A couple of months ago, I read the book ‘The Artist’s Way‘ by Julia Cameron where she emphasizes the importance of journaling first thing first in the morning. Well, journaling had always been in my mind and I guess the book pushed me to start by giving all the reasons why we should do it.
For months I kept doing it and waited for some magic to happen. I mean this is what I understood from the book that if I continue writing without fail, there would be some days when I would blurt out the underlying emotions that have been bothering me for years. Alas! It did not happen! Nevermind! I kept the habit going only to add few more things to my morning routine.
Like I added the habit of writing affirmations at least three times. I also started reading some spiritual/uplifting books during that morning session. (My current read is Patanjali Yoga Sutras by Swami Vivekanand). And now that I see that time, I think I am totally in love with that time. It has become more like a ritual than a routine. Well, if you wonder thinking about the difference between the two, just hang on!
So, ritual is a Latin word that means a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Ritual is something we do with a higher purpose in mind. For me unknowingly it has become a time when I connect with myself.
A daily ritual is a way of saying, I am voting for myself, I am taking care of myself. ~ Mariel Hemingway
The difference between a Ritual and a Routine is the intention behind it. Like for me, running is a routine. I do it because I have to put a tick mark on the goal of finishing 10k steps every day. While when I am doing a ritual, I am mindful. I take time to think, to savor, and enjoy the time while engrossing completely in the process of writing. I am enjoying the journey rather than waiting for it to end.
In the book, Don’t Overthink’, the author talks about how any routine can be a ritual. Quoting few lines from her book where she says,
‘It doesn’t have to be difficult to elevate a routine so it becomes a ritual. You could regularly call your sister on weekend mornings. Or you could call her on purpose, setting early Saturday aside as a time to curl up in your favorite chair, phone in hand, and share not only what’s on your mind that morning but also the highlights of the week gone by, your hopes for the week to come, and your concerns about your parents, your kids, your job. One is routine; the other is ritual.’
As I said, it’s the intention or the attitude that mattes behind the action. Something similar yet not that organized is what I do before bedtime. A tea that helps to sleep, and a book on Kindle signals the mind to slow down, relax and sleep. Not that I don’t experience insomnia or sleepless nights, but I have observed that what I do just before I retire to bed determines a lot about how my sleep would be.
Rituals are good. Many times they help us connect to each other. Like we cousins connect with each other almost every festival. The long video calls that follow are filled with laughter, leg-pulling, and memories. Something I really look forward to!
For me, my morning routine is unavoidable. Because it gives me a good start to the day. For you, it can be as simple as sipping a cup of tea. What matters is how you decide to do that! As a routine or a ritual.
So, what’s your ritual???