“Modes trough which we access our self, our inner life, & pathways to making a greater, more intimate connection to our self. We use rituals so that we don’t travel too far off of the path away from ourself. Ritual ground us and give shape to our days, our weeks, our months, and our years…. Rituals are a path to self-transformation.”
I prefer this definition because it’s really talking about using rituals in our day to day life actually bring us closer to our innermost selves. We are able to create a deep and intimate connection with ourself by creating these rituals. To me that is way more important than worrying about doing a ritual in my spiritual practice. As I said before I do also do that but right now I think it’s important to think about it in the terms of how doing this daily brings about greater personal growth.
You might be thinking…why am I talking about rituals and how they relate to personal growth? Well, because they are important! And, for me they are both critical to living better lives. Rituals are important for our mental, physical and spiritual health. It doesn’t matter if you practice any religion, as many people I think associate ritual with religion, you just have to want to connect with yourself and have a desire to live a better more whole-hearted life. By creating rituals you are allowing yourself to grow as a person which allows you to again live more whole-heartedly and be more conscious of the role you play in the world.
A ritual doesn’t have to be this really grandiose thing. Yes, they can be complex but they can also be very simple. I would argue to say that the simple rituals are the ones that will have the most lasting impact. Keeping them simple will set you up for success with doing them regularly. Start out too big and more than likely you won’t stick with it. The key with rituals is consistency. The ritual can change as it should especially as you grow in your practice. Because if you think about it…let’s say you do an energetic release every full moon. It may seem like a one time thing but you are actually doing it constantly every month however the manner in which you do it may change. Plus as you keep up with your practice of doing rituals regularly you may find yourself researching rituals online which will allow you to adapt yours to better fit your growing needs. Plus it’s fun to change things up!
As I was doing research to prepare for my podcast on this very topic I came across this article called, “The Importance of Rituals,” by James Mapes. In the article he says,
“In Harvard, professor/author Dr. Ben-Shahar’s highly popular course in Positive Psychology, he teaches students how to be happy. One of his Eleven Happiness Tips is to create rituals. He notes that ‘The most creative individuals whether artist, businesspeople or parents have rituals that they follow. This routine frees them up to be creative and spontaneous.’”
You can find the article here: http://www.washingtonspeakers.com/images/pdfs/MapesJames.ImportanceofRitual.08.10.12.pdf
James Mapes is a business speaker on the imagination and leadership. He is the author of, “Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner's GuidetotheMind.”
You see by creating these rituals and doing them routinely you are actually setting yourself up for greater success. Because as Dr. Ben-Shahar states you are providing your soul freedom for creativity and to be spontaneous. I need more spontaneity! Also, think back to the definition from Shel Pink where she says by having rituals we will transform ourselves. Transforming ourselves leads to greater personal growth.
I know a lot of people, myself included, who are always doing personal development which to me is the same as personal growth…you do the development to grow. By creating rituals in our lives we become better humans! And as we work on our personal development that makes us grow as a person which also leads to being a better human. Rituals and Personal Growth go hand in hand. Plus, the best part is it’s not for anyone but yourself. This is to me the epitome of self-love. Will others benefit from your new found awesomeness? Sure, of course, but creating rituals is all about my journey. My self-love, my growth. Not anyone else. They are just lucky to get the aftereffects from all that juicy goodness!
If you pick up Shel Pink’s book, “Slow Beauty,” she actually gives you rituals you can practice which I want to start incorporating some she mentions. I love the idea of the morning, afternoon and third light concepts. These to me would be so powerful because I already feel so connected to the moon and the sky, mother earth really, that I think doing this practice of being in the first light and noon-light etc. would have a profound affect on my mood, my mind and overall wellbeing.
As I prepared for this topic, because I’ll be honest, in my mind ritual was more related to my spiritual practices I realized that I’ve already started implementing a ritual in my morning routine. Starting about in mid-December, my friend, mentor and coach, Dani Kenney, mentioned reading first thing in the morning rather than looking at her phone to start her day off right. She said it made a huge difference for her so I wanted to try it. She is such an inspirational person and has such amazing energy I thought if Dani is doing it I need to try it!
I was hesitant the first day because I run an online business where I easily get in the trap that is my phone. I worry what if I miss a question or comment or whatever, you know. Well, I want to break that. I want to believe I can run this business and not be on my phone at 5am. What I have been doing is the first thing I do after checking the time and/or making coffee, if my husband hasn’t already done it, is I read. My son is usually cuddled up next to me watching his morning cartoon, drinking his chocolate cashew milk and eating a banana while I sip my coffee and read. This lasts anywhere from 10-30 min or more. It mostly depends on how long he let’s me have my “me time” and sometimes my husband plays with him so I can have more which is awesome. After reading I usually fill in my Desire Map Planner for the day from Danielle LaPorte…if I’m not making coffee sometimes I fill this in before I read. I’m not that strict I guess with my ritual. I really like reading my Core Desired Feelings at the start of each day. It really helps me start my day focused on how I want to feel. From that point the rest of the day is pretty flexible. My morning ritual is very short in comparison to what others may do but it works for me and I imagine it will evolve as I continue on this path of incorporating more rituals into my life.
I have already started feeling the positive affects of doing this so I have no plans of stopping. I’m thinking of other things I can add in or other rituals I can put in place. I also try to do a really simple and easy ritual for the full and new moons. I try to always release something on the full moon and set intentions on the new moon. I don’t do the same thing each time, meaning sometimes I pull cards and sometimes I don’t. But the act of just doing these small acts and relaxing into the moments has been providing my soul something it needed that I didn’t realize was missing.
If I can leave you with one thing it would be don’t be afraid to start. Don’t let the word ritual intimidate you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I honestly think morning or evenings is the easiest time of day to start making rituals a part of your life. For me personally it was morning because it sets the tone for the day. For you maybe it’s nighttime because sleep is so important. Pick one thing you will do each night that fills your internal cup! If it’s helpful call it a routine but don’t forget the sacredness of what you’re doing. I use the term sacred intentionally because you are showing yourself love and commitment and you need to honor that and the act of doing that is sacred. You are doing these rituals or routines with a purpose and for me combing something sacred, the act of practicing self love, with intention and consistency makes it a ritual. I personally love the word ritual! I think it’s juicy, as if I’m channeling the divine feminine and plus it makes me feel like a goddess!
So just remember these three things…for any ritual remember to do it with intention, make it sacred to you, and do it consistently. Start small and let it evolve and grow as you evolve and grow. As you learn of other peoples rituals you may want to try sometime new and if you do and it doesn't feel good don’t do it the next day. Only do what feels good to you because this is your sacred ritual for making you feel amazing!
Enjoy making magic in your daily life!