would like to tell you that rituals can be so much more. And also very personal.
Sometimes rituals are for baseball pitchers before they walk onto the mound. The right socks, hair gel and sequence of two hops, a skip and a twirl. (Yeah, I totally went Mother May I on that one.)
Every time a pilot flies (we hope) he goes through a ritual of checking gauges and equipment to make sure the aircraft is ready to fly.
Sometimes rituals also include the way you wake up in the morning. Hit snooze 3 times, sit up and write morning pages, meditate for 30 minutes, take a walk, drink copious amounts of coffee while getting ready for work. (That pretty much sums up my mornings!)
Ritual can also help us when we are stuck. Recently, I was going through a difficult time seeing myself as vibrant, relevant and lively when my first son got married. I felt like I may as well roll out of bed and into my coffin. It was seriously depressing and I felt very old.
I put a call out on Facebook to my local gal pals and asked if anyone would come over and help me with a ritual to help me step over into my next phase of life. I called it a croning but you can call your ritual anything you like. I’ll tell ya, it really helped me and I’m feeling much better about myself and my life these days. It was just what I needed to move on.
We have rituals for births, birthdays, funerals and all sorts of other moments in life.
Here are some ideas for rituals that might help you when it comes to putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts.
Create a ritual for waking up in the morning or getting ready for sleep at night.
Create a ritual to welcome the changing seasons. You can repeat it each year or change it – it’s up to you.
What about a ritual to perform before visiting your mother? Something to help you feel calm and centered.
Speaking about calm and centered… how about a ritual to perform before you need to speak publicly or go to the dentist?
You see, rituals can help us move from one phase of life to another, help us face unpleasant moments or even help us to calm down and prepare for a good nights sleep. Rituals can help us mark the years, the seasons and even the phases of our life. Life passes us by so quickly and ritual helps us slow down and be present in the moment.
NOW. What types of rituals do you think you might like to try?