Full Disclosure Here: Ever since my kids were born (2011, 2013) there has been very little daily ritual in my life beyond my two cups of strong, life-affirming, can't-get-out-of-bed-without-it morning coffee and making my bed. The coffee is made possible by my husband's daily ritual of setting up the coffee maker at night and the bed-making seems like the least I can do as a thank you to him for that. After a quick cuddle with the kids and a short shower the chaos of the morning hits like a tornado.
Of course I wish that my daily rituals were more exotic: I envision myself in a flowing, printed caftan, lighting a smudge stick, with some chanting happening far off in the hills. It's quiet and serene and misty (I'm not sure why, but don't you agree the mist is important to set the right tone?). That vision couldn't be farther from my chaotic mornings in Brooklyn: throwing together lunches before school, brushing one child's hair while they brush their own teeth, while the other child is....missing/ crying/ using marker to color her own feet (this happened last week). But, even though the circumstances are less than ideal (and really, will they ever be ideal?), it doesn't mean you can't develop a life of ritual and meaning, beyond the chores and necessities of daily life. And maybe for those of us that find ourselves in the eye of the tornado daily (the tornado itself becoming something of an unwelcome daily ritual), the steadiness of a daily practice is even MORE important and necessary to make time for.
If you are interested in developing a daily ritual, how does your version look? Close your eyes. . . what does it look and feel like? How does it serve you and your life?
Is it a do-to list thats energizes you and helps you get organized for the day? Or 5 minutes of reflective journaling, some morning sun salutations or a short meditation? Maybe lemon-water first thing in the morning to help your journey towards eating mindfully? Or a cup of soothing tea and a gratitude list at night? If you have an altar or a favorite, cozy spot maybe some quite time there brings meaning to your day. Light a candle, set up an alter, read a poem. I recommend keeping your practice simple and easy to start, so that you can accomplish it daily and begin to cultivate a relationship with your intention and ritual.
Both morning and bed-time are great times to develop a practice because you are in your home and your focus is more turned inward. In the morning I like to burn incense, san palo or sage. For me, these smells are stimulating and help to create a mental, spiritual and energetic shift. Just the very act of lighting these is a ritual, but the smells create so much more meaning in my bones. Before bed is a wonderful time to reflect on your day and prepare yourself for tomorrow. Tidying up your belongings or packing your bag will make your morning run more smoothly. I've been packing lunches at night and it is a game changer! Turn off your phone, and create a ritual around bedtime with some stretching (a supine spinal twist / legs up the wall), or breathing (breathe in and out slowly to the count of 4). Essential oils are wonderful in the evening to help promote relaxation and improve sleep. Rubbing a few drops of Vetiver or Cedarwood on the soles of the feet, helps to ground energy and pulls the energy from the head. A few drops of Lavender or Chamomile on your pillowcase can help signal a shift toward sleep and soothes the nervous system. Rosy-sweet oils like ylang ylang, rose or bergamont can be rubbed on your wrist creases to help pacify the heart. This is a good choice if you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
While your ritual may look totally different, and may evolve to suit your changing needs, creating a profound moment each day to give thanks or set an intention could help you feel grateful and centered in the eye of the storm that is life.
What are your daily rituals? I'd love to hear!