Updated: May 6, 2021
There's something about the attention to detail, the order of actions. It’s mindful and deliberate. I can get lost inside it. Time slows down. I slow down.
I have a thing about ritual.
This is what happens when I'm in the shower. It's where my mind flows free, far, unravelling as I get lost and found in my thoughts, where my best ideas come, where I enjoy headspace and revel in the delicious silence, save for the pulsing water, where I delight in being enveloped by the steam and heat...and too much is never enough, apart from when it's suddenly too much. Where I answer to no-one and only I own my time.
For those sweet delicious moments I wash in ritual.
Starting at the top always, my left arm, up to the shoulder and under the curve of my armpit, around the column of my neck then down and across my torso in a zig-zag fashion, switching my Ghana sponge between hands I cover my right arm in suds following exactly the same order as that of the left, another switch of the hands and I'm scrubbing the left side of my back, switch, down to my thighs i go, front, back, I move to my lower legs, hinge at the hips to get a sneaky hamstring stretch in, straightening up I assume tree pose of sorts washing my right ankle and foot - top, bottom and toes, swapping I take my left foot in my hand and repeat. Lastly I scrub my hands and wrists paying attention to my fingernails.
Goes my Ghana sponge as it hits the mat. Now the heat of the water powering down my neck onwards and onwards……… a sweet release.
I’ve been thinking recently about everyday rituals. Often when we think about the practise of ritual we think about ceremony, traditionalism, rooted simplicity or grandeur, history, sacredness. What about our experience of everyday rituals? It’s something I started to think about one day in the shower, as I was washing my body I realised that I always washed in a certain order, started at one side of my body then moved to another, put shower gel on my sponge only after warming up my limbs and thoroughly dowsing myself with water for ‘x’ minutes, wrung out my sponge in the same way every time, dried my body in the same order. Add to this that the shower/bath/water is a special place where I’m able to transmute my thoughts into more tangible ideas. A space where I can go inward to understand, or to take action outwardly. And I realised it’s an everyday ritual for me. Something low key, but a ritual none-the-less.
What rituals are part of your everyday life? How do they make you feel?
Last month in Letters from Esther Perel, Esther described ritual;
‘Rituals are routines elevated by creativity, driven by intention, and imbued with meaning. Rituals ease us through transitions—birth, first day of school, graduation, marriage, death—and create a code for handling them. If setting the table every night is a routine, pulling out the special china for the anniversary of grandma’s death, making her favorite recipe from the old country, and looking at pictures of her is a ritual that helps us remember her and process how much time has passed since we could hold her.
Rituals and routines are both about delineating between space and time and creating a grounding rhythm, a predictable structure with a reassuring, calming, and stabilizing effect. They can also overlap. Reading every night to our children is a routine that helps them develop literacy skills; but symbolically, it’s a ritual of creating special time between parent and child. When you bring mindfulness into your routines, they can become rituals.’
Ritual and routine anchor me.
Ritual is one of the four core pillars that we at Wild Within believe helps us live well, reconnect to ourselves and enables us to actively create ongoing space for our healing, creativity, expansion and joy.
What rituals have brought you nourishment and joy recently?
What rituals have held you over the past year, if like us there are times you’ve struggled to hold yourself?
Have you shared them alongside anyone?
We'd love to know, if you wish to share.