‘Tis the season of joy and pain, reflection and contemplation, fire and darkness. This week, to honour the holiday season and all the feelings that come with it, we are exploring the idea of rituals as an opportunity to celebrate and care for our whole self.
What is the difference between a ritual and a routine?
For me, a ritual is a ceremony of spirit that supports and celebrates your soul values; whereas a routine is a practice of mind/body that supports your core values in the external world. We need both to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
A ritual awakens your spirit and sets your intentions in motion while a routine awakens your mind and body and sets your performance in motion. For example, you may have a morning routine of having a coffee and reading the news. Or, going for a run and having a smoothie. These types of routines are great ways to get going but what are you doing to awaken your spirit?
What is an awakening of spirit?
An awakening of spirit feels like a homecoming. A coming home to, or remembering, your deepest desires. Ask yourself, “when do I feel lit up by the energy, or flame, of my own desires?” Is it when you are in nature, in a creative space, helping others? What makes you feel most alive and excited? Deep down, you know. The answer is in your purpose. When you are able to retrieve it, create a ritual to celebrate it.
There are many different types of rituals to honour your soul. Some people gather around a fire and burn notes that hold their fears. This helps them release burdens that may hold them back on the path. Others cleanse their spaces to make room for new energy and love. De-cluttering, smudging, swimming, reiki. There are so many ways we can create space for inner connection. For me, writing in a journal regularly is a safe way to release my wild thoughts. A ritual is whatever you want it to be as long as you allow time and space for a ceremonious honouring of your soul self.
Book club for the soul
My suggestion is to invite a friend to join you on this part of the path. Let your friend in on your ritual. You can even do your ritual together. Sharing the idea with a friend will realize your ritual and make you more accountable to doing it.
Think of your ritual like a book club for your soul. Maybe you and a friend choose a book that honours your well-being (see book suggestions below) and you read one chapter a month for a year. At the end of each month, you walk and talk about what you learned. Or, maybe you come up with a fun way to honour the elements of your nature and Mother Nature – earth, water, air, and fire.
What I love about rituals is that they provide a unique opportunity for learning, creativity and connection. If you are interested in starting each morning with a passage that honours your intention to be authentic, I recommend one or both of these books:
- The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
- The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude by Sarah Ban Breathnach
In both books, the authors share a short story each day with suggested thought exercises. I have mentioned these books as recommended reading in other newsletters because they are wonderfully inspiring for anyone who is seeking more authentic connection in their life.
Here’s a thought: starting January 1st, try swapping ten minutes of reading news for ten minutes of gaining new insights with one of these books! This type of subtle, transformational shift can bring about massive, life-affirming growth on the path to authenticity.
Next time, we will recap the topics that we have explored together so far and the recommended books that support the learning about each topic. Wishing you all joy, kindness, courage and calm this holiday season and always.
Let’s journey together.