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Cultivating Space: When Routine Becomes Ritual.

Routines are just routines: something you do on a regular basis with the same sort of energy around them. They don’t have to be super health producing or put you on a spiritual path, but in order for them to have a positive impact instead of a negative one, your routines should involve something that makes you feel good.

Negative routine: Never making that payment on time.

Positive routine: Calling an old friend on Sunday evening.

Negative routine: Eating too much sugar at Easter (guilty every year)

Positive routine: Giving your bike a spring tune up.

Routines in of themselves make up the minutia of our lives, often without even thinking about it. We go through them and the routines produce for us the emotions and reactions that carry us through our day. But, we have an opportunity to take it a little deeper, and this is when we add an element of ritual around our positive routines. I’m not talking about chanting and feathers or anything of that sort, but just a thoughtful way to carry out a task that is done with some regularity.

Ritual, defined: A detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly followed.

When we practice rituals during our daily life we actually create more time for ourselves, rather than sucking it away. When we develop rituals around our routines it is more likely that we complete them with compassion and that the experience allows us to be present and thoughtful for a few moments. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, we create space in this process and approach our next activity or interaction with more calm. In my experience, creating small rituals in my day actually makes me feel like I have more time, not less.

Lately, upon waking up, the first thing I do is have a glass of water, then I go about watering the plants and pulling up the blinds. Maybe a “good morning” is exchanged, but otherwise no noise–just me, hydration and sunlight. It’s simple but I am fully in it and in just a few moments I have started my day with a sense of peace and completed a necessary task (that previously had no intention behind it) at the same time. I start the day already ahead of the game. And my plants are doing great.

Do you have a daily routine that you can turn into more into a ritual and create a bit more space for yourself?

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