I recently listened to the amazing New-York based author and public speaker Charlie Harary describe the importance of rituals, those habits we have and which bring a certain rhythm and comfort to our lives. He states that the difference between a good life and an amazing life lies in the quality and strength of our rituals. Many people and religions speak about the power of rituals. Tony Robbins also mentions the importance of rituals during his live seminars. I learnt this over the years through coaches and my own experience. However I had never fully realized until recently how crucial it is to be aware of our rituals and consciously choose them in order to nurture what truly matters to us.
The pandemic, the isolation as well as the withdrawal from most of outside distractions have forced me to look at my rituals; which ones I could adjust or create to help me go through these surreal times. We have conscious and subconscious rituals. The subconscious ones can be washing our teeth, preparing our morning coffee or tea, listening, reading or listening to the news, catching-up with social media, taking a specific route to work or to the children’s school…etc…they are automatic.
What if you could take an honest look at your rituals and see if they truly support what matters to you and your loved ones ? Most of us spend so much time and energy doing unimportant things, thing that are urgent and not important,constantly distracting ourselves. If you take time to define what is important to you, who you want to become and create the rituals that will nurture that vision, you will clearly move towards it one step at a time. As Charlie Harary says, if you don’t deliberately practice these rituals every day or on a regular basis, you will just spend your time reacting to what is being thrown at you. He says that distraction is loud and noisy, depth is subtle. So true.
Once you have created or revisited rituals that can support who you want to be, unexpected power and magic appear. They are conscious rituals. They will only become subconscious and automatic through practice, just like a professional athlete practices. You can become the professional of your own life.
Besides polishing our rituals, the pandemic has shattered our daily lives and pushed us to rethink our habits in order to cope with the feelings of exhaustion, loneliness, stress, sadness or anxiety, depending on our lifestyle and your personality. We all have experienced some kind of loss over the past two months: loss of income, of traveling, party or gathering plans, of freedom, professional projects, graduations, loss of touch, connection, loss of romantic relationships or marriage, loss of health or simply loss of someone close who passed away.
We had to let go some of our habits to create new ones to cope with our changes in lifestyle. I am suggesting here a few rituals which can hopefully make you feel more vibrant and relaxed despite the disruption in our daily routines. I also hope they will inspire you to reflect on how to reach your personal, professional and spiritual goals and reframe your own rituals. I have consciously implemented them and I am glad to share them with you. Creating new habits is hard and requires constant effort and discipline until they become automatic. However the rewards and ripple effects are really worth it. You can go gradually, by starting to enhance your existing rituals and progressively extending them.
1 ) Start or embellish your gratitude journal:
Now is the perfect time to start or revamp your gratitude journal practice. Exactly when you wonder what you could possibly be grateful for these days. I know this one has been mentioned in thousands of websites, coaching programs and podcasts but the truth is : it works ! I must confess it only brightens your life and makes you realize that you are and have much more than you think. But you have to commit to do it every day, not once or twice a week. Buy yourself a nice notebook, make yourself a delicious cup of tea or coffee, light a candle and take 5 minutes a day ( either in the morning or before going to bed and snoring ) to write down three things or experiences you feel grateful for. This has really helped me navigate major moments of doubt and anxiety by focusing on what I have instead of what I don’t have or have recently lost. Compendium has great notebooks.
2 ) Spend time in nature:
It can be in lying or sitting in your backyard, walking or riding a bicycle down the street, preferably along lines of trees, walking in a park, along a lake or the ocean ( if currently possible ). I used to spend so much time in traffic every day. I switched to walking twenty minutes every day and visiting a park whenever possible. You can enjoy this experience by yourself or with your loved ones, especially if they are experiencing homeschooling like so many children around the world these days. Being in touch with nature on a regular basis has helped me reconnect with my five senses and feel more peaceful.
