Ritual and ceremony are ancient human activities. Some anthropologist think rituals are a basic human instinct. The wisdom keepers knew that ritual ceremonies invoked a visceral experience of both the visible and invisible worlds. The bonds of community were strengthened through the use of rituals. Ceremonies provided an opportunity to be filled with a sense of wonderment.
Modern researchers have demonstrated that people who practice rituals can lower their level of anxiety and gain confidence in their own abilities to solve problems. They better navigate the disabling effects of grief and enhance their resilience to face the future. In contrast, the absence of significant ritual or ceremony in our lives has left us felling confused, apprehensive, disconnected and alone in an ever more complex world.
Small rituals like ceremoniously washing our hands, repeating a mantra or wearing special clothing on a challenging day can give us courage to perform to the best of our ability. Athletes and stage performers often create personal rituals. Do you practice a personal ritual before you perform?
Ritual ceremony takes simple, personal rituals into a slightly larger context. The purpose of a ritual ceremony is to pause, attend to the moment at hand, recognize its importance, and take action to honor the occasion. We each have within us the resources to establish splendid ceremonial rituals in our lives. We simply need to create relevant, resonant ritual expressions of our own true self.
The Living & Dying Consciously Project is dedicated to embracing the transitions in life through the art of ritual. In this blog we will offer suggestions for personal and seasonal rituals that will enhance your ability to live consciously.
Ritual - Intention for the Day
Each morning, before you begin your work day, set your intention for the day with a ritual.
Blow your intention for the day into a small, natural object – stone, stick, or pine cone. Simple daily intentions might be:
I will have a most productive day.
I will ride out that difficult meeting with grace and ease.
I will show up as the best version of myself.
Place the object in an intention container - favorite saucer, pouch, or altar. The intention container should be placed where you will see it every morning.
Walk out into your morning with gratitude in your heart.
At the end of the week or month clear the objects and start over.
Our new guidebook for Conscious Transitions: Living with Dying offers many rituals for conscious living and an expansive reference section with current print, digital and online resources. This guidebook is available in print and digital editions.