Creating an everyday ritual - mission 07

Giles Turnbull on Flickr

Giles Turnbull on Flickr

Dharma mission 07 is about recognising the rituals that exist in our everyday lives and empowering them. 

Before you read on you might want to read 'An everyday ritual', a post about the development of the tea ceremony in Japan, how an everyday activity was transformed into art through pure attention. 

Journal - Rachel Fuller 

Journal - Rachel Fuller 

In most of our lives there are still the ‘big rituals’, though fewer and fewer of them are consciously engaged with, maybe it comes down to marriages and funerals.

Then there are all the everyday rituals, things we take for granted but that we do regularly with some care and attention. The rituals that form the rhythm of our day, our week, or our year.

I started to make a list of the rituals in my life, rituals being activities which feel important somehow - 

  • Daily rituals
  • Weekly rituals
  • Monthly or yearly rituals
  • Rituals I remember from the past

Rituals have a transforming effect

So what is a ritual. Discussing this in the studio someone mentioned the idea of rituals as a bridge, sometimes they mark a transition. Often the big rituals are either about making a commitment or bond, or are about letting go. 

There are the caring rituals, the self-care of sitting in the garden with coffee, or caring for others by making their favourite dinner. 

Rituals can be activities that prepare the mind and body for what's coming. Before meditation we clear some space and set up our cushions and blankets, as we are doing this our being starts to settle for meditation. The same with our bedtime routines, we dim the lights, we switch off our gadgets, we read our novel. And somewhere we know, ah, this means sleep.

What would it mean to turn an everyday activity into a ritual?

  1. Choose something that you do every day. 
  2. Decide to do that activity as a ritual. 
  3. Set a time and place for the ritual. 

In the doing of it you find out what makes it a ritual. Notice any differences in attitude or qualities that emerge. Notice any transformation that occurs? 

Are there any daily or weekly rituals you could incorporate that would add real value to your life?

My daily Facebook checking ritual 

I chose the everyday activity of ‘checking Facebook’, normally done numerous times throughout the day! When I turned it into a ritual I just did it once a day. So how was it different?

  • I chose a time when I wasn't doing anything else, so I could give it my full attention. 
  • I prepared the space, somewhere comfortable, a glass of wine or a coffee. 
  • Then I just went slowly through my Facebook feed, giving time to the posts I was interested in and taking the time to comment. 
  • At the end I consciously closed it for another day. 

The result was that I felt I got far more of what I value from Facebook, in much less time. I appreciate the connections with friends, the tips on interesting articles and some thought provoking discussion. I got more of all that in 20 mins of full attention Facebook than I do with many halfhearted sessions of fast scrolling!

See what happens when you turn something into a ritual. 
Others at red ladder studio created daily rituals from putting in their earplugs at night (noisy neighbours), locking and unlocking their bike, making their bed, having coffee outside, doing the dishes and taking their medication.