Do you love rituals? I didn’t always love them growing up, but now I that I’m an adult, I’ve learned how to craft rituals that create beautiful, sacred space in my life. Rituals are important, and we all have them. Rituals stem from our belief systems and familial, societal, and religious contracts.
A ritual is calendar-based or seasonal, and is based on a life-cycle (pre-birth baby shower, dispersing ashes into the ocean) or life crisis (prayer vigils after a tragedy). Rituals can be either formal or informal, religious or non-religious, but they always have a specific intention, as well as a specific time and/or place.
I am loving the rituals I’ve created for my life. And I’m especially loving the brand new Rituals for Living Dreambook+Planner, developed by my friends Briana and Peter Borten. They are the founders of the Dragontree, a wellness company dedicated to making the world a more peaceful place by seeding our community with centered, peaceful, and healthy people.
Briana and Peter write, “Ritual brings order, specialness, context and focus to our lives. The opening and closing, or the initiation and conclusion of a ritual aligns our intention with our actions, and it sets the stage for the action to be as effective as possible. Ritual grounds us in the present, it rescues us from dwelling on the past and worrying about the future.”
This is an excerpt from their Dreambook. It is a brilliant tool for embracing rituals into your life!
The Dreambook is a year-long system for having more peace and wellness in your life by ritualizing the things that make you healthy and happy.
The Dreambook supports you to liberally include healthful activities when scheduling your week, and has daily check-ins to help you stay on track and engaged in these and your broader life goals. The first section of the Dreambook is all about getting clear on your true dreams and goals, and your own core values and gifts, so these can be used as the guiding vision when planning your life. The book also shows you how to develop new rituals around the practices you want to integrate into your life so you feel nourished, balanced and successful.
Briana and Peter mailed me a copy of this beautiful Dreambook, and I love it so much that I’ve decided to share this tool, because we share a mission to help people achieve greater health of mind and body, while also living a more efficient and purposeful life.
Does that sound like something you want?
To get this tool for optimal life creation, come over to Rituals for Living Dreambook+Planner and chose the best option for you: a Dreambook or a Dreambook+Planner, which has a built in paper calendar for you to do your scheduling in. It also makes a great Christmas gift, for you or a loved one!
So, back to YOU and rituals.
There are rituals we do everyday, as a part of our self-care routine: brushing your teeth, washing your face, showering and other personal care hygiene.
For example, in our culture, we all enjoy food rituals:
- Breakfast (coffee, tea, morning paper, watch the news).
- Lunch (log off the PC, take a walk, eat a salad and soup at your desk, grab a burrito from Chipotle and catch up with a friend).
- Afternoon (Starbucks latte, cup of tea, visit to the dreaded office vending machine for a sugary or salty treat).
- Dinner rituals (take off the bra and heels, throw on an apron, whip up a quick dinner and enjoy with a loved one or family).
- Holiday feasts (SuperBowl Sunday, Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, Christmas egg nog and pecan pie).
Of course, depending on your culture or religion, there’s sacred life cycle rituals, including:
- infant baptism
- bar/bat mitzvahs
- family or cultural traditions
Most of the rituals that we have were taught to us. Most of those rituals serve us well. Some don’t. Why? Because we are constantly evolving, growing, changing. And although most of your values stay the same, sometimes they shift. If you don’t redesign your life to fit what matters most to you, how can you truly be happy?
As you enter the holiday season, I invite you to examine the rituals in your life, and consider whether it’s time to release rituals that are no longer aligned with what you value most. Which ones make you feel good? Keep ’em. Which ones turn your stomach, make you feel hollow and empty, or closed off? Re-evaluate. Reinvent them (get creative!). Or toss ’em.
Are there some rituals that deplete you emotionally, mentally, spiritually, even physically? Is it time for you to take a stand for your innermost feelings, and let your family and friends or coworkers know (by action – because people will observe what you DO more than what you SAY) that you will no longer participate in the unwritten social contracts that don’t align with who you are today? Close your eyes, take a deep, cleansing breath, exhale, and ask your Higher Self. Trust the answer will come.
Maybe it’s time to rewrite the script that is your life. Make up some new rituals that feel much more soft, feminine, empowering, healing, and nurturing for YOU.
If you’re looking to integrate mindful rituals to enhance your spiritual path and make life more meaningful, you’re in luck. Below are some examples of rituals you may decide to integrate into your life as an empowered, emotionally strong, Modern Goddess.
Days of the Week Rituals
In my Sacred Sisterhood of the Modern Goddess, I encourage members to embrace daily rituals to keep them anchored to mindful living and staying connected to their intentions.
- Soul Food Sunday or Soulful Sunday.
Sunday is a great day to connect within, communicate with Source, and seek guidance for the week ahead.
- Mindful Monday or Mantra Monday.
Monday is the start of the business week, and is often met with brain fog as you transition into high gear after a weekend of relaxation. It helps to have mindful moments to reconnect to your intuition (internal GPS), and to use a mantra that keeps you focused on your intentions.
- Creative Wednesday or Playful Wednesday.
Does mid-week often have you feeling overwhelmed? You might be taking in more than you put out into the Universe. Take some time to CREATE something: a blog post, a letter to yourself, paint, write a poem, give a talk, host a webinar, color in some mandalas, build something, make something, bake something, just get those creative juices flowing! I promise you’ll feel great afterwards!
