Routine vs. Ritual

Routine vs. Ritual, March 2011
By Jennifer Frances, The Blessing Maven

I’m sitting on the third floor patio of The Malibu Beach Inn, soaking in the sun and surf and allowing the sea to be my muse. The cacophony of waves and variety of sea birds sedate my senses and I become very still. In this form of meditation I can feel my spirit being nourished as the salt air tickles my nose.

I feel very blessed, privileged and giddy at the moment. My husband had to stay here for work and I had the good fortune of using this opportunity as a retreat, a writer’s retreat of sorts. I’ve had three full days of tuckering in and embracing all that the Inn and sea have to offer. I relished in the fact that my objectives were to ponder, take long walks, write, eat well, rest, meditate; treating every moment as sacred.

I have subtle pangs of sadness knowing my time is coming to an end here. It really made me think about why I compartmentalize my life into experiences like this and my daily routine. Why can’t I integrate my scheduled routine into sacred ritual? Why can’t I embody this each and every day? Why do I feel the need I have to be in a “special” place in order for it to feel special and sacred?

So many times we get stuck in the routine of our lives.  Locale and situations don’t need to be sweeping orchestrations or dramatic to embody our spirit in profound and meaningful ways.

I started to soak in the meaning of these two words.
Routine is described as a regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.

Rituals provide a container to deepen our sense of self and honor our lives. Through ritual and ceremony, healing occurs. It heightens our senses and reminds us how interconnected we are to all life.

Taking it a step farther, I began thinking about scheduled routines vs. sacred rituals and it occurred to me “What if I didn’t think of my daily routine as just a routine and treated it as sacred ritual? How differently would I feel about daily things I do which normally I’d consider ordinary or even mundane?

There’s a wonderful book that comes to mind.
The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Naht Hanh

It’s exquisitely broaches this subject.

If you think of it, every life is comprised of ritual; from the way we get up in the morning and tend to the nuances of our day to the moment it’s time to slumber. We can chose to think of this as our routine or change the way we perceive our experiences. I’m curious. What would a shift in perception do to our connection with spirit and with each other?

An Invitation

Let’s have fun with this and see what a shift in our daily perception does for us. For the following week, I invite you to receive your day in this way. Break down your day into as many segments as you can think of… from before you get out of bed in the morning, to how you brush your teeth, to bathing, to preparing breakfast, to going to work, to dropping off the kids, to doing dishes, the laundry, to taking out the trash, to collecting the mail, to running errands, to making dinner, etc. Let’s set an intention that we’re going to make every moment in our days feel sacred.

I’ll write back in a week and share with you my experiences. I hope you’ll do the same.

Who’s in? I would love it if you’d join me on this little experiment.

Much sweet love and gratitude,
Jen Frances

23 Responses to Routine vs. Ritual

  1. Carolyn Z says:

    Thank you for this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous blog… so beautiful and so true and I was with you every step of the way…the reminder that we are blessed… we are beings … living breathing… blessed in our journey…

    May we all breathe in and know deeply how blessed each moment is… thank you…

    Love and Light

    • admin says:

      I’m deeply humbled that you see me with such loving eyes. Thank you for reaching out. I really feel I’m stepping into my soul’s purpose, life’s work, sacred contract if you will.
      Love and light to you too sweet Carolyn!
      XO Jen Frances

  2. Marcy says:

    Jen…..I LOVE THIS…..beautiful sharings, reminders and invitation….

    You are a Maven Certain and a Blessing for all of us forever…..

  3. A shift in perception is everything… Thank you for sharing this journey with us, Jen. Lovely thoughts on a beautiful day by the ocean…

    • admin says:

      Aaah. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I know how busy our lives are. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Much love to you,

  4. Kathy says:

    Your blog grabbed me, kept me wanting more and brought tears. I have never thought of “daily stuff” in such a way . . . yes, it “IS” all about how it is perceived. I accept your invitation with open arms. Thank you for bringing forth such an insight and sharing it with the world. We are all Blessed to have the warm of your love.
    So much love to you my sister,

    • admin says:

      FEELING your words is a validation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m stepping into my life’s work from the divine. My soul’s contract if you will. I cannot tell you how deeply moved I am by your response.
      Thanks for sharing!!
      I love you,

      • Wendi Knox says:

        Thank you for this reminder of the blessings and beauty that can be found in our everyday life. You have a gift for making everything sacred—from how you view the ocean, to how you listen with your heart, to how you create beauty wherever you go. What a blessing, maven…that you are sharing your words and your gifts with the world. I m grateful to be one of the recipients.

