Rituals take us out of our daily routines and can help us reframe our experience in new and surprising ways. Here are some suggestions around mindfulness practices.
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How do you honor yourself?
This may sound like a funny question, but do you make or take time to be with yourself? Do you create space to respect your needs? This can take many forms. A moment of reflection in the morning to journal, meditate or connect with loved ones. Taking a walk, cooking a favorite recipe or reading a good book.
The Oxford dictionary defines a ritual as “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.” Rituals are not only religious and are an important way to create dedicated time for a higher level of attention and intention to be paid to a process that we care about.
For me, having a cacao ceremony is an important and cherished daily ritual. Basically, I have a party to check in with myself and drink chocolate. It’s a bit more elevated than that – a special moment to connect with myself, honor the elements, review the day’s energy according to the Mayan Cosmovision and reflect on what matters to me at the moment. Since I couldn’t establish a consistent meditation practice, incorporating chocolate into my process got me hooked and it’s become an anchoring practice in my week for the past 4 years.
In case you are interested, today’s energy is about inner forgiveness, something we all should probably consider from time to time. For those who may not be familiar, cacao is a close cousin, but distinctly different from classic cocoa or your basic chocolate bar. It’s a heart-opening plant medicine with many other healing benefits and comes from chocolate beans grown on heirloom trees in Central or South America that are maintained by indigenous communities.
Periodically I share this beautiful sacred practice with others by leading cacao ceremonies. If this is of interest, please reach out to connect and learn more about having a cacao experience.
When and how do you go within?
Do you carve out time and space for reflection in your day or your week? Many religions celebrate a Sabbath or day of rest from work. Mindfulness has become a new professional power tool for good reason. With so many distractions constantly calling for our attention, how can we know what we truly need and want unless we know ourselves and what matters.
Of course, weekends and planned vacations are important breaks, but they may not happen often enough to help you reboot, drop in and ground into yourself. We can make many of our ordinary experiences more reverential and extraordinary. For instance, showering or bathing can be a moment to wash away the energy of the day that we may not even realize we’ve accumulated and no longer want to carry around. Even time alone to journal early in the morning can be a precious opportunity to be alone with one’s thoughts.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony always fascinated me and is a beautiful example of honoring the moment through the process of serving tea in a structured manner. Is there some important part of your day that you look forward to that you can elevate to a ritual? My French partner mocks me and jokes about his early evening wine and cheese ceremony, but I think he’s on to something. Why shouldn’t whatever gives us pleasure be raised in stature? Are you doing things you enjoy on a regular basis?
DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
If it wasn’t already obvious, I believe we should endeavor to do more of what lights us up most of the time (or as much as possible!). Both in our work and in our play. With all the stresses we face on a daily basis, how can we prioritize self-care? Carving out time for ourselves is an effective way to minimize aggravation by giving us more breathing room. Airlines tell us to put our own masks on first for a reason – make sure you take care of yourself and appreciate the things that matter.
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