Rituals Create Calm Out of Chaos
Guest post by Desiree Rumbaugh and Michelle Marchildon
An excerpt from the new book, “Fearless After Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga,” by Desiree Rumbaugh and Michelle Marchildon, Wildhorse Ventures, LLC, August 2017.
Aging is unlike any other battle you may have fought, for in this there is no winner. There is only the willingness to get up and try again for good health, vibrant spirit and a quiet mind.
The mind, however, is not always on our team in finding peace. There is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in “mind.” That “I”, or the ego, can be quite the disrupter and for many quieting the mind is a lifelong endeavor.
One practice that can help, however, is the power of rituals. Establishing rituals provides comfort and a sense of well-being. When your mind is racing around like a crazy stallion, a ritual can be like a sanctuary in a storm.
The Power of Ritual
Establishing supportive rituals brings balance to our day. Deepak Chopra, MD, a longtime yogi practitioner explains that establishing a positive daily ritual is “perpetually transformative.” He tells us, “as adults in an over-stimulated and stressful world, it’s difficult to create habits like this. We feel powerless to control what’s going on in our heads much less stay focused and disciplined enough to make big life changes. As a result, we’ve lost touch with our inherent power to heal, grow, and manifest our fullest potential. And despite all the material abundance in our lives, we suffer.”
The best way to quiet the mind and unlock your inner power is to start small. Find the unconscious habits you practice and transform them into a nourishing ritual you can count on in a crazy world. Performing daily rituals is putting you at the top of your priority list. It’s saying, “you matter.” It’s making the commitment to your own well-being, in the smallest and easiest way possible.
“Once a positive ritual takes hold in your life, you don’t even need to think about it,” Chopra said. “Just like brushing your
teeth—it simply happens.”
Getting Started with Rituals
1. Start with Presence
Rituals begin with recognition. First, see the positive habits in your life, then make a mountain out of a molehill. For example, if you like to have tea in the morning, then make it a ceremony. Invest in a mug that sparks joy. Take time for steeping. Be mindful of the necessary steps and savor the way. Lastly, set boundaries in your life to protect your “me” time. Do not place a priority on getting things done quickly. Rather, place a priority on pleasure. We believe that the path to contentment is paved by squeezing every bit of pleasure out of every living moment. If you enjoy the passage of time, then you will want to take your time doing the most pleasing things.
2. Begin Your Day with Ritual
A day that begins on the right track often ends on the right track. Desiree starts every day with physical movement. Michelle starts every day with tea and writing. You might choose meditation. Find your groove and stick with it. We do not know how our day will end, but knowing how it will begin can calm an anxious mind. Control what you can, and let the rest go.
3. Why Tea?
Enjoying tea is a natural ritual. In England, tea is a ceremony and an art form. Unlike coffee, which can take the push of a button, tea needs time and attention. You need to pour, steep and then add milk, lemon, sweetener or whatever you like. It’s a process that cannot be rushed. Enjoy every moment and it will become a nourishing and supportive ritual.
4. Body Scan
The body is our temple and we believe that to take care of our temple is a ritual of self-love. We encourage you to begin each day with a “body scan.” Before you launch into your activities, take a check of your “operating system.” How do you feel? For example, doing aerobics on Monday because it is your typical class is an unconscious habit. Doing a specific movement because it is what your body craves that day is self-care. In this way, taking care of yourself becomes a priority and an act of love rather than an obligation. Furthermore, you can decide what exactly it is that you need, whether it is quiet stretching or an active jog. Being present and conscious is what we want.
5. Ritual of Sleep
A natural consequence of living a busy and rewarding life is that we often don’t get enough sleep. Rituals at the end of a day are as important as those at the beginning. Michelle, for example, stops all work and ends her busy-ness at 8:30 p.m. The rest of the evening is dedicated to her bath and reading. Meditation, a bit of gentle, peaceful stretching, and even a cup of nighttime tea can also encourage relaxation. Whatever you choose, do it consciously and protect it as “me time.”
6. This Is (Finally) Your Moment
Over the years, we are sure you have taken responsibility for everyone and everything. Now it’s time to make your own well-being a conscious priority.
Robert Holden, PhD, creator of the blog, Shift Happens, said that if you had 10% more time to your day, the question isn’t what MORE would you do? It’s what would you do less? Where could you pay more attention that would bring more pleasure? Often, we don’t take a few moments for ourselves because we think we’re doing others a favor doing things for them! But if you don’t take care of yourself, then you are doing nobody a favor.
Take care of you for the sake of you. Make your health and well-being your utmost priority. Set the strongest boundaries around your own needs and me-time. Make self-care a ritual, and squeeze every bit of pleasure out of every moment and you will learn to enjoy the passage of time.
What rituals do you do that provide you with comfort and a sense of well-being?
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Michelle Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. Desiree Rumbaugh is an international yoga teacher. Together they have written, “Fearless After Fifty: How to Thrive with Grace, Grit and Yoga.” Find it wherever books are sold.