ritual (rit-u-al): an act or series of acts regularly
repeated in a set precise manner; a ceremonial act or action
For most of us, a ritual is a way of connecting with ourselves for a little while, before we run out into our busy day or for unwinding when it’s time to slow down. A ritual is usually something we enjoy and that makes us happy. A ritual is grounding and helps us feel anchored in the world. It is something important to us, something that we do on a regular basis.
Ritual vs. Routine
The difference between a ritual and a routine is that with a ritual, we are fully present and aware of what we are doing. We are focused and mindful about it. We’re not just doing it because we have to. Routines you can do on autopilot. Rituals are intentional. For instance, brushing my teeth is a routine for me. I do it (twice) every day without thinking about it much. But I can totally see how it could be a ritual for someone else if it filled that need for them.
My Daily Rituals
I don’t have many daily rituals but they are very important to me. The cool thing is that I can do them anywhere, even when I’m not at home.
- My morning cup of coffee (half-decaf, preferable Fair Trade/Organic, french press, with milk). This is sacred ground. No one messes with my morning coffee ritual.
- Reading the newspaper. True confessions! I still get the paper version of the news and yes, I know that is wasteful, but it’s a ritual I grew up with and I just don’t want to give it up.
- Washing my face. You don’t want to see me before I’ve washed my face in the morning and I don’t want to see you! But seriously, I don’t feel ready to face the day until I have scrubbed my face with my special, handmade washcloth and slathered on my favorite natural, skin care products.
- Reading in bed at night. Even if I’m super tired, I like to spend a little bit of time unwinding by reading in bed. And you guessed it – I snuggle up with a real, old-fashioned book, not an electronic device (however, most of the books I read come from the library or the second-hand book store.)
Meditation is something I would love to incorporate into my daily life but so far I haven’t been successful in finding a time to do it on a regular basis. A daily meditation or yoga practice would be an excellent way to stay grounded, don’t you think? Any advice for how to get a new ritual started?
Do you have any daily rituals?