        • admin says:

          Oh Goddess Wendi! Your words continue to move me as recipient as well as your amazing blogs that YOU share with the world!!! It is such a blessing to be a part of your life!
          XO Jen

    • admin says:

      So much love to you my soul sister Kathy! I feel so blessed to have the warmth of your love.
      LYLASA, Jen

  5. elizabeth Davis says:

    Jen, This is a lovely first blog entry and nice to be included in your beautiful days by the ocean in Malibu as well as this ongoing ‘experiment.’ i like your photography too. I was in Malibu last weekend during the floods and it was a bit treacherous driving home in a major downpour of rain. There were giant waves on one side, and flooding roads on the mountainside, a little scary and the force of nature was magnificent.
    It’s joyous to have this as a reminder since these every day tasks need doing and to do them with great love is the key to enjoying every moment.. As I go about my way, I think of being a service, and being grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the many rich resources we have here on this earth and how beautiful it is to be surrounded by so many opportunities to love. You are a lovely and giving person and I am grateful for you in my life. Thanks for sharing. Elizabeth

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much Elizabeth for continuing to see me with such loving eyes. I cannot tell you how much your input means.
      Much sweet love to you,
      XO Jen

  6. Loren says:

    Jen, I applaud you…so beautiful, so moving, so true! Thank you for sharing…I look forward to reading more. xo Loren

  7. Barbara says:

    Beautiful post! I have read that wonderful book and most of the time I treat my duties as a mom and keeper of the home as a way of blessing my family and a way to make my home sacred. But in the past few months I’ve gotten away from that way of thinking. Thank you for bringing me back! I’m in!!!
    Barbara (Shawn’s sister)

    • Jen Frances says:

      Thank you for sharing your insight and own life experience. Let’s start a movement!! Creating daily ritual in everyone’s life because we are all indeed sacred and unique. Much sweet love to you Barb. Please give Shawn and Monica a HUGE HUG for me. XO Jen

  8. Tabby Biddle says:


    Thank you for bringing up this important topic — asking the question about why we can’t make every moment sacred? I love how you realized on your Malibu retreat that you didn’t need to separate and compartmentalize your sacred experiences. This insight and lesson is SO VALUABLE for all of us. Thank you for the reminder. I am beginning to take back my life as a sacred experience and your blog comes at an excellent time for the support and inspiration. Thank you also for sharing your gorgeous pictures. The ocean visual automatically gave me pause for a long, deep breath as I sit at my computer.

    You are beautiful Jen and I love what you are doing in the world!


    • Jen Frances says:

      Oooh Tabby. I can feel the resonance when you say you’re starting to take your life back!! I love the synchronicity of it all. I too love what you’re doing in the world. If I can wake up and have all my relationships feel so yummy as ours does… aaah that’s what we’re co-creating. One ritual at a time… Much sweet love. XO Jen

  9. Alana says:

    Jen – congratulations on the launch of your blog! It is good to be writing :) Your words are thoughtful and lovely – they bring to mind the book Hand Wash Cold, by Karen Maezen Miller (she lives in Sierra Madre and is a Buddhist priest and sooooo lovely). Here’s to seeing the routine as sacred. Much love to you.

    • Jen Frances says:

      Alana. THANKS SO MUCH for reaching out. I will certainly check out Hand Wash Cold. It sounds like something I would resonate with. Much sweet love to you. XO Jen

  10. Olga says:

    hi Jen, I’ve arrived here from a like on Jamie Greens’ facebook page and here I am back in the UK after 20 years living by the beach in Santa Monica. I could smell feel and sense and taste your words, and I know how sacred Malibu feels, it’s a grand reminder to let the sacred embrace putting out the rubbish, therefore I will allow the sacred to permeate my other chores done and unfortunately undone! I will bless my messy house the sacred chaos that it is and think of Malibu, then step outside into the Cotswold countryside and embrace the English chill and the green green grass, every blade a sacred shoot of life and the possibilities it holds. Blessings everywhere!

    • Jen Frances says:

      Hi Olga. Your beautiful, insightful post couldn’t have come at a more perfect moment. I was settling into some quiet time and was watching an episode of one of Oprah’s last shows. She was talking about how you never know who you’re going to reach when you put yourself out there. I kid you not, as SOON as she said that my phone beeped saying I had a message and there you were. I love that our link is Jamie. He is such a special person and it’s no accident he is our link. I too feel you in the UK, at the Cotswold countryside embracing the English green green grass. I can smell it. We are forever link and I agree. The possibilities are endless. I hope our paths meet some day. Either here or over the Atlantic. May your heart be wide open and ready to receive in every moment in every day. I invite you to receive the 5 minute guided meditation I created. You can get it off my home page on the right hand side. Just enter your email address and the MP3 will be send to you. Many blessings to you and everywhere. Much sweet love. Thank you so much for reaching out. It’s what I live for… connection!!!! XO Jen

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