We are who we are today because of the choices we have made in our life. As humans, we are creatures of habit. In this fast paced life of ours, our habits come as a breeze of fresh air since our brain has evolved to manage the chaotic mess by having us fall into a habit. As Warren Buffet puts it, “Chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken”.
Rituals are, however, a subtle extension of our habits. They are often used interchangeably with habits but in essence are quite different. A habit is something you form unconsciously and not think about. They just happen as you go. A ritual, on the other hand, takes your full attention into it. It’s mindful. The meaning behind the task transcends the purpose of your actions, therefore the most important part of creating a ritual is the purpose behind it. They can be very specific to the individual creating them, since they are created with a very specific purpose in mind. Do you want to feel better and are creating a ritual of exercising or rising up early in the morning, or do you want to start your day with a ritual of meditation for clarity of mind throughout the day?
By keeping the time of your ritual consistent everyday, you empower yourself and establish sacred meaning to those hours. Marking time and space for your ritual gives it more meaning and endows it with power. It does not matter if the time of your ritual is 4am or 4pm, the important thing is, that its happening the same time everyday, or is consistent with a specific action. E.g my mother had a ritual of having us eat a bite of yogurt before leaving our home to do something important, like an exam or an interview. This is a common ritual in India and may not be consistent with time, but is consistent with a specific event.
The important of rituals come into play because they make us feel safe and protected. By making time for what you want to do, you accredit yourself and the task in hand. Personally for me, they keep me going. I have a ritual of making my bed first thing after getting out of the bed in the morning and its a signal to my body to get the day started. Something as trivial as this brings focus and attention to the moment. Another one for me is sipping my coffee or tea in the afternoon while watching the birds or squirrels outside. My days are packed with so much activity, considering that I am a mom, a business owner, a writer and home maker, that taking out 10 mins of my day to sip my chai in peace while doing something as mundane as watching squirrels gives my mind and body the necessary reset for the rest of the day. these rituals and many more, have been a part of my life for many years and I find comfort in them, They tell me my day has been going as per my plan and that everything is in place as it should be.
Honoring the rituals in your life, empowers them. And anything that is empowered has the right energy to keep you going. Rituals are important, for our mental and physical wellbeing. Many families have bed time rituals for their children, including my own. Bath, brush, read, chat, pray and sleep sets a tone for my kids to let their bodies know to kick in melatonin and drift away to slumber land. Choosing to be mindful and present for your rituals makes them sacred. Rituals are powerful since they help us establish routines, providing the much needed structure to our days and lives. They provide comfort because they remind us we’re not alone. I would like to sign off with a beautiful quote by Stan Jacob, ” The quality of your life is in direct relationship to the quality of your habits and rituals”
Love and Light