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how create your own rituals + discover your way back to your true self

8 Jul 2015
outside-candles
“We are what we repeatedly do.” ~Aristotle

i know it seems like having a routine, or celebrating a ritual, constricts, constrains, and suffocates us, right? we are always fighting to be free from responsibility and routine. we just want some space. to breathe. to let go + not feel locked up. to not be slaves to boredom + mundane lives.

so, why in the world would we want to introduce the idea of rituals into our lives? the very word connotes that we do something over + over again. oh, how boring.

if we go even deeper, we are actually frightened on the word: ritual .

we immediately associate with religion (and not in the good kind of way, for many of us). we imagine either we will be bored (repeatedly repeating words and prayers that make no sense), confused (by taking part in a ceremony that we don’t really get) or we are talking about people who take part in secret, dark, scary, witchy, evil things that bring about more bad than good.

just to be straight with you, when i worked in a church, i absolutely loved rituals. i was never bored or irritated. but, that’s because i knew what lay behind all of the rituals. i had studied the why, where, who, and what was taking place. and, knowing that, i felt empowered + connected to the past and to the present. the problem with religious rituals, in my opinion, is that the leaders of religious groups do not take the time to really, really explain what is happening + why – thereby, the people participating are just going through the motions and feel zero connection to the power of the ritual. just my two cents on protestant religions these days.

and, personally, in my darkest, craziest time in life, i relied on one morning ritual for an entire year to get me through. lighting a candle, reading, and journaling for about 2 hours very early every morning transformed my life. i went through the death of the old me, and journeyed into an empowered, alive new me. my life literally changed. and i never would have been ready or able to do that without unexpectedly creating my own morning ritual.

so, friends, i am here to free us from our own prejudices of trituals. i am going to suggest to us that rituals, rites, and meaningful traditions actually free us. they connect us, remind us who we are, and keep us grounded. when we know what is going on + when we get down into our souls and practice some rituals/routines in our life, we are actually slowing down, being present in the moment, connecting to our soul.

and anytime we connect to our soul, then we are being set free. you’d agree with that, wouldn’t you?

valborg-spring-fire

What is a ritual really?

definition: rituals offer us compassionate discipline where we focus our attention and energy on achieving a certain feeling. they will ground us regardless of what’s happening around us. (found on {this website})

let me break it down a bit. rituals are a habit, a repetitive action, something that we commit to with intention + meaning. it’s a bit like having a tradition. a way to bring some sacred into every day (because actually, i believe, everything, every moment is already sacred). so it’s simply learning to slow down + be aware. to take time to reflect and be fully present.

rituals do not have to be elaborate. and they can be made up my anyone anywhere. simple or complex, either works. the main point is the focus + the intention behind what you are doing.

my love + i have started to have tacos every tuesday for dinner because i want to try our as many vegetarian taco recipes as possible. and because… tacos!! that has become a ritual for us. i drink water every morning before i drink  coffee, just to hydrate myself and give myself a little kick. it’s one of my morning rituals. but, i also have deeper rituals, like meditating every day. and community rituals, like returning to a favorite vacation place with family every year.

and a ritual does not have to be connected to a religion. it is beautiful when it is, and when the participants know what is going on and why (the wailing wall in jerusalem). but it is also beautiful if you create your own or share in a ritual with your family.

the idea is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. because it is the ordinary, regular, mundane stuff of life that life is actually created of. everything is already sacred + holy. and a ritual lets us slow down to recognize that.

tacos

why practice rituals?

well, you may be getting a picture of why already now. but, i have a few things to share with you, my reasons why rituals are an important part of life.

rituals are calming. they sooth our souls.

rituals are grounding: they center us, bring us back to a place of peace (see calming above), help balance us. we feel at one with the world, while at the same time at one with ourselves. we feel in control, instead of overwhelmed.

