On Rituals

rit·u·al  –  an activity of intention performed at regular intervals, usually having a spiritual purpose
Ok, so that’s not the Merriam-Webster definition, but it’s the best way I could come up with to describe something that’s been on my mind lately.  It seems that the importance of having rituals is gaining steam in the popular culture (or maybe just the woo culture that I follow online…hard to differentiate).  On any given day, I might come across an article on incorporating rituals into daily life or hear yet another wellness personality casually mention the moon circle she just attended.  At the very least, some piece of media will remind me that I really should be meditating every morning.
The truth is, I really desire the kind of centering and mindfulness that rituals seem to bring, I just have trouble sticking with them.  One month, I might decide that I should spend the first few minutes of my day reading the Bible à la The First 5‘s model.  I’ll get excited, set my alarm, maybe even buy a new notebook to write down all the deep thoughts I’m going to have…and make it about 3 days before falling off the bandwagon.
Then maybe I’ll come to the conclusion that my daily ritual should be something more simple, like enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning.  That sounds do-able, right?  I’ll envision a cozy morning of me in my bathrobe with steaming cup in hand, looking serenely out the window at the morning light.  In reality, I’ll probably rush through making the coffee while simultaneously checking my email, take a few sips, and pour the rest in a travel mug to drink in the car on my way to work.
Or else, I’ll find myself frittering away my precious mornings off work with online shopping.
When I take a step back and take a look at the routines that I do have, I have to admit that they don’t necessarily provide much fulfillment.  I really do want to meditate or read spiritual texts in the morning or at the very least mindfully enjoy a cup of coffee.  It is just so hard to do!
Part of the problem may be that I have a tendency to overthink things and then under-do them.  Sure, I can spend a couple of hours researching different meditation techniques, deciding which is most effective, getting sidetracked by an article titled “I Tried Transcendental Meditation and You’ll Never Guess What Happened!” (spoiler alert: you can totally guess what happened), and then getting back on track by deciding that I need a meditation timer app.  But I need the best meditation timer app.  One that doesn’t play cheesy music in the background and has just the right gong sound at the end.  So another hour researching that.
But when it comes time to sit down and meditate for 10 minutes?  Well, I’m just too busy for that.
So, my goal for the next few weeks is to find some very do-able ways to inject ritual into my daily or weekly routine.  I’ll report back with any progress.  (I hope I’ve made some progress!)
Please feel free to share your own struggles and successes.  I’d love to hear!

3 thoughts on “On Rituals

  1. Yay! Thank you for your inquiry here – I love it! I too ebb and flow in the woo culture (love that word) and have been incorporating rituals great and small in my live for 20+ years. That’s what happens when you live in Oregon for 10 years in your 20s-30s…I digress.

    My experience with rituals is that the juice in the intention and the consistency. Also all things rituals ebb and flow too to some degree. For me a very defining moment in my life was when I decide to explore meditation practices. Long story short, after trying many types with no success and plenty of frustration, just at the point when I was about to give up … serendipity came along and I learned about TM. A month later I officially learned it (along with a lovely and very powerful ritual called Pooja) and began practicing it twice a day. That was 13 years ago and it was the absolute easiest routine to draw into my life.

    I still ebb and flow with intention setting and rituals and at some point began to connect with many of the things I do in my life as ritual or to create the intention that they are rituals – just normal, often mundane things; brushing my teeth, filling the tea kettle in the morning, being thankful for each meal and clean water. I could go on and on…

    Thanks for the opportunity to share, I hope it helps in some way and that your inquiry here reveals something useful and lovely for the next wee while on your path…

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Tracy! So interesting to hear about your experience with TM. I’ve looked into it but have been scared away by the price point so far. I may have to reconsider though. Funny you mention the connection with Oregon…I’ve been living in Portland for the past 10 years so that may have something to do with where my paths of inquiry have led me! Thanks again!

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      1. Hi Hannah, that is so cool. Love Ptown…I lived in Eugene. The price was even higher in 2003, but it felt right…serious the best expense ever…including the amazing travel I’ve done. It just helps me be a better me. Good luck and give those lovely fir trees a hello from me!

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