3 ) Read something that elevates your soul:
I am not speaking here about social media or reading about the news and how many new cases or dead people there are in a specific country. I mean, reading something that truly makes you learn something new and or nourishes your soul: a book or an article about improving your romantic relationship with your spouse or loved one, an article about history, geography or science. Read a prayer book, a novel or an essay ( if you are not too busy with work and household logistics ).
I just finished reading a very personal yet universal book written by Philippe Lancon, a French journalist who survived the horrific terrorist attack that took place in Paris on January 7th, 2015. Surprisingly, this book is not depressing nor sad. It is not about terrorism or anger. It is about resilience and how an individual can go from total destruction ( his mouth and jaw were blown away by the shooting, loss of over ten friends and colleagues in less than two minutes ) to slow rebirth and reconstruction of the body and soul.
The journalist describes how daily hospital life is organized around very specific rituals and how he created his own rituals in addition to the hospital rituals. His book is beautifully written. This is an intimate journey and the living proof of the incredible ability to slowly recover through the power of rituals, the love of family, friendship, the genius and devotion of surgeons, nurses, medical staff, the presence of other broken hospital patients, as well as the love for literature, music and the arts. This poignant book truly helped me go through the time of quarantine with more inner peace and resilience. I highly recommend it. I am also very pleased to have recently found out that it has already been translated into English. The English version of the book title is ” Disturbance”.
4 ) Pamper yourself with delicious and holistic skin care products:
This may to be challenging for many of you as neglecting oneself is so easy to do; take a few minutes a day to softly massage your face ( ideally when cleansing it before going to bed ) and your body with love with delicious scented body oils and creams ( in the morning or the evening ). This is not about doing it fast and without care, just to be done with it. It’s about giving yourself love and healing your body from the stress and the mental noise. It’s also a perfect excuse to reconnect with your body and your five senses.
Try to use more chemical free skin and body care products. They are clearly much more gentle on the skin and less toxic. I like Evanhealy’s brand philosophy and skin care products very much. Their blog features great ideas for do it yourself beauty recipes with what you may already have at home. I also like Mad Hippie for their cute packaging combined with petrochemical and paraben free products. I create my own yummy oils by mixing a vegetable oil ( preferably organic ); jojoba, avocado, almond or coconut oil with a few drops of essential oil. Lavender and chamomile are a great combination for relaxation while lavender and ylang lang or sandalwood bring out my most sensual self. This practice makes me feel more radiant and beautiful. When massaging your body ( your whole body, do not avoid the breast, bottom or belly ) start from the ankles and slowly move your way up.
Receiving and giving love starts with yourself.
5 ) Grow your tech skills:
The pandemic has forced us to spend much more time at home, therefore upgrading our technical skills by either learning how to work remotely from home, switching from one Zoom meeting to a webinar, learning how to homeschool with children, increase our online learning and exercise habits, practice video calls with geographically distant parents and grandparents.
Embrace technology instead of avoiding or resenting it as it helps you learn something new, stretch your skills. I have been taking advantage of work from home to design online courses ( see my previous post for the online creative workshop ). A new one will be launched later and the topic will be : Easy and fun tools to help women heal from overwhelm or sadness in order to step into their radiance and bliss. This could also be a great gift idea for someone you know and who may need of a fun boost to feel better. Stay tuned for more information !
6 ) Volunteer to help or reach out to someone in need:
Over a week ago, I received a text from someone I did not know. This lady is very much involved with the city where I live. She asked me if I would benefit from a $100 gift card for a major local grocery store. We met outside in a parking garage two days later and she handed me the gift card. I feel so grateful for this unexpected text and for her efforts to reach out to me.
In the midst of quarantine, I got in touch with a local nonprofit organization and asked if I could call a few lonely seniors to see how they are doing. I get to call three homebound ladies every week. One lives by herself and two of them live with their husband. They are so grateful for the calls. The conversations are always enlightening in some way. This is a simple yet great ritual to remind me how important it is to be heard and cared for.
Which rituals will you create or update for yourself and your loved ones to focus on and feed your dreams ? Feel free to comment here or send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hearing from you. Be well and safe !