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Ritual vs. Routine


Is anybody else out there a rusher? I cut corners, speed through tasks and my ego takes a little pride in how quickly I can get a job done. 

It turns a chore into a challenge which is fun... until it’s boring and it’s just a chore again.

While strumming through the pages of Whole Beauty at the bookstore, a heading about Ritual vs. Routine jumped out at me. I skimmed through the chapter and was inspired to begin turning my often sped through, mundane daily routines into cherished rituals to care for and check in with myself.

I practiced the exercise of slowing down and being present while doing daily mundane tasks. It brings the present moment into my day in an easy to accomplish manner. I focus on the water against my skin as I hand wash. I focus on the temperature of the water, its change in consistency once it starts to mix with the soap. The smells, the sounds etc. 

Then I pat myself on the back, and I feel a bit more grounded as I carry on with my day. It was a task on my list: be mindful, check! After a couple days, I forget all about it if I don’t write myself a reminder. “Practice mindfulness” with a checkbox after it in my bullet journal. Easy to skip if running short on time either way.

Next up, I tried performing a morning miracle (or at least my own set of goals to accomplish) first thing in the morning. Being mindful always ended up on the list. Again, my success here was short lived. My mind would already be at work as I would rush through my tasks, I’d lose the motivation, something would break my streak or I would end up choosing an extra hour of sleep due to a late night.

These routines were great and effective!....until I inevitability stopped enjoying them. Once they felt routine, I fell out of alignment with them and would forget all about my commitment until something jogged my memory (and guilt).

I knew I had to switch up how I was viewing these routines. From a must-do task to a relished ritual.

I decided mornings were now ‘me time’. An opportunity to be appreciative and welcome the day enjoyably, from a peaceful, and centred place. Thinking about my mornings as a sacred ritual, rather than a routine I was trying to perfect, helped immensely with my commitment. Soon I could tell my whole day (or at least the afternoon) felt more joyful, balanced and productive. 

I wake up to the very first signs of the sun rising. On my nightstand is my swell bottle that I filled the night before with cold water I sourced from an artesian well just outside the city. I take a sip and walk to the window. I look outside and take a moment to be grateful for another day with a few deep breaths. I address the remanence of sleep by anointing my face with my absolute favourite face oil. Indulging in the combination of essential oils scents, I use a washcloth to wipe away the remaining oil as well as all of yesterday’s preconceived notions of what today might bring. 

The dog joins me for a short walk around the neighbourhood where I can soak up some of the seasons last vitamin D and warm up my muscles. This walk is not for mentally running through my days tasks and events. It’s a meditative walk. Each days meditation is a little different at the moment. Some days it is as simple as focusing on my senses or as purposeful as a Joe Dispenza meditation. His walking meditation has you walk as though you have already accomplished your goals in order to set your vibrational frequency to attract those outcomes. (If you’re interested in more walking meditation ideas let me know in the comments and I will post a few for you to try!)

After my walk (and feeding breakfast to my furry beasts) I usually find it easy to slip into the day and flow with whatever comes my way. (Yoga, work or a cup of tea.)

Taking care of myself every morning in a loving way sets the tone for the rest of my day. Which is to take care of myself in a loving way ALL day. Because really that is the goal.

And for a bonus, I find calm, present minded Jen gets a whole lot more done in a day than if she was otherwise.

I’ve started working on a nighttime ritual that I’m really falling into alignment with. Which is really exciting as that’s something I struggle with having the energy for. 

What are your rituals? Leave me some inspiration in the comments!

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