rituals give us a sense of freedom. we are engaged in intentional actions and the present moment when we practice any ritual. so, we are free from our minds and all of those crazy, annoying, self-defeating, pesky thoughts we have. we get out of our heads + all of the chatter that is in there, and we remember who we really are. (and yes, even drinking a glass of water every single morning can do this for us, if we are present, grateful, and aware while we sip on the water).

of course, it is best to engage in some ritual on a daily basis. these are the personal rituals that we may choose to add into our life in order to live a bit more mindfully.

coffee sofa morning

so, what are some examples of rituals?

well let me first say that you can create a ritual out of anything that you intentionally, repeatedly do. and, ultimately, it is best to have rituals that meet us in the middle of our everyday life. but, some grand rituals also give us a sense of magic + community. i believe in a beautiful balance of both: personal, daily rituals. family rituals. and community (religious) rituals.

for this post, however, i just want to focus on creating personal rituals.

here are some examples:

drinking your daily cup of coffee, yoga/meditating every morning, writing in a journal, walking + observing, dancing, listening to one song from a playlist everyday to give you focus,  a gratitude journal, repeating mantras, taking a daily photo, washing the dishes before going to bed, arranging your desk after you have completed your work, a lunchtime 5 minute deep breathing break, moisturizing your skin, saying a little prayer of thanks as you lay down at the end of the day.

the list is obviously endless… the entire idea is to turn any little bit of activity into a time of reflection and awareness. and it becomes like a reset button. a chance for your brain to remind you that this is now, what was, was. what will be, will be. right now is where it’s at. right now is important. and we are starting over from right now. anytime we engage in ritual, we are wiping the slate clean. beginning again.

meditation-four-elements

how do i create my own ritual?

we think we must be a guru or a religious leader in order to create a ritual. not true! anyone can create a ritual. daily, or otherwise.

but, if you need a little guidance, then i’m here for you. i’ve created a few steps that you can follow to create your own daily ritual. and, if you need further guidance, then just contact me.

1. begin with asking yourself: what calms me? what brings me balance + peace? what makes me feel free?

2. write down any ideas that come to mind. then look over your list and pick one thing to try over the next few days. remember, keep it simple in the beginning.

3.  plan your ritual + write your plans down as well: what time of day will you practice this ritual? what items do you need with you? how long will it take? how many days will you commit to your ritual (take it easy in the beginning. try something like 3-5-7 days).

4. enjoy and bask your ritual every day for your set period of time!

5. after your trial period is up, take our your notebook where you wrote down your ritual ideas and plan for the ritual you have practiced. reevaluate how it went. did you follow through every day? if you didn’t it’s ok. you are not a failure. i still have trouble some days too. if you didn’t follow through, why? was it the wrong time of day? did it take too much time? were you distracted? did it not feel like what you need? now adjust your ritual or choose a new one, if that one was not the one for you, (again, if you need more guidance, feel free to contact me).

6. recommit to continue your ritual for another set amount of time. or begin new ritual for a set amount of time. however, it is best not to change rituals every few days. a ritual really begins to transform you when you stick with it for 21 days or more. just a little heads up.

7. do not feel guilty for scheduling in time for yourself. it may feel like you are being selfish, but the connections you make with your soul will only spill out into your life later on. you will be like a cup overflowing. it may feel like tying yourself down in the beginning, like adding one more thing to your day. but, i dare say, this is the one thing that makes the biggest difference. trust me, this time will begin to set your free, not chain you in.

that’s it, friends! my little introduction to rituals, what they are, and how + why to incorporate them into your life. it’s time to slow down, get creative, and discover the sacred beauty of every day.

LET RITUALS GUIDE YOU BACK TO YOURSELF.

meditation balcony hand

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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2 Comments

  • Reply Laura4NYC 11 Jul 2015 at 19:16

    Oh, I should really get back into rituals, it might help in calming my chaotic life right now. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • Reply Liz 12 Jul 2015 at 23:38

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad it was a spark that you might be able to use to gain a better sense of calm. I’ll be thinking of you! xoxo

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