Ritual: ceremonial, customary, rite
This is an interesting concept. Practicing something (or several things) in a rhythmic fashion, which is repeated, held with honor, and incorporated into regular life, carries power. Civilizations have practiced ritual for thousands of years, with the intent to come closer to their god, or to understand life around them, or to hold sanctity for sacred objects. Ritual was a means of living in closer connection with the elements and space around humans, a means of connecting closer with other people. What if you treated your body with ritual?
What would it look like to hold your body as sacred? To give care and honor to your body, in the same way that you perform other daily rituals in your life? Preparing a mocha latte, with the exacting amount of chocolate, the perfect temperature espresso, with a delightful whip of vanilla-scented crème, which will be consumed at precisely the right moment, results in a blissful delight inside your mouth and a wave of joy through your body. Rituals of this nature, when you take care to complete all the steps in sequence, bring peace to your heart and spirit.
Incorporating ritual for your body - such as using a daily moisturizing body lotion that is evenly spread across your skin, or preparing meals in advance with care and intention to nourish your family with vital nutrients – offers you time to connect with your soul, and time to give thanks for your body, your vehicle through life. Holding space for your body to be more than just the bones that support you and the muscles that move you, brings you closer to joining body, mind and spirit, in a reverential way.
Your body IS sacred; a magical machine working with exacting precision to carry out thousands of daily functions. You would nary walk a step, breathe an ounce of air, nor see the colors of the world around you without the sacred temple of your body. Enclosed within you are millions of cells, working in sequence, performing every small bodily function and responding to exterior stimuli. Reading this, right now, is the perfect orchestration of functions occurring within your body – from your eyes seeing the page, adjusting to the light of the screen, complemented by the recognition of letter patterns which you translate into words in your brain, which then relays signals to your nervous system to illicit a response, a reaction. That is one miracle, upon miracle, upon miracle, which happens every nano-second of every day.
With something so precious, why wouldn’t you treat this marvelous being that is yourself with reverence and care? Have gratitude for all the many small things you do throughout the day, requiring minimal input from you, and incredible output from your body? If you don’t already practice ritual to honor your body, look at ways you can begin to take time for small practices to support and strengthen yourself.
Here are some ways you can add ritual to your day:
· Make your morning routine a ritual of self-love, giving yourself time to reflect in bed before movement, opening the shades to welcome in the new day, eating a delicious breakfast, taking vitamins, reading the news or inspiring articles, and easing into your busy day ahead with a slow and purposeful start.
· Warm up your body by beginning your workout or run with light stretching, then hydrate and drink water throughout your exercise, gently wiping sweat from your brow with a fresh, clean towel, and wrapping up with come quieting and cooling movements to bring your body back to balance.
· Wind down at the end of the day with soft lighting, soothing music, a lightly scented candle, a cup of tea and a warm blanket as you settle your body to prepare for sleep.
Whichever ritual you find to create time to honor your body or mind will enliven your spirit. This is a chaotic world, with demands coming from all directions. Adopting ritual to quiet your mind, calm your body, gives you space to be present and enjoy the moment for what it is, without expectation. Dedicated time for ritual is sacred time which you don’t compromise. Where will you add ritual in your life?
I’d love to hear about YOUR rituals! Please share how you practice care and reverence for yourself in the comments!