7 Simple Rituals for Wellbeing
Every week I teach a lecture at Canyon Ranch about Women's Wisdom. We talk about the steps and stages of womanhood and the importance of honoring each stage with ceremony. I love the women that show up, open-hearted and willing to offer their perspectives, experiences and wisdom. I also talk about how women are the ritual keepers; we gather the community, organize the meals and light the candles. We talk about what is real, what needs to be changed, what other people need, who is hurting and who is healing. We often focus on what nurtures and what heals and we are often looking for solutions to 'make things better.'
Many of the women that I have worked with are seeking a reconnection with what is 'true.' Often they have taken part in the myth of the 'perfect woman;' that they must be the most amazing, mother, sister, daughter, worker, wife, lover 24/7, always in a good mood, never angry and always looking exceptionally fit and well-rested. Oftentimes they are exhausted by the strange and impossible overlay of what a woman is supposed to be in this culture. There is a theme though, when we dig into what is 'true' and meaningful for most women and it is this: connection with others and relationships, connection to the earth, care for society and the larger whole. When these things feels balanced for a woman, she will feel a sense of solidity, calmness and ability to come from her heart in more circumstances in her life.
We are beings who naturally live in cycles and women are especially attuned to the natural rhythm of life. To have ritual is important for us. I often think of the bedtime ritual that I have with my daughter and how important it is for her to have the flow of that ritual 'feel' similar each time. Ritual creates a sense of inner order for us as human beings and a sense of well-being. It also nurtures our connection with what is 'true'. When we spend time doing what we truly value in the day, we are strengthened.
Here are some simple things to do to create balance and meaning in your life:
1. Spend time in nature everyday. Being connected to nature replenishes us. Take a walk, dig in the earth, listen to the sounds of nature, watch the sunrise or sunset, keep fresh flowers or herbs in your house. Keep an open connection to the earth in these ways. When we keep an open connection with nature we are more likely to see beauty around us.
2. Nurture an open connection in your relationships. In a daily spiritual practice, light a candle, meditate and/or pray (if you have little time, simply do 5 minutes). At the end of your sitting time, focus on those whom you love and set an intention on keeping open-hearted with them. There is the illusion that open-heartedness leads to pain. It is an illusion. The more open-hearted we are, the more we are able to see what is 'true.'
3. Do something daily that is purely giving to others. Make a meal for someone who needs it, hold the baby of a tired mother, listen to someone so that they feel heard, give time, money or something valuable to others that helps ease their lives.
4.Do something daily that is purely giving to yourself. Hot bath with lavender oil or mineral salts, stretching in the morning, ten minutes of rest in the middle of the day; whatever you know nourishes you. (if you want a reviving oil try cardamom essential oil - 4 drops in the bath). When you take this time, don't think about others, problems or worries. Think of what is good.
5. Eat one meal at the dinner table and light a candle when you do - everyday. Take a moment for gratitude before you eat.
6. Tell someone that you love them - everyday. Write it in a card and leave it on a pillow. Stick it in a lunch box note. Text or send an email with just those words on it. At the end of life no one cares about things and money. They care about who they loved and who loved them back.
7. Practice gratitude - no matter what is happening in your life. There is always something we can be grateful for even in the most difficult and painful circumstances. Gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin into our bodies, chemicals that gives us a sense of well-being.