The Comfort of Rituals

With all the uncertainty of the world, there is comfort in everyday rituals. I am fond of the many familiar little routines that begin my day. For me, things like fresh water in the hot pot for that morning cup of tea puts a spark in my day. Even before then, I wake and stretch in bed, aware of my attitude. If it’s less than optimal, I change the mental channel to better things before I roll out of bed.

As the water heats for that early tea, I briefly check my messages. 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. The Duff and I head out for a saunter to check out the day and the neighborhood. We have already figured out 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 anticipate a regular chat with a friend. We touch base every evening, just to see how the day went. Sundays are freed up for other calls with friends, which I treasure. These are welcome heart connections, ones I count on. Then, there’s football season . . .

Are you like me and have the illusion of controlling outcomes or resolving 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.
  • What you focus on grows. I stopped managing my time and started managing my focus. Amazing results!
  • Nurture life. What a gift to notice the cycle in nature. A garden, or even adding a small group of herbs on the windowsill, can bring attention to how plants thrive during the seasons.
  • Set intentions. While my day is often clouded by to-do lists, setting and achieving small personal intentions can help set a feeling of control in my environment.
  • Life typically branches into new paths. I outgrow what I can’t live without, and fall in love with what I didn’t even know I wanted. Have courage. Set foot on the new road that will become familiar. Trust the journey.

The rhythm of my walks and early tea have taken on a ritual status. An ongoing morning activity or a special call needn’t take a lot of time. With that ritual comes the benefits of comfort, tranquility and certainty. Live unstuck.

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