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?
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,