Understanding Your Daily Focus
What is a ritual? In religion, it refers to a prayer. This general idea, imploring a higher power through action, is commonplace even among non-believers. Sports fans may perform rituals before playing or even watching, a big game. Rituals are actions, actions we are familiar with, actions we assign higher meaning to. It could be something as simple as having the right cup of coffee or tea before work or listening to the right song on your drive home from work. The more we perform these small, personal rituals, the stronger they become.
In this week’s Daily Focus, I want to talk about rituals,
why they are important, how can we honor them, and how to perform them with
intention beyond just that moment.
Saturday, November 27
“Rituals are important.” –John Lennon
This is the basic truth that I want you to remember this week, and this month. Rituals are important. Rituals ground us, they strengthen us, they connect us to nature, the Universe, and our own lives. They allow us to participate in sacred visualization, allow us to state our intent as we move through life. Rituals remind us that we do know what we want and that what we want is important enough to take time from our day to focus on, in small, sacred ways.
Sunday, November 28
“The preparation for the ritual is the ritual.”
If your morning ritual involves a toasted bagel with avocado
and a cup of coffee, then the act of making breakfast becomes part of your morning
ritual as well. It’s not just about the bagel, it’s about the smell of bread
toasting, the first sip of fresh coffee, the way the knife slices through the
flesh of the avocado. These things all bring comfort and strength.
Monday, November 29
“The human soul can always use a new tradition.
Sometimes we require them.” –Pat Conroy, The Lords of
It is in our nature to want to find and form patterns. Our brains are happy when they recognize what is going on, improve upon it, and master it. Even small things, like grocery shopping on the same day, making the same thing for dinner on Thursdays, or taking the kids to Starbucks every Friday. When we share these rituals, they become traditions, and they strengthen us.
Tuesday, November 30
“The function of ritual, as I understand it, is to give form to human life, not in the way of a mere surface arrangement, but in-depth.” –Joseph Campbell
Rituals bring deeper meaning to the mundane. It’s one thing to have tacos on Tuesdays, but it’s another to create communal rituals around it, to have a tradition of telling about the best and worst part of your week, sharing burdens, and deepening understanding. Even alone, these quiet moments that we take to reflect back on ourselves, to think about things, to process, these all bring depth into our lives.
Wednesday, December 1
“Rituals keep us from forgetting what must not be
forgotten and keep us rooted in a past from which we must not be disconnected.”
Sometimes, our rituals are so old we don’t even think of them as conscious actions. It is just the way things are done. Perhaps you swim in the morning because that’s what you did when you were younger, or what you dreamt of doing. Or maybe you do it now because it reminds you of something innate. There is a connection to both us and the world around us that becomes stronger through these actions.
Thursday, December 2
“Any ritual is an opportunity for transformation. To
do a ritual, you must be willing to be transformed in some way. The inner
willingness is what makes the ritual come alive and have power. If you aren’t
willing to be changed by the ritual, don’t do it.” –Starhawk
Rituals are a powerful way to transform, to change. If
you’re looking to make changes in your life, start today with a new ritual, one
connected directly to your goals through visualization and intention. It can be
as simple as a new route to work, a new piece of jewelry, or a song on the
radio—just take the time to connect it with your goal and set forth to
Friday, December 3
“Rituals bring us strength; they are a buffer against
the mundane.” –Unknown
Even something as simple as taking a few deep breaths in
your car before entering work can be seen as a calming ritual. You don’t need
lots of tools or time to complete them. In fact, if you look at your life you
will likely find you are already performing rituals, and that you’re drawing
strength from them as well. Pay attention to what makes you stronger.
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