By mid-week, you’re also probably just starting to reach the peak of energy, and eventual decline as you start begging for Friday to come. Adding some laughter and fun is a great way to instantly shift your energy and give you that extra boost of mental clarity to ride until the weekend. Also, laughter lifts your vibration and makes you a magnet for attracting your greatest desires!
- Celebration Friday.
Fridays are a great day to celebrate life. Give thanks for all the things you may take for granted, things you silently criticize yourself for. Things you accomplished. Life lessons that caused so much heartache and emotional pain, but you grew stronger, wiser for it. Take time to reflect on the growth, the emotional strength, the ability to “keep on moving” from a place of heart wisdom, intuitive knowing, and trust in the Universe to have your back.
Rituals with Your Tribe
It’s also really nurturing to have regularly scheduled and spontaneous rituals with people in your tribe – people who “get” you, love you, have your back when you need someone to hold sacred space for you when you need emotional support. Fun rituals could be:
- Spa days. Think massage, mani/pedi, The Dry Bar blowouts.
- Holistic Health mini retreats. You could both try alternative therapies such as acupuncture, colonics, or yoga classes.
- Paint and Wine. Painting is actually a spiritual event, because you are creating something as an act of self-expression. Adding wine just makes it even more fun!
- Group walks are a great way to connect, and enjoy the outdoors. Instead of going out for dinner, suggest taking a hike or walk outdoors.
- Cooking healthy meals together. Take a healthy cooking class, or search for a healthy recipe and make it together. You may even decide to do the shopping for special ingredients together, at Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market.
- Take a meditation class together. Checkout www.meetup.com for local meditation groups.
Personal rituals are the most important, because “as within, so without”. If you don’t make time to connect within, you won’t become aware of your internal state at an energy level until it manifests at a physical level, usually in the form of an ailment or illness. Weekly or daily rituals help keep you rooted and anchored in healthy and spiritual practices that keep you on track for your intentions to live a balanced, meaningful life.
Morning rituals are a great way to set the tone for your day. It keeps you anchored to your values, desires, and intentions for your life.
- Deep breathing. Upon wakening, practice prayanama to clear your energy and hit the reset button to start your day fresh.
- Journal. Journaling is one of the most powerful things you can include in your spiritual practice, because it helps you see synchronicity that you might otherwise overlook. Try automatic writing when you first wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed. Write with no thought for spelling, grammar, or structure. Jot down details from dreams, record any thoughts that randomly pop into your mind. You may eventually see meaning to the seemingly randomness – through symbolism or hidden clues of your next steps in life.
- Water + Lemon. As soon as you get out of bed, drink a full glass of warm or hot water with fresh lemon or lime juice. It helps to jumpstart your metabolism, and stimulates bile production. For some, it also helps flush out the bowels, leaving you feeling energetic and refreshed.
- Meditation, Mantras, Visualizations. Take some time to connect within, remind yourself of your intentions, desires, and how you want your day to go. Use a mantra that helps root you to your intentions. Visualize going through your day, and accomplishing that desired state. For example, if you desire feeling empowered throughout your day, imagine yourself smiling and feeling joy after completing a difficult or challenging work task, or closing a big deal. Imaging getting that large project or finding closure on some important matter.
- Nutrition. Before you drink or eat anything, consider the effects it will have on your body and mood. Will that sugar donut make you have brain fog later in the day? Will the extra carbs and sugar cause an energy crash, causing you to drag around the entire day? Perhaps some almond buttter on gluten-free toast, or a hard boiled egg wrapped in romaine lettuce will carry you further, and put you in a good position to make the day great.
- Take a walk for lunch, and then enjoy a healthy protein smoothie.
- Take a 10-15 minute nap for lunch and feel refreshed the rest of the day.
- Workout for lunch, feel energized the rest of your day.
- Schedule notifications in your calendar or mobile phone to remind you to take 5-10 minute stretch breaks every hour.
- Take mini-meditation breaks, use an app on your iPhone for guided meditations. Omvana is a great app that offers free and paid meditations.
- Instead of going to Happy Hours, take an evening meditation, yoga, or tai chi class.
- Plan ahead for meals. Shop for groceries and prep veggies on Sunday, store in BPA-free or glass food containers. When you get home, take a quick shower to freshen up, and then light candles, play some zen or jazz music, and make cooking a fun event. Invite a loved one or friend to join you, and set the dining table with fresh flowers – make it really special.
- Evening is also a great time to journal, meditate, and/or visualize. I like to take a long sea-salt or Epsom bath, with candles and incense, and light music, and reflect on my day. I recall if anything during the day made me feel upset, or uncomfortable. I ask myself, did my emotional trigger come from a place of love or fear? Is it mine, or did I empathically pick up someone else’s energy? Then I do an energy cleanse: imagine a white light pouring through my entire body, from my crown chakra all the way down through my other chakras, through my feet, and into the very core of the earth.
- Before I go to bed, I like to connect with my Spirit Guides, and ask for guidance or support. I thank Source for at least 5 things I’m grateful for, and pray for answers to any questions I have once I wake up.
So, there you have it. These are just suggestions to inspire you to create rituals for intentional living, that make life more meaningful to you. Namaste.
ps. I’d love to hear from you! What rituals are you inspired to experiment with this week?