Raise your hand if you’re the type of person who bites off more than she can chew — and then promptly gives up when it all just becomes too much.
Now keep your hand up if your solution to mid-project burnout has been to plow through to the end, keeping your eye on the end result, and missing out on the fun of the present (and the many gifts that come with it).
That was me in a nutshell for a good chunk of my life.
I’ve done so much in the past ten years that I can feel proud of — Emerging Women has officially been around for ten years, people! — but one of my biggest regrets has been sacrificing my relationship with the present moment in the name of “getting shit done”.
And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the past decade is that I don’t think we have to sacrifice presence in order to be successful.
I think of all that I have sacrificed in the name of speed (and what I thought was “success”). When the thought, I don’t have time to slow down and set my intention, enters my brain, I remind myself that I actually can’t afford not to.
I am living proof that you can be successful and also be present for every minute of it.
Benefits of Creating Sacred Habits: The Habit of Ritualizing
There are small ways that we can ritualize our lives to bring attention to what we want to attract more of in our lives.
As the author of Tiny Habits, B.J. Fogg, says, “In order to design successful habits and change your behaviors, you should do three things:
> Stop judging yourself.
> Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors.
> Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.”
One of the most useful tools I have in my possession (and one of my tips for bringing more ritual into your life below) is practicing self-compassion.
On the surface, rituals and habits are very different; habits are repeated actions that don’t require conscious thought, and rituals require being grounded in the present moment. But we can use the same tools Fogg teaches to bring more habits into our lives to also call upon more ritual, intention and awareness.
Why create sacred habits? Because they can bring meaning and purpose into your life. Our thoughts become reality, which is why we should be choosing them more consciously on a regular basis.
Just as brushing your teeth twice a day is good oral hygiene, consciously being aware of your thoughts is just good mental hygiene.
Increased Relationship to Spirit
Why bother increasing your relationship with Spirit?
When we create intentional relationships with Spirit, we are no longer “doing life” alone. When we are in connection with Spirit and we are not flying solo, trying to drive projects across the finish line according to ambivalent deadlines, we feel a sense of connection to ourselves and to our purpose.
How do we increase our relationship with Spirit? By paying attention to our thoughts and actions throughout the day. We’re more likely to hear what Spirit is communicating to us when we’re paying attention.
This level of awareness comes through habits of ritual and inserting more sacredness into our life.
Thoughts Become Reality
Our thoughts really do become reality. What we focus on, we absorb. What we look for, we find.
If we’re constantly focusing on the negative, we’re going to invite more of that into our lives. If we’re focusing on what we want to bring into our lives, those things are more likely to happen.
When we positively relate to our desires (through ritualization), we infuse them with life, color and vibrancy – making them a magnet for manifestation. When we make this ritualization into a habit, we start creating a more rich landscape for those miracles to happen.
Living Life With Meaning
I’m going to be honest with you: I’m the type of person who searches for meaning in just about everything. (Sometimes to my detriment. I mean, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar – but is it?!?)
We don’t have to put meaning into everything, right?
Well, actually we do. Because everything has meaning.
When we pay attention to the deeper meaning of things, our life becomes poetry. An unfolding beautiful journey — rather than something we are trying to slog through. We’re creating a life story that we are living, instead of just being a side character in someone else’s story.
8 Ways to Bring More Ritual Into Your Life
I do energy clearings before meetings, thank spaces before I enter them, and set intentions all day long. It’s off the hook how witchy I’ve become.
Do the energy clearings “work”? Who knows? But they make me more present, more intentional, and more creative. Like I’m getting down deeper into my life.
There’s no one “right” way to bring more ritual into your life. Rituals that work for me might not be right for you.
That’s why this list of eight ways to bring more ritual into your life isn’t meant to be set in stone. They’re simply meant to act as inspiration — ways you may want to adapt and change to fit into your own life.
1. Develop a Morning Practice
A morning practice doesn’t need to be an all-morning event. Who has time for that?
Even if you just set aside 15 minutes every morning to reflect on your life and check in on yourself, you’re doing great.
I recommend writing down three things you are grateful for (and why you’re grateful for them) before taking a few minutes of silence or reflection. This practice is a way of simply checking in with yourself so you’re not just drifting through life.
2. Breathe With Intention
Taking a moment to connect with your breath can help ground you in the present moment.
Box breathing is a great way to regulate your involuntary bodily functions, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressure. And it’s so simple. Just breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, breathe out for four counts, hold for four counts, and repeat.
I do this before meetings, throughout the day, or even just once to start my morning.
Again, these are tools — not rules!
3. Pre-Meal Pause
Before you eat, take a pause. It doesn’t need to be long. Just bring your awareness to your meal and the moment. Express gratitude (it doesn’t need to be a whole thing, just a silent thank you will do!) for the food you’re about to eat, your day, or a specific area of your life.
4. Talk to Yourself
Out loud! Say something nice to yourself at least once a day.
You’ve got this! I’m so proud of you for being on time. You look freaking great.
I make this into a habit by doing it whenever I get in the car or go on a walk. Habit stack this ritual (thanks again, B.J.!) with something you already do, like exercising, brushing your teeth (compliment yourself for the whole two minutes in the mirror!), or checking your phone.
5. Get Inspired
Read something inspirational in the morning and before bed.
Create a stack of books or poems (or anything something you can read) — even if you’ve already read it a million times.
Surround yourself with material that is inspiring that you can reach for and get a jolt of inspiration.
6. Honor Spaces
Before you go into any building, honor the space and wish yourself a pleasant experience in it.
Connect with the building and experience it before you even walk in the door.
7. Spend Money Intentionally
Before you go shopping, say, “May I find everything in perfect timing; may I be on task, not rushed, and not wasting time.” Set the intention before you go into the store or when you’re on your way to the store.
Before spending money, ask yourself three questions:
- Do I love it?
- Is it time for me to have it?
- What will it do for me?
Asking those questions before you buy something will help you attract the right things, which you will find when they’re ready to find you.
8. Practice Self-Compassion
Studies show that self-compassion is one of the most helpful tools we have for attracting what we want. I do this before, during, and after I meet a goal or “go for something” I want.
And if things don’t turn out the way I want? I practice self-compassion. Things will not go our way all the time. We can’t “sacred habit” our way to perfection because the p-word doesn’t exist. And when they don’t? We’re more likely to live the lives we want and align with our desires when we practice self-compassion.
Don’t overthink it — just put a hand on your heart (I do this all day long!) and ground yourself.