The Power of Rituals
Ahhh…rituals, routines, daily habits…do you have any of these? Creating a “morning routine” is a bit of a buzz word these days in the blogging world, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just mornings!
Personally, I find a lot of comfort and empowerment in having routines or rituals in place for other times and today, I want to start the conversation to share why these can change your life and let you take a peek at my various rituals (but that will come on Thursday!). Hopefully, you will feel inspired to branch out and try a few of your own!
What is a Ritual
If you look up the definition of ‘ritual’, it typically centers around religion, but it doesn’t have to tie into anything religious. The definition I like from dictionary.com is:
If ‘ritual’ is a scary word for you or triggers something, don’t use it. You could easily replace it with routine, practice, habit, etc. The word is just semantics so don’t get lost there. The magic lies in the practice of what you’re doing, so call it whatever makes your heart sing.
I happen to like the word ‘ritual’. I love the mystery and intrigue it suggests, so that’s my personal preference.
But, to get back to the question of what is a ritual...
It’s spicing up what you may normally do to make it more enjoyable and meaningful.
For me, 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!).
Let's consider a quick example...
Perhaps you already have a habit of giving yourself an at-home facial and mani/pedi on Sunday afternoons. That's a wonderful weekly practice or routine. To turn this into a ritual, you could jazz it up by lighting candles, playing soft music, weaving in some short meditations or journaling, etc. Do that and BOOM! You've got yourself a ritual!
You can also create daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal practice that allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level. This is what I’ve done and I can already feel the growth in myself and the awakening from within.
The Difference between Routine & Ritual
Okay…yes, I said you could replace ‘ritual’ with ‘routine’ if the word ritual makes you squirm a little in your seat. You can absolutely do that, but let’s take a minute to get crystal clear on the difference between something that is routine and something that is a ritual.
Aside from my previous example of jazzing up an at-home solo pampering party, let’s say you go for a run every morning. You get up, throw on your running shoes, and race out the door. That’s a wonderful routine…a daily habit that wakes you up, energizes you, and keeps you in great shape. But, it’s likely not a ritual.
You can, however, easily turn that into a ritual.
Remember, a ritual is something that is routine that you’ve made special. I’m not a runner, so maybe this isn’t the best example for me to try to spice up because, honestly, there’s nothing I find appealing about running! :)
But let me give it a try just for fun, okay?
Let’s say before you race out the door, you add in some essential oils so you can breathe in peace, calm, or beauty while you're running. Or, maybe you switch out your playlist to something more soul soothing. Perhaps instead of just blindly running your typical route, you start to look up and notice the trees and the world around you so you're more in the moment and connecting with nature. Maybe taking all of this in allows you to upgrade a normal, routine jog and make it into a practice that allows you to reach deeper into your soul and connect with yourself on a different level every single morning.
Do you see the difference?
The Benefits of Rituals
On Thursday, I'll share my own personal rituals, but before we get that to, let’s briefly chat about the benefits of establishing some routines or rituals in your life.
Whether you create a ritual around moving your body, writing out your thoughts and feelings, or taking time out for some peaceful alone time, the beauty of a ritual is that it establishes some habits in your life. You don’t have to pencil it onto your calendar because you automatically carve out that time because it’s part of your daily life.
Allows you to take time for yourself
Not that all of your rituals have to be solo activities…if you have a partner, establishing a ritual that involves both of you could be a really beautiful thing (I’m single, so I’ll just imagine this as something a guy would be open to!). But, in general, most of your rituals will likely revolve around just you, and that’s the beauty of them. It allows you to take time for yourself. Most women I know are in desperate need of more time to themselves and rituals wrap it up and present it to you like a wonderful gift.
Connect with yourself on a deeper, more intentional level
I’ve already alluded to this, but most rituals will allow you to connect with yourself on a deeper level. Turning inward and getting to know yourself better allows you to grow in so many different directions. You will open up to things about yourself that you never could've imagined. As you lean into your rituals, you will change and deepen as a person. You will become a higher version of yourself. Your actions and your choices will start to become a true reflection of who you are on a deeper level and those choices will resonate deeper within yourself. You will feel more alive as you move through life more intentionally.
As you connect with yourself on that deeper level, you won’t be able to stop yourself from growing and expanding. You will know yourself better, so you’ll be more in touch with your beliefs, your core values, your desires, your fears, and your truths. Most people think they know themselves, but they’re only operating at a surface level. They live in their heads and they actually have no idea what they really want and who they really are. By creating some intentional rituals, you dive deeper and you expand yourself as a result (it’s actually fun…I promise!).
Makes life more fun
On a lighter note…having some rituals in place just makes life more fun. I mean, seriously, think about it: turning something routine (i.e. boring) into something special (i.e. fun) is a wonderful upgrade to your life! Think of all the boring routine things you do every day…how can you make them special? Can you see how much more fun life could be if you just add in that extra spice?
Types of Rituals
You can create rituals around anything. The example I mentioned earlier involved ritualizing your morning run, so you can make it around something physical, but also around something spiritual, mental, emotional, or simply because it’s fun.
The sky really is the limit.
Remember, it’s simply taking something routine and injecting a little magic.
On Thursday, I’ll be opening my door to you and sharing all of my rituals to really spark your imagination.
In the meantime, here’s a list of ideas of where you might want to add in a little magic and create a ritual:
- Morning ritual to start your day with intention
- Evening ritual to close out your day with gratitude, peace, and/or reflection
- Weekly ritual to plan a successful, intentional, meaningful week
- Monthly ritual to take stock of what worked in the past month and to establish fresh energy for the new month
- Seasonal ritual to make peace with the outgoing season and to welcome in a new season and it’s changes
- New or Full Moon rituals to connect with the moon cycle and shift your energy accordingly
- Physical movement ritual to add in more intention and reflection during a workout (the ultimate in mind-body connection!)
- Rituals to honor your body to respect yourself more deeply and appreciate all your body has to offer (i.e. an at home facial, mani/pedi, salt scrub, etc.)
- Self-reflective rituals to help you discover what's hidden underneath your protective armor (i.e. meditation + journaling)
I could seriously go on and on with ideas, but I think you get the picture. You can ritualize anything.