Seven steps to creating rituals for your best year
by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood
Do you know that there is a unique design to your life? Your mission in this lifetime is to discover that design and get aligned with it. When you do, life becomes fun, things flow more easily, the inevitable challenges of life become only temporary setbacks and your life feels as though it has real meaning.
Your hidden riches surface when you allow your rituals to help you discover and stay aligned with your life’s unique design. Rituals can help you manage your time, energy and thinking. Only 25 percent of life is experienced through the senses. Rituals allow you to connect with and tap into the power of the other 75 percent.
Many people think that rituals are religious practices or superstitions. Yet rituals are the “secret weapons” of the world’s most accomplished people, from sports stars to corporate executives to world-class performers. What most people miss is that rituals are essential tools in today’s world to improve performance, to stay calm in stressful situations and to maintain balance in an overly busy life.
But what is the difference between a habit and a ritual? We all have good habits and bad habits. In contrast, rituals are conscious, intentional acts we choose to make habitual. Rituals focus attention in a very practical way and can be tailored to the major needs we all share, as summarized below.
Relationships — attracting your ideal partner and forming a loving bond between you
Health, diet and beauty — getting your body into harmony at every level so that it becomes your strongest ally in reaching a state of optimal well-being
Money and wealth — matching your inner riches with external abundance
Ceremonial rituals — creating a sacred space and entering it for healing and renewal
Family — bringing parents and children into a closer circle of security, understanding and love
Listed below are seven aspects to creating your own rituals that will create a special feeling and experience when they are performed.
1. Intention — Read out loud the intention you are setting.
2. Preparation and purification — Create a special spot where you keep the elements for your ritual. Also, take a few moments each time before you begin to straighten and clean your ritual space.
3. Use of symbols — Place meaningful and inspirational symbols in your ritual space. These might include photos of your family, special mentors or teachers you value, mementos or anything else that will give personal meaning to your ritual.
4. Activating the senses — By incorporating fruit, flowers, scented oils or candles, your ritual will have a deeper and more profound effect.
5. Prescribed performance — Create a specific order to what you will do during your ritual. An example would be to prepare the space. Take a moment to clean the area, light some incense, arrange your fresh flowers, fruit or healthy snack, and put your scarf or cloth on. Sit quietly in silence for 30 seconds. Open your eyes and read your intention out loud.
If you are beginning your day, write out three things you would like to accomplish today. At the end of the day, list three things you accomplished. Read a quote or passage from a book that is inspiring and reminds you of why you are focusing on this ritual. Quietly say aloud one thing you are grateful for — choose something you have not expressed on previous days. Say one thing you appreciate about yourself, again choosing something you have not expressed before. Put out the incense and begin working on your project.
6. Repetition — Repeating your ritual will help ground your intention and create new neural pathways so that your day will always be connected to the intention you set.
7. Invoking the unseen — This can be as simple as acknowledging that you need help to achieve the goals you have set for yourself and you are willing to accept that help.
By using these seven aspects as a guide (no need to follow a particular order), you will create specialness in your day and in your life. You will become more focused when you are working, and you will not obsess over it when you are not.
A design exists to your life. You were born with it. Uncovering your unique role and purpose in the world lies in discovering it through ritual. The world is at a turning point. It
needs you doing what you came here to do. When you achieve that, you will be living your ideal life and reaping the inner riches that are your birthright.
Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood are the co-authors of Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose and The Passion Test, a tool used to help people discover their passions and connect with meaning. They are founding members of the Transformational Leadership Council. thehiddenriches.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 6, December 2014/January 2015.