Everyday Rituals

With all the uncertainty of the world, there is comfort in everyday rituals. For instance, I am fond of many familiar little routines that begin my day. Some people feel there’s a direct correlation between the ability to keep the eyelids open and the number of cups of coffee imbibed. For me, things like fresh water in the hot pot for that morning cup of tea sets up my day in a positive way. Even before then, I wake and stretch in bed with an awareness of my attitude. If it’s less than optimal, I focus on changing that mindset before I even get up.

As the water heats for that early tea, I briefly check the computer. It’s an indulgence to see what’s happening in my little part of the cosmos. Then I let Duff out of his den (his very own carrier) and rub his ears as I sing him “Good Morning, Morning” by Donna Fargo. This simple activity cheers both of us. Touching his silky fur grounds me for the day.

There’s nothing like the promise of a morning walk (and the immediate threat of poop somewhere inconvenient) to remind me of the importance of putting one foot in front of the other. We head out for a saunter to check out the day and the neighborhood. The Duff and I have already determined which homes have fiercely barking dogs, which old “puppy friends” he will greet and which spots smell the most enticing. We meet neighbors, checking on the latest news and general health of everyone. At times, it’s a solitary walk, for we are out early. To hear the sound of birds chirping and the muffled sounds of the town heralds the day’s soft beginnings.

I look forward to a regular phone chat with a friend. We touch base every morning and evening to see how the day went. I have also been gifted recently with another evening call, one that I treasure. These are welcome heart connections, and I count on them.

I don’t think I’m unusual when I tend to like the illusion I can control outcomes or take charge of difficult problems. As I sink into the pleasure of an everyday ritual, that need vanishes. Funny how all of the little comforting activities that come to mind are related to sameness and continuity.

If you’re searching for that mindful behavior, I have a few suggestions.

  • Make your bed. Taking little to no time, this routine reminds me to get my outer world cleared for the day. This simple process also makes the bed feel more inviting on my return.
  • Nurture life. What a gift to notice the cycle in nature. A garden, or even adding a small grouping of herbs on the windowsill, can bring attention to how plants thrive during the seasons.
  • If you’re anything like me, I have trouble remembering to fit in those eight daily glasses of water. If I begin my day with a healthy chug, I’ve already started the day on the right foot.
  • Set intentions. While my day is often clouded by to-do lists, setting small personal intentions can help establish a feeling of control in my environment.

The rhythm of my walks and early tea has taken on a ritual status. But you don’t need a dog for an ongoing morning activity or a schedule for a specific call. And it needn’t take a lot of time. With that ritual comes the benefits of comfort, tranquility and certainty. I’m curious: what are yours? Feel free to comment below.

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