I’ve always been a bit of a creature of habit. I find things I like and use/repeat consistently until something changes. I rarely get sick of my favorite foods, favorite restaurants, favorite blanket…
Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of rituals and the fact that doing the same thing daily (or regularly) can bring a sense of peace and relaxation to these increasingly crazy times. We create our own rituals, sometimes without even realizing it – this can be grounding and bring us back in the moment at times when we need it most.
Here are a few of mine…
– Making your bed – Gretchen Bleiler told me this is important and I haven’t missed a day since she did. It’s all about setting intentions for the day and signaling that the day has officially begun.
– Morning runs – most mornings I can be found running on Venice beach, often with Bernard; nothing makes me happier, in fact, I often take photos (the same photos over and over) because it’s so beautiful and relaxing; I experience an immediate sense of gratitude and appreciation for living in a beautiful place and having this time for myself; when I travel, a morning run can be equally important in terms of clearing my head and bringing me into the “now” – plus, I get to see amazingly beautiful sights along the way (like the Petit Palais in Paris this week!)
– House cleaning – unquestionably, I don’t do this enough, but when I do, it’s a huge relief. De-cluttering, giving things away, giving things I’m not using to those who will appreciate them more, clearing space…just talking about it allows me to breathe deeply. Sometimes I’ll set a specific goal like cleaning one cabinet out each day for a week. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but this is one thing that will always make me feel better and clearer.
– Dark chocolate – this may seem like a strange one but it’s an important one! Dark chocolate is now praised for its health benefits and I’m thrilled because now I can feel good about the fact that I eat it every single day! It’s a pick-me-up in the afternoon (or whenever) and makes me happy each and every time. I am particularly obsessed with Green + Black’s Organic 70 percent – I always have a stash at the office and travel with it too (no joke!)
– Meditation – I did TM training last year and for a month or two invested the time needed to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. I felt great and it did help me slow down and temporarily deactivate my brain (VERY necessary); this is the ultimate grounding mechanism – you have to sit still and be quiet, two things that are a good contrast to the rest of my life. I need to get back on the program!
All of that said, while rituals are great and can bring us peace and comfort, it’s equally important to get outside of our comfort zones on a regular basis and experience new things. It’s one of the reasons that travel is so important to me. I leave my habits and rituals behind for a brief period of time and see what happens… usually it’s a good thing! More on this topic in the near future.