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The Value of Daily Ritual

January 24, 2011

The word ritual has a decidedly Religious connotation.  In my view however,  ritual speaks to a daily habit that helps one command order from possible chaos.  For me it leans more towards the ‘small’ r religious habit as apposed to the ‘large’ R solemn rite.  But, opinions may differ on this matter and well they should.

Consider how you begin your day…

I begin my day with yoga and meditation.  Keeping my squeaky body lubricated and my mind brought to the point of emptiness is my way to begin to align the events of the day.  Next, a shower to wash away all that remains from the previous days events,  my morning cup of coffee, while actually 1 1/2 cups and some nourishment ….. then the day can begin.

I have noticed that each part of the day holds ritual as well.  Entering the studio, organizing brushes and paints, reflecting on yesterday’s work, all done to primordial rhythm.  Then there is 3 o’clock tea time and on and on….

Ritual is synonymous with intent. Intent is described as; to extend, to aim, direct; to purpose, intend; design intention, result desired.  Are you getting my drift?  Ritual is fundamentally connected to setting the mind and supplying focus for our day’s activities, for taking what could otherwise be an erratic series of events and injecting order into them.  What is called to task however, is the quality of ritual.

If I think of ritual in a supportive way I think of repetition, consistency, comfort and setting focus.  Much like those familiar principles of design  that come together to make a strong composition in painting, quality, daily ritual serves us well in composing a  strong, productive, day.

As is true with every aspect of life, ritual too can have it’s dark side. The yin and yang of it all.  We all know those parts of our daily ritual that are not supportive to our well being.  Learning to recognize them is the first step in letting them go.  Once we have acknowledged the existence of negative ritual we can begin to fill that time and space with positive, daily ritual.   Positive intent, to the result desired!

If any of you have comforting, supportive daily ritual that you would like to share to give others ideas on how to successfully build their day, feel free to comment on this posting.


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