A Peek Into My Rituals
Hey you…are you feeling a little bored with the monotony of life?
Are you wanting to find a little bit more spice in your life? Looking to inject a bit of magic into your daily routine?
Have you considered adding some rituals to mix it up and upgrade your life?
Now before you run away, let me assure you that I’m not talking about black magic, voodoo, or anything like that (although, I do think a voodoo doll would come in handy from time to time #justsayin).
All I’m suggesting is taking routine things in your life and jazzing them up a bit to make them special and meaningful to you.
That’s all…I promise!
On Tuesday, I talked a bunch about rituals. I defined what they mean to me, outlined the benefits they can bring to your life, and provided a list of ideas of where you can add in rituals to get more out of your life.
Today, we’re taking it one step further and I’m going to open my door and welcome you into my personal space to share my rituals with you!
Who doesn’t love a good behind-the-scenes peek into someone else’s life, right?
You don’t need to do my rituals (although you are certainly welcome to), but I hope it sparks a few ideas and allows you to explore some new rituals for yourself.
What is a Ritual
Before we get started, let’s take a short stroll down memory lane to Tuesday’s post for a quick reminder on what a ritual is...
While there are definitely some religious overtones and attachments to the word ritual, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with that unless you want it to. The definition of ritual on dictionary.com that I most identify with is…
As I mentioned on Tuesday, in order for something to become a ritual, I believe it needs to embody these three things:
1) It allows you to connect more with yourself
2) It allows you to be more conscious of all you have in your life (i.e. gratitude and/or appreciation)
3) It allows you to firmly be in the present moment (no distractions, social media, cell phones, or computers involved!).
As a friendly reminder, if the word ritual triggers something for you or you feel resistance to it, then don’t use it. It’s just a word. Feel free to use another word that you more easily connect to…there’s no right or wrong here!
The most common ritual that a lot of people practice is a morning routine. There’s books, blog posts, articles, etc. floating around to tell you how to start your morning to have a more meaningful day. I’m not going to belabor this idea…I love it and I do it, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
My morning routine, or ritual, is where I first dipped my toes into the world of rituals. I’ve tweaked, abandoned it, and modified it until I finally landed on a series of intentional actions I do every morning to get my day started.
This year, I’m part of a women’s life mastermind group and several months ago, our coach challenged us to create more rituals, so I took on that challenge with gusto!
In the process, I turned several things I was already doing in my life into rituals and established a few new ones, as well.
Before I dive into these, let me first say that I don’t necessarily do all of these all of the time. If I did that, I wouldn’t get anything else done!
I have various rituals established so when I need them, I can use them...I think of them as being contained in a toolbox where I can pull out the perfect tool when I most need it. With that said, I do several of these on a regular basis because they mean the most to me and make the most difference in my life. But, even with those, I don’t always have the time to do every single step I’m outlining here. If I have the time, I do it, if I don’t I modify and do what I need the most in that moment.
These are not rules that I have established for myself. These are guidelines. I let my life and my needs dictate what my actions around my various practices. I do not stress over what I leave out…that is not the objective.
My morning ritual is, by far, my FAVORITE ritual and one that I pretty much do every single day (the only exceptions are when I have to be somewhere really early or I have trouble falling asleep, so I need the extra sleep in the morning). This morning practice has allowed me to start each day at a gentle pace, clear my head, and set strong intentions for my day.
I love mornings, but I don’t like bouncing out of bed and hitting the ground running at full speed the second I wake up. I need time to ease into my day. My ritual honors this need and provides me with the ability to start my day on my terms so I set myself up for a more productive and meaningful day.
So, what do I do in the mornings?
Before anything else, I make a hot cup of coffee, because, well…you know…coffee. Then I crawl back into bed, light a candle on my nightstand, and fire up some soft music (typically a yoga/meditation station on Spotify). I prefer doing my morning ritual from my bed because it's warm and cozy (my home tends to be cold most of the time). Plus, it doesn't feel like I'm getting up so early!
I start out my day by journaling. Feelings, reflections on the previous day, worries I have for the upcoming day, etc. all go onto the page and out of my head. Some days I don’t need this step, but typically, I write about 2 pages, although I don’t limit myself or strive to hit a certain page count. I just write until I feel my head and heart clear.
Then, I move onto my favorite morning journaling exercise. I start a fresh page in my journal and at the top, I write “Today, I am choosing to believe…”. Then I fill the page with whatever I am choosing to believe that day. I limit myself to just one page and let my pen fly. Sometimes I know what I want to believe that day before I start writing. Sometimes, I have no idea what to believe, but that doesn’t stop me from putting pen to paper and seeing what comes out (and usually those days are the best ones!).
