Ritual. Isn’t that like, a spiritual word? Shouldn’t it have something to do with balancing energies, meditation, or witchcraft? It’s much simpler than that. Implementing positive, easy rituals in your daily life can change your productivity, positivity, and even affect you relationships for the better. It provides a more grounded basis for existence, and teaches us to let go of the things we cannot change until tomorrow, the things that keep us awake at night and distract us from begin present. Ritual has changed how many people, especially inherently creative humans, function in their daily life.
What exactly is Ritual?
Ritual is defined as “a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.” Life is governed by ritual. For example, every day I get out of bed, go to the bathroom, then come back and make my bed. I then make breakfast, and while it is cooking I do dishes from the night before. Putting these things together affirms to me and my body that we are ready and willing to accept what today will bring.
Habitually creative people have rituals linked to how they choose to start their day. By putting yourself in a specific environment meant to work in, you begin your creative, ambitious day from a place of understanding and acceptance. It puts you in a safe headspace to let your mind be as smart and impactful as it can be!
One of the most difficult things to do, no matter the task, is to get started. (Just starting this piece was a challenge for me!) Especially if you freelance, work from home, or are in a creative field; making the decision to sit down and start working can be a real challenge. This is where ritual comes in. Over time as routines continue, they become habits. By developing specific rituals that tell me “now we are going to work”, you can learn to maximize your time and enjoy the things you can do with others.
Rituals are important. With them, you are able to train yourself to get more done, but they also allow you to really focus on your personal values. They help fight depression and the desire to quit, they provide motivation, introduce kindness, and create ease. Rituals can cap your day and allow you to spend time on things you find important. It opens opportunity for more moments of joy.
Choosing a Ritual
One of the best ways to choose when and how to implement ritual is by creating a morning and evening routine. Begin the day the same way, enter your work space the same way, then leave it there when the day is done.
In our SPEAK* programs, we make a point to come together at the beginning and end of each session. Starting with a basic sun salutation and creative warm ups brings everyone to a collective space physically, emotionally, and spiritually to trust each other and the work we will do that day. It is a chance to quiet the mind as a group and be open to growth with more understanding of self and others. At the end of our time, we come together and acknowledge where we are, check out, thank each other for the day, and hit the floor as a unit. This brings a punctual end to each day, and allows participants to leave what we had done in that space, and carry with them what they choose. By doing this, we create a community of people that know the value of process.
So how do you do this in your life? Simply start! Find a ritual that you do that makes you feel better, stronger, more efficient, and give it some more value. Something simple that can be repeated. By attaching value to an action it becomes a marker in the day, a checkpoint to cross.
For example, you could...
There is no ideal condition for a creative and mindful work. What works for someone may not work for you, and that’s fine! Whatever you choose, make it easy on yourself. Start small. Even a few minutes of meditative breathing can make a world of difference. Find habits that invite a working environment that doesn’t shut you down, that doesn’t make you want to leave.
Most importantly, you have to choose a ritual that feels right to you. Ask yourself, “What do I get out of this? What’s in it for me?” The most valuable workings states encourage you to get started, get moving. Figure out what feels like something that inspires you and means something to you, putting you in the proper head space to go to work or leave it. It must implore you to do something.
Start small and start slow. Some days, you may forget your five minutes of meditation in the morning. That’s okay! Forgive yourself, and start over again the next day. First steps are hard. Over time, these rituals will become habit. Human beings are creatures of habit so create little habits that put you at ease. Take small steps with conviction. Don’t let yourself or excuses get in your way! The best way to do something is to just do it. These habits will develop, and you will be a step closer to a life of fewer stressors and more joy.