My dear friend the Tea Toad has a ritual of sipping afternoon tea at precisely 3 pm; never a minute earlier or later. And he insists on have a small treat with his afternoon "cuppa." There's no medical or religious reason for this daily ritual other than the Tea Toad enjoys it. He looks forward to it as a time to stop and savor two of this favorite things; tea and sweets. He says that it's his time to decrompress from his activities and concentrate on the art of enjoying life. Tea time brings him into present moment awreness.
In my usual fashion, I did a little research on rituals and found some pretty interesting stuff. Rituals, it seems, are so ingrained in us that most of the time we don't recognize, or label, them as rituals. We do them rather absent-mindedly. Humans, especially, look at rituals as being unnecessary and primitive. Some are even too time-consuming. But, none-the-less, we are the sum of our daily rituals. They usually start with our morning routine and end with our evening one. "Rituals add substance and meaning to actions and events at both the individual and social level. Rituals can also create new values and structures, so says James Mapes, a noted life coach and writer.
Mr. Mapes tells us that rituals allow us to make certain elements of our behaviour routine and automatic so that we don't constantly have to "rev" ourselves up for certain actions; humans (and frogs, too, of course) have linited willpower and rituals help us with discipline. Take a minute and think about all the things you do automatically that are rituals...like making your morning tea or coffee, and buckling the seatbelt and adusting the mirrors before starting the car. Those activities are actually rituals.
I could go on and on about this subject. I found lots of interesting facts and information on this subject. But in the essence of time, I'll sum things up by offering you five daily rituals that can have an enormous impact on your personal and professional life.
1. Create a gratefulness list. I talk about this ALL the time and that's because it's so important. Simply commit yourself to writing down 5 things every day that you are grateful for. For me, I like to do this before falling asleep. It's a positive way to end the day. Plus, it helps me to sleep peacefully.
2. Take a pause before starting up your computer in the morning. Get into the habit, ie ritual, of stoping and organizing your desk...as well as your thoughts...before beginning your day's activities. Coming into the present moment makes us more efficient.
3. Commit to having a monthly lunch date with a good friend or a co-worker. This is one ritual I really enjoy. I have lunch every month with a good friend. We're relaxed, and while eating a fine meal, we can reconnect and catch up on what's been happening with us. Having time set aside each month, or week, to connect with others is so important!
4. Schedule meetings. I know! I always dread meetings, but I have learned that these, too, can be a useful ritual. Meetings have value by setting a time for co-workers to connect and acknowledge each other. Meetings help to fuse a team together by instilling a sense of culture in us. Don't work, or work from home? No problem! Schedule a family meeting once a week and use this time to go over schedules, activities, and plan for family outings. It works the same with families as it does with co-workers. It gives us a sense of belonging.
And #5: Start your meeting, either at work or at home, by offering respect for your colleagues and/or family members. Allow time for everyone to declare their admiration, respect, or congratuations on the accomplishments/contributions of others.
Make rituals a conscious choice every day and you'll soon take a big LEAP into the exceptional life you've always wanted.