If I’m feeling particularly challenged about something in my life, or I’ve been harboring limiting beliefs, I will choose to believe that I am entirely capable or deserving of whatever it is that’s troubling me. Other times, it may be something I am choosing to believe about the world (i.e. the morning after the election last week, I wrote that I was choosing to believe there was still kindness in our world).
My daily choose-to-believes are some of my most powerful journaling.
Oracle Card Draw
I love love love Tarot and Oracle cards. I have a preference for Tarot cards, but I don’t have time to do a spread every morning. Instead, I use the Sacred Rebel Oracle deck by Alana Fairchild. I adore this deck. I feel such a connection to it and it never fails to give me insight and guidance. It’s not uncommon for the card I draw to be an extension of what I’ve just written in my choose-to-believe entry. It’s freaky and cool like that!
Depending on what I wrote in my choose-to-believe, sometimes I have a specific question that I ask before I pull a card. If I don’t have a specific question, I just ask for general guidance for the day.
I then read the overview in the accompanying guide book and jot down anything that resonates with me in my journal.
Recently, I’ve added a second card pull to my ritual. I’ve been studying Goddess archetypes and acquired the Goddess Guidance Oracle deck by Doreen Virtue. I ask what Goddess I need to embody for the day, draw a card, and read through the guidebook to take in what I need to know.
If the cards are particularly meaningful for me, I’ll carry them with me throughout the day and even prop them up on my monitor at work.
Reflection on Card Pulls
If I have time and there are thoughts swirling in my head after reading the Oracle guidebooks, I will journal a bit more…about two pages…to reflect on what I’ve uncovered. Typically, for this part, I like to have a conversation with my intuition to really get into what is underlying my thoughts.
I definitely don’t do this part every day, but when something is bubbling under the surface that is wanting to be explored, this is my favorite way to get to the bottom of it.
Mantra & Challenge
After reading through my Oracle cards, I like to pick a mantra for the day and sometimes a challenge for myself around this mantra. For example, maybe I’ll select “Find love in the challenging moments” as my mantra and my challenge might be “When faced with a challenge, stop and find something beneficial about that moment or challenge.” (I just made those up while writing this, so that’s not exactly something I’ve used, but you get the idea).
This gives me the ability to focus in on what I need for the day and to challenge myself to grow.
I don’t typically have time for this, but if I am up extra early, I love to take about 5 minutes to meditate and use my mala beads to seal in my mantra. This can be particularly grounding and really helps to keep my mantra (or keyword from my mantra) at the forefront of my mind throughout the day. Repeating it 108 times tends to have that effect!
Personal Development Reading
I generally have a few personal development books that I am in the process of reading and I love to set aside about 15 minutes in the mornings to read. Otherwise, I tend to never carve out enough time and my stack of must read books grows and grows!
I know this sounds like a LOT and it is, which is why I don’t do all of these every single day. I have on some occasions, but realistically, it’s bit more than I can commit to every morning, but that is okay! I have a toolkit of enriching morning practices that I can pull from to meet my time and needs every single morning.
At a bear minimum, I do the choose-to-believe journal page and my card draws. I usually have time to add in one or two other things, but that’s about it and that’s perfectly fine by me.
My evening ritual is not quite as involved as my morning ritual (that’s actually the case for the rest of my rituals!). I don’t do this every single night. Most times, I’m just too tired, but I’m trying to get better at going to bed about 30 minutes earlier so I do have time to do some of these every night.
As with my morning ritual, this is a toolbox of options. I don’t try to tick off every one of these when I do engage in my nightly ritual.
Yes, sometimes I journal both in the mornings and the evening! If I journal at night, I typically recount some of what happened in my day and write out any frustrations, fears, or concerns. Doing this typically allows me to skip this part of my journaling the next morning. I call this my ‘evening download’.
Gratitudes & Appreciations
After journaling, I like to quickly write out a list of what I'm grateful for, or what I'm currently appreciating in my life. It's a great way to end the day and to push off any negative thoughts from a challenging day. It refocuses you on everything that is right in your life which helps to minimize everything that isn't.
Meditation & Prayer
I’ll be honest, I typically forget about these! When I do remember, I do find them to be really beautiful practices. I love to use a Metta meditation in the evenings to connect with friends and family. Then, I’ll say a short prayer. I am not religious and I don’t subscribe to a particular organized religion (to each his own). But, I do feel strongly that prayer is a powerful tool for connecting with the universe, so I do like to put forth a prayer before lights out.
Personal Development Reading
Much like in the morning, I love to carve out another 10-15 minutes to read more of whatever personal development book I’m in the middle of reading.
As I mentioned, I don’t do this every single night, but I do a variation of it about 3-4 times a week (typically just the journaling and reading). As with my morning ritual, I love to light a candle and soften the lights while soft, soothing music plays. I also love to spritz some lavender essential oil to promote tranquility and relaxation. When I do take the time to engage in this ritual, I typically fall asleep instantly and sleep peacefully through the night.
