“Do you have daily rituals?”
Sitting together in her car after our first lunch “date,” my newest friend popped the dreaded question: How do you stay so grounded? Do you have daily rituals?
I cringed. I’m a Gemini, after all— we don’t do daily anything except breathe, and even that is optional. But when you do the type of work I do in the world (back me up on this acupuncturists, massage therapists, and earth mammas) there are perceptions to either live up to… or not.
They go kind of like this:
You wake up at 5:30 AM to meditate.
You say 3 things that you’re grateful for before going to bed at night… every night.
You never eat without a prayer.
You’re vegan (or vegetarian or paleo depending on what the pre-conceiver thinks is the “right” diet).
You smile beneficently when someone treats you horridly.
You focus on the positive and only see the good in everyone, especially the person who just rear-ended you and is proceeding to scream both at you and some poor soul on the other end of his cell phone. No, you don’t maul him with your super wit. You smile beneficently, picture him in the light, and send out prayers for his highest good.
Aaaaarrgghh!I know there are people out there (and you may be one of them) who are calmed and soothed by daily routine and beneficent smiling…
…This post is for those of you who aren’t.
My husband is a daily routine kinda guy (although he has yet to master the art of the beneficent smile). He’ll happily eat the same thing for breakfast every morning.
I, on the other hand, wake up and think about what I want to eat when I want to eat, and if, perhaps, I really want brunch instead. That’s a lot of thinking. My bully brain would happily run the entire show. Thank goodness journey work, meditation, and a gratitude practice helps me to get in touch with the rest of me. Click To Tweet
So I’m a fan in theory. I’m just not going to promise myself I’m gonna recite those gratitudes or perform that meditation at the same time every day or even every day at all. Because, let’s face it, I’d be setting myself up for an annihilating failure and all the guilt that comes with it … and that doesn’t seem particularly beneficent.
For those of you who, like me, prefer less structure, I’m an advocate of what I think of as the sacred pause. Life is peppered with moments that align you with your heart, your breath, and the synchronicities of everyday life, but each of these moments are unscheduled surprises (don’t you just love an unscheduled surprise as well as a surprising dose of redundancy?). Pause and notice when life hands you magic: it’s that simple.
Here are the “rules” for creating sacred pauses in your life:
1. Serendipity happens. All the time. Notice. Be grateful. Take a deep breath and smile (beneficently, if you like).
2. Notice your surroundings as you move through them. Pause to smell the roses, make small adjustments in the arrangement of stones on your coffee table, wash the dishes in the sink. Notice how these pauses, and this attention to your surroundings, allow you to align your inner landscape with the outer landscape.
3. Keep candles and sage, sweetgrass and frankincense on hand. Have a bunch of essential oils or crystals or tarot cards nearby. Know where your journal is and maybe some art supplies. And then (and this may be radical for some of you!) allow these things to be used, in the moment, when you feel the need, or desire, or simply want to capture the colors of the sky in a tone poem.
Need more ideas? Check out this post!
The Sacred Pause is the moment when a tiny knock from the universe becomes more important than balancing your checkbook or checking in on Facebook.This doesn’t mean you drop everything and run off to the nearest retreat center to get your soul straight. It means that you’re aware, in the moment, of the need to notice the magic in the world or realign with yourself, so you pause to do it right then and there instead of scheduling it for the weekend or your next trip to Kripalu. If you listen to your heart’s longings, you’ll find that your life is soon littered with little rituals everywhere. Click To Tweet
These small gems are set within the daily: a few stones you piled by the back door because it felt right, three deep breaths of rose essential oil, hugging the oak tree in your back yard (don’t worry, no one was looking!).
Back in the car, with my new friend, I guiltily admitted that, no, I don’t wake up at dawn every day to greet the sun and sometimes I miss the exact apex of the summer solstice.
She smiled (beneficently) and said “But I bet your day is full of little moments of wonder.”
I heaved a huge sigh of relief: this one’s a keeper.