My Father is from England… He moved over to the States a good while back, but never lost his accent or his making of an afternoon ‘cuppa’. I always loved watching him make his tea. The milk and sugar were always a ‘must’ and he would taste it several times to make sure it was perfect. It was and still is, a beautiful part of his daily ritual.
Rituals are important. From brushing our teeth (well, that is also just good hygiene) to spending five minutes meditating, rituals help to define our daily life and keep us focused. Research suggests rituals are more powerful than originally thought and can help the practitioner achieve a variety of desired outcomes… From slowing down aging, to lowering anxiety, or even providing a confidence boost, rituals are a vital and beautiful part of life. As a creative individual, I’ve discovered rituals help me to stay inspired and focused.
Here are some of my weekly and daily rituals–
Every week I write in a ‘creativity journal’. I let my mind wander as my pen takes over… I write about what is engaging me lately… What is inspiring me, moving me… It keeps me focused and excited. It reminds me to always be shooting from a fresh perspective. It is without a doubt, one of my most important rituals when it comes to keeping my creativity flowing.
Classes twice a week… With some posing on my own on non-class days. Love. Love. Love. Brings flexibility to my body and mind.
Another ritual I’ve adopted is stolen from my Father and his afternoon cup of tea with my own twist… Often I get so caught up in editing a session, I will be hunched over my computer, oblivious to the passage of time or an aching back. My sweet Poodle will usually jump onto my lap to remind me there are other things beside photos and I will take her for a little walk around my favorite neighborhood in Madrid. We wander a bit, grab some fresh air and inspiration, and upon returning home, I reward us both with a treat… Her some sort of disgusting dehydrated chicken and me a steaming cup of tea, made just like my Father makes his (creamy and sweet!). It is a perfect ritual to help me gain some alertness and refocus my mind and intentions.
Lastly, I’ve gotten into simple meditation for five minutes a day. I used to think meditation would be torture… I worried would be bored, unable to focus, or just feel like a total goose… Turns out, it’s pretty fabulous. It’s such a wonderful tool to center thoughts and soothe anxiety… Meditation has been researched and found to help literally reshape parts of the brain related to calming stress, encouraging ‘divergent’ or creative thinking, and 90% of participants in a study related to meditation reducing anxiety reported marked improvement! There are also links shown to slowing down aging in the brain! There are many ways to meditate, but I love the tips offered here. Sometimes I will only focus on breathing… The rhythm of my breath, the sensation of it, the air… Occasionally this time will be spent sending prayer and positivity towards loved ones or offering up gratitude… Other times I will allow a single word or emotion to come and focus on it and all it encompasses. The other day it was ‘wellness.’ Simple, but complex. I focused on wanting it in every aspect of my life… My body, emotions, thoughts, relationships, etc… It was the perfect word for my week. It reminded me to cut my body some slack as I (impatiently) heal from THE DUMBEST taxi ‘accident’ of all time (it was barely an accident at all, but it broke a rib and tore a muscle in my chest, among other things). Meditation is about so much more than just sitting in silence… It’s about awakening a beautiful mindfulness. It’s been such an amazing tool for me and I cannot wait to delve further into the practice!
What about you? Do you have any specific rituals you cultivate on a daily basis? I’d love to hear!