Here we are again. Another week, another Monday.
I can remember times when Monday felt like a dread. The fun of the weekend was over and I’d have to drag myself out of bed earlier than I’d like, maybe to a job I didn’t want, or a class I didn’t enjoy. But now, Mondays bring a sense of excitement and hope. I think of all the possibilities – the goals I inch closer toward. And a great deal of this feeling is because of the rituals I’ve established. Every Monday, after the girls have gone off to school, after I’ve had a cup of tea, I drive to the yoga studio, find a comfortable seat on my mat, and breathe. And that is where my week truly begins. In those few moments of quiet before my teacher enters – before my body goes into action, where slowly all that was with me before begins to fade away, there, again I find my center. After an hour of body and breathwork, with an even clearer mind and open heart, I drive home, sit at my desk, and write this letter to you. It’s a ritual I’ve been cultivating over the last few months, and it brings such balance to my being. I don’t try to fill this part of the week with other things. I’ve set aside the time for this ritual. I honor it. And it repays me.
I’ve learned over the years that it’s vital I find this space in order to be fully present in what I’m doing. If I dive straight into anything without first taking the time to ground, I can easily feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. It’s like in yoga, if we were to drop straight into a pigeon pose the moment we land on the mat, it probably wouldn’t feel too good. You may even hurt yourself. But by the end of the class, when the body is warm and open, the pose becomes natural and easy to soften into it. So why not bring that same awareness into all aspects of our lives?
How often do you find yourself jumping from one moment to another without first honoring the transition? This kind of action without grounding can cause me to always feel a few steps ahead of myself – the mind being the first to race to the lead. This is where rituals can be so useful. When I talk about rituals, I don’t necessarily mean lighting incense and chanting our way through breakfast, though if that sounds good for you, then welcome it! But more simply, rituals are any series of actions we take that are set with intention, and that we can use to lead us toward our desired outcomes. For me, that