It happened again. I was sitting at my computer thinking about the fact that I needed and wanted to work out, but there were two major obstacles I had to conquer. #1: Getting out of my chair, dressed, and out the door, and #2: Getting in my car and driving to the gym. As I was getting ready, I twisted open the blinds and peered outside. There was an overcast, it was drizzling, and after opening the window I discovered it was also cool. For whatever reason, I was inspired to jog outside.
I ran on a trail scaling the marsh and discovered birds, other wildlife, trees, and the flowers while soaking up the fresh mist of the morning. When I got home I was tired and drenched with sweat. My left upper-shin or knee (I’m not exactly sure which) ached in pain, but that short 5 mile jog left me wanting more. After coming home I decided to try a ritual. I have been reading the fabulous Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.
In a nutshell, the book is a practical guide to harnessing your creativity. In chapter two Tharp writes about rituals. Tharp’s ritual is getting into a cab every morning in order to hammer out a 2-hour workout at the gym. My ritual is practicing yoga after a run and writing after yoga. I moved around the furniture in my living room, and I cleaned up. (I can’t practice yoga when the room is messy or cluttered.) I picked a sequence out of Yoga Journal magazine, changed up a few of the postures to make it my own, and ended with a 10 minute savasana. After completing my yoga practice, I vowed to sit down and write, whether that meant working on my novella, journaling, or writing a blog post. Sitting down to write was easy once I released endorphins, which in turn opened the door to my creative self.
In today’s world it’s difficult to find the time to engage in rituals. Many people juggle work (full-time, part-time, and multiple jobs) and kids, they struggle to balance family time with work, and often forget to pay attention to their own physical, social, and cognitive needs. Rituals are important for anyone! Young, old, middle-aged, rich, poor, or middle-class. Rituals help people find balance among the mind, body, and spirit. I may not have time to practice yoga after a run and write after yoga every day of the week, but I can take my practice and ritual slow by starting off with waking up 15 minutes earlier for work, engage in a short yoga practice, and vow to sit at the computer and write a paragraph every day after work.
With that being said, I am challenging you to create your own ritual! Not sure what to do? Think about these questions: What are my hobbies? What do I want to do more of? Where in my day am I lacking energy? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How much time to I have to start devoting to my ritual? Next, tell your friends and family about your ritual via word-of-mouth, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever floats your boat. Telling others that you’re setting a goal to create a ritual will help you keep it. Your mother, grandmother, or bestie will probably ask you how your ritual is going. You can even use the ritual to strengthen your relationships with them!
Regardless of what your ritual is, finding time to do something you love and something that’s healthy for your body and mind is beneficial. People fail to recognize their own needs when they have the world sitting on their shoulders, so create some goals, engage in a ritual, and tell the world about it.