A few weeks ago I was feeling pretty flat, in way I couldn't articulate. Just kind of....blah. It felt like the day to day of living was a bit of a slog. The 'daily grind' felt just like that - a grind. It felt like all I was doing with my days was going to work, coming home, eating dinner, and going to bed. My life felt routine, and the routine felt stale.
I talked to Niall about this, and he agreed that we had fallen into a pattern of doing the same thing most weeks and weekends. We don't really have the funds to be able to book a holiday on the fly, so we decided to do a repeat of something we did last year that we loved and that didn't cost any money. We decided to get up at dawn the next day and watch the sun come up over the rocks at North Bondi.
The next day, in the half-twilight we walked down to the beach and picked our way around the rocks. We scrambled and slipped and clambered until we found the perfect east-facing spot to watch the sun come up.
I put my camera down, put my phone away, and I allowed myself to drink it all in. To be present in the moment and to really focus on my senses. To watch the sky changing from inky blue to golden pink. To listen to the waves crash against the rocks. To feel the salt spray on my face and the sun warming my body. To smell the ocean, and feel the heavy presence of the rocks beneath me.
It was a truly beautiful dawn, and as I watched the sun appearing over the horizon I felt so damn lucky to live where I do, and to be right there, in that moment, appreciating the hell out if it. I couldn't believe I had felt so dissatisfied with my lot in the previous weeks. It was a real perspective-shifting, mood-enhancing, gratitude-giving experience.
And I love that this small adventure of ours has now become a ritual. It feels exciting, and it feels meaningful to us. The ritualistic aspect of this activity shook me out of the heaviness I was feeling with the routine of the day-to-day.
As it says in the quote at the start of this post, a ritual adds weight and significance to a task or activity. It marks time in a personal, meaningful way. It can lift you out of the routine and change your perspective.
I’m trying to look at my time differently, and look for ways to introduce a ritualistic aspect into things that I do. For example. I want to build a habit of daily meditation. And i think the way I’m going to stick at it is to make it a ritual - to do it at the same time each day, in the same spot, and, importantly, to really focus on why I want to do it. To think about the value its going to bring to my day, and the benefits it will bring to my body and mind over time.
The next time I feel stuck in a rut, I might try thinking about the things I'm doing with my days, and try to introduce a sense of ritual to things. I really feel like this helps to escape the feeling of the days all blurring into one. I guess, essentially, I'm talking about mindfulness. About being present in the moment and savouring it. I know on a rational level that I feel more content when I frame my thoughts this way. It's just about sticking to the practice of it! Another reason to start my meditation 'ritual'....
rituals are routines that carry meaning.