Let’s say that it’s been that kind of day. Where you lose your keys, and in hunting for them, come across unfinished projects, forgotten messes, and a bill that someone forgot to pay. Your coffee spills, you get stuck in traffic and maybe, just maybe, you now have a headache. It’s the kind of day when everything’s wrong.
What can you do to turn your day around? You may choose the oft-touted healthy strategies of exercise, meditation and relaxation. Or, let’s face it, when we’re having a bad day most of us resort to indulging, distracting, or medicating.
I’d like to offer you another option that you probably haven’t considered: a rite or ritual based on something you already need to do. What makes it a “rite” or “ritual,” is that it is done with purpose and intention.
Here’s how you do it:
As soon as you can, mindfully step out of your routine, pick a task, whether large or small, and finish it. As my coach, Vanessa Long, explained to me, getting on top of one small area of your life—whether it is the jumbled sock drawer or the 3 light bulbs that are burnt out in the basement—gets our energy moving in a positive direction. Symbolic action—a rite or ritual—provides focus and a feeling of control and empowerment amidst life’s chaos.
Is there one place in your home or office that you need to be tidy to feel better? For me it’s the kitchen table. For you it might be having your wallet or purse organized, or putting the jumbled shoes in neat rows by the door. Next time you’re in overwhelm, make it your small but mighty ritual to create a little more order in your world. Do it intentionally—and notice what shifts for you internally—a sense of satisfaction, a quieting of the inner voices, or a boost in energy: it’s all possible.
This is why ceremonies often include rites and rituals. Many of life’s transitions can be overwhelming and evoke a mixture of emotions, even if they are conventionally deemed “happy” (weddings) or “sad” (funerals). Ceremonies contain meaningful actions, the use or presence of symbolic objects, and storytelling—all of which resonate powerfully at an unconscious level.
Like the simple rite of clearing the coffee table, consciously approaching life’s larger transitions through personalized ceremony empowers us with a sense of control in how we respond to, and make meaning out of, the larger events of our lives. As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I love helping people to discover what actions, symbols and words will best serve their needs and creating a ceremony around them.
Why not craft your day the same way? Our daily sustenance rituals—lighting a candle to remember someone, taking a moment to stand with our bare feet on the grass, or tidying our desk—also help us to live a rich and purpose-full life.
What everyday rituals do you have? I’d love to hear your stories.
Comment here, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the custom-crafted ceremonies I offer, visit my website www.portraitceremonies.ca. To learn more about my coach, Vanessa Long, and her powerful strategies for creating the life you want, check out www.sacredphysicality.com.