I grew up in a Catholic home. While I am no longer a practitioner of the faith, growing up steeped in that brand of tradition gave me a love of rituals. When, even as a child, I questioned the narrative I was offered about the nature of being delivered forthrightly by our parish priest, I never questioned the beauty of the ritual that accompanied those messages. Light shining through stained glass, a choir of voices lifting prayers high into the vaulted ceilings, the smell of incense, gave structure and grace to morning prayers.
The rituals of our daily lives infuse our thoughts and actions with meaning. When we stop and give thanks for the food we eat, the water we drink, for the many hands that toiled to bring a handful of plums to market and which ended up in a basket on our table, we are engaging in a ritual that connects us to life more fully. We are connected in a thousand ways. It’s sometimes hard to remember this when in a world of civil unrest, climate extremes, pandemics.
Life in the time of the coronovirus pandemic is nothing, if not uncertain. I’ve given up on a return to what we used to consider “normal.” That version of “normal” was neither healthy nor sustainable for the planet or the people living on her. As we search for new meaning in a new normal, infusing action and thought with intention, with an attitude that something sacred is now being created, has the potential to give meaning and hope to a world desperate for both.
Here are five rituals to anchor your world in purpose, grace, and gratitude:
- Wake up early. Give yourself the gift of waking before the rest of the world. First, as you come consciously aware of yourself, let your thoughts drift like clouds in the sky. Breathe deeply, slowly. Breath in awareness of being present. Breathe out a sense of gratitude.
- Show up fully present. Greet the day without automatically reaching for a mobile device. You’ll get to it soon enough. Before that though, drink in the sense of peace in your home as the day begins. What can you hear around you? What do your senses tell you? Immerse yourself in this quiet time, drink your tea of coffee, and set your intentions for the day.
- Let go. Release the past. Release resistance to what is showing up. Release resistance to resistance. Find a way to surrender to expectations of family, friends, frenemies, strangers. Select your biggest worry of the day, imagine wrapping that worry in a beautiful box and putting a big bow on it, and then set it aside. Just for now. You can always pick it up later.
- Speak your truth. Make a habit of speaking your truth, even when it will rock the boat. It’s okay if someone doesn’t accept your truth; its yours, afterall. Liking a truth has nothing to do with its value. Offer your truth as a gift to yourself and give up the belief anyone else has to adopt it for their own.
- Take a break once an hour to take three, slow, deep breathes. Seriously, set your phone alarm for hourly reminders. Deep breathing instills a sense of peace and calm. It quiets the monkey mind, it allows us to connect to that still, small voice within that guides us if we can just get out of our own way.
Adopting daily rituals, or simply being present in the moment, is an expression of grace and of gratitude. Grace, as they say, is love in action. I think we could all use a little more of that.
Cynthia Gregory is an award-winning author and nonprofit executive coach specializing in transformational change. Join the adventure and Jumpstart 2021with a six-week MasterMind intensive! Find out more www.cgregorycreativity.com