New week Ritual
I’m a planner. I love nothing more than to plan something…anything. So, every single Sunday, I plan my week. I won’t lie…I get a thrill out of writing down what I want to accomplish and yes, even planning can be turned into a beautiful ritual.
Plan My Week
Typically, I pull out my calendar, my monthly goal list, and my to-do notebook. Within about 10 minutes, I have my objectives lined up for the week which makes me feel more empowered and less scatter brained.
Plan My Mindset
I like to take my planning a step further and usually, I’ll pull out my journal and read back over the various Oracle card notes from my daily draws from the past week. I love to glean some additional insight that I might’ve missed in the moment. From this, I like to create a mindset goal for the week. This helps me to stay focused on getting out of my own way and limiting the trash talk in my head.
If I have time and I’m feeling particularly curious, I’ll do a Tarot card spread, but I don’t do this too often (but, it’s a tool in my toolbox!).
I also love to take time to apply a face mask, hair mask, and if needed, an at-home manicure. I love to do all of this with soothing music playing and again, my favorite candles burning. I turn my phone on do not disturb and I just enjoy a little pampering time while thinking about what I'm appreciating in life and to what I hope to accomplish in the week ahead.
New month ritual
Similar to my new week ritual, I like to carve out time to plan my month as the end of the month approaches. Also, like my weekly planning, I like to make it special by adding in a few extra goodies.
Plan My Month
I use Lara Casey’s Powersheets and love, love, love taking the time to reflect back on my previous month before planning my new month.
As with my weekly planning, I feel a sense of inner peace when I have all of my goals and objectives for the month ahead on paper.
I do tend to do this every month. After I finish my Powersheets, I pull out one of my Tarot decks and do a spread for the month ahead. I love to gain additional clarity around what I’m capable of and what I need to release and the Tarot cards are a fun way to look at things from a new perspective.
New season ritual
I just started this ritual with the arrival of Autumn in September, but I definitely plan to do this one as each new season arrives going forward.
Seasonal Magic List
To kick off a new season, I love to list out everything I would like to do during the season that would allow me to fully embrace it. You may think of it like a bucket list since it’s not chores or things that need to be done.
This is the magical fun list! It’s the list that allows me to remember to live in the moment.
I refer to this when I’m planning my month each month.
As with the new month, I love to do a Tarot spread for new seasons. I’ve actually been doing this all year and it was what influenced me to grow my new season ritual a bit more.
Sage the House
This is new addition, but I love the idea of cleansing my home with sage to start a new season. After lighting the sage, I start at my front door and wave it around every room, every corner, etc. Out with the old energy and in with the new! It doesn’t get more magical than that (plus it makes the house smell amazing)!
The Impact Rituals have had on my Life
Sooooo….that’s a lot of rituals, right?
But, like I said, I don’t do all of these every single day. I listen to my heart, mind, and body and pick what I need in that moment. I do tend to do a variation of these at the designated ‘times’ (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, etc.), but I don’t beat myself up if I skip it or don’t have time to do it right as the calendar flips or the day ends.
It’s all okay!!
But, having practiced these for the better part of this year (to varying degrees), I can see the positive impact they’ve had on my life.
In general, I feel more grounded, more deeply connected with my thoughts/feelings, more intentional in my actions and choices, more open to new ideas or ways of being (especially with my daily choose-to-believe journal practice), and more productive (what’s important to me is now at the forefront, so I make more conscious effort to achieve these most days).
Furthermore, it helps me get back on track when I fall off course. For example, as I shared earlier this month, October was a hard month for me and I got off track on pretty much everything, except my morning ritual which was a HUGE help. The rituals kept me grounded and allowed me to explore what was going on with myself. I didn’t just throw up my hands at the hard stuff and avoid it, which was the old me. I waded through it and kept going. I stayed connected with what was important to me. As the cloud lifted and life returned to normal as November opened up, I was able to get back on track so much faster and pick up where I left off without beating myself up (also not how the old me would’ve behaved). I exhibited compassion for myself and extended myself an extended period of down time because I knew it was what I needed.
As with anything, if you are feeling drawn towards making some rituals for yourself, make it what you want…it doesn't need to have any sort of religious or woo-woo overtones.
My rituals tend to center heavily around journaling and planning because that’s me. You don’t need to do exactly what I do (or even any of what I do!).
It may take trial and error to get it where it works for you….all of my rituals above took some massaging to get it where it is now. Over time, they’ll continue to change and evolve as I do. Some will go into retirement when they’re no longer needed and I’ll establish new ones as new needs arise.
The key is the more you get to truly know yourself, the more you fine tune your rituals to work in alignment with who you are and what you need. Be patient with yourself and be open to new things
It took time to get to this place, but it does work. Rituals can help you soften your edges and embrace yourself in the warm hug you need.