I wrote a post a few weeks ago about this wonderful book I've been reading for school - The Power of Full Engagement. Well, I finished it this week and the book ends talking about rituals. I hadn't given much thought to the role of rituals in my life, it sounded at first like church to me. But then I realized through the reading that rituals are all around me - they are part of my daily life. The rituals of taking a shower, of always attending classes, of sitting in the same seat, of calling my parents at least once a week, of attending my Weight Watchers meetings on Thursday nights, of always having a tall skim no-whip mocha at Starbucks after the meeting. These rituals are outside my conscious awareness and that's where they are supposed to be, because rituals "provide a level of comfort, continuity and security that frees us to improvise and to take risks." Doesn't that sound empowering? So I am sharing with you some of the summary points the chapter on rituals ends with. I hope you enjoy them.
* All great performers rely on positive rituals to manage their energy and regulate their behavior.
* The more exacting the challenge and the greater the pressure, the more rigorous our rituals need to be.
* Precision and specificity are critical dimensions of building rituals during the 30 to 60 day acquisition period.
* Trying not to do something rapidly depletes our limited stores of will and discipline.
* To make lasting change, we must build serial rituals, focusing on one significant change at a time.
I'm going to start two new rituals. I've decided I need to pay attention to what is good in my life for a change. First, I am going to keep a small notebook on my bedside table. Each night I am going to write the first 5 things I can think of that I am thankful for in this world. I did this many years ago and it was wonderful. I felt blessed every night. Some days it was harder to come up with 5 than others, and some days I wanted to write 20. But, it's the ritual of doing it every day that reminds me how great my life really is. Second, each morning when I get up I am going to read the passage for the day in the book Simple Abundance. It's a book that came out I think in the '90s and it is all about stopping and enjoying your world around you. Taking a breather and looking at things differently. It's also about creativity, which is currently lacking in my world at the present moment.
What rituals are you going to start?