Suzanne Norman

Enlightened Living Articles

The Power Of Ritual

Thursday, January 24, 2019

part 2

Rituals for living. This is where you get to make life more special for yourself.  You can create a ritual around many things, including: Any practice that you want to become more of a fixture in your life, such as meditating or cooking; any everyday act that you want to enhance the specialness of, such as mealtimes or bathing; any act that you want to transform into a grounding or tuning-in point in your life; to create a mindful or meaningful space in your day.

A ritual doesn't need to be ceremonious, but consider this: the more special you make your rituals, the more specialness there will be in your life.  It's almost too simplistic to take it seriously, but it's true in so many areas of life, so I encourage you to let that sink in for a moment.

The most fundamental requirement of a ritual is that you're deliberate about it. This might mean that you tune in, take a single breath, and express to yourself what you intend to do.  Then when you're done, you tune in, take a breath, and express that you have gratefully concluded the ritual.  This could take literally only ten seconds.

But adding additional elements that you're consistent about can make your rituals something you look forward to, it can help cement your rituals more firmly into your life, and it can make it easier to quickly 'drop in' to a lucid, or inspired state.

Consider the following elements for ideas. Think of them as ways to "bookend" your ritual, to set it apart from the everyday, and to lend greater potency to what you set out to do.  These elements have set the stage for some of my most powerful reflective and ideation sessions, my most efficient work, and my deepest meditations

Elements of Ritual

Fire:  A candle, a fireplace, an oil lamp, or the sun.  Fire is a symbol of illumination, warmth, and connection.

Words: Set an intention, say a blessing or mantra, invoke a guide.  Writing can make words even more "real".

Food or drink: Consuming food/drink is special as it involves bringing something from the outside world into your body. In addition, it incorporates the senses of taste and smell, and may produce a biological response.

Beauty: Adorning and beautifying your space, your things, and your life is a way of elevating them beyond the mundane, and of demonstrating gratitude and reverence.

Sound:  Trickling water, bells, chimes, chants, a favorite song, can all help tune our attention.

Garments:  Putting on a special necklace, shawl, or other adornment may help you get into the right space.

Water:  Water symbolized purity, cleansing, and flow.  Bathe, slip your hands in it, splash some on your face

Scents:  Flowers, incense, and essential oils have long been used to uplift consciousness and shift the space around us to designate a special purpose

Gatherings: Strength in numbers. Whether its co-working or co-ritualizing, tuning in together can be stronger.

Location:  The woods, the beach, or your altar in the bedroom.  A consistent space can help focus your ritual.

Objects of significance:  A cup, a crystal, a feather, a stone...these can help anchor you in your ritual.

Timing:  Synchronizing a ritual with a particular season, the birthday of someone important, a historic event, a moon phase, time of day, the solstice, equinox, etc., may contribute to a sense of extra power and alignment.

I have a number of rituals that I've begun to incorporate into my day/life. For instance, two of my girlfriends and I have decided to come together at the new moon. We intend to draw new moon mandalas and to set seeds of intention for the month.  Another small group of women and I intend to gather on every fifth Friday (happens 4 or 5 times per year) and share stories or sources of inspiration.  Can you think of a group ritual that you can create to bring the power of community and connection?

Answer these questions to reveal factors that will be most natural for you to integrate into your rituals:

1) When and where do you feel you're most inspired and focused?

2) What clothing makes you feel most in your element?

3) What's your favorite food or drink to consume while pondering your future and accessing your inner strength?

4) Do you have any treasured objects that make you feel inspired or uplifted? Photo? Eagle feather?

5) What helps you feel centered and grounded? Turning off your phone? Taking a bath? Running a mile?

6) Are there any sounds or scents that help you relax or put you in a transcendent space?

7) Which of the elements in the list above do you feel a natural attraction to?

Feel free to share any rituals you have or what the above questions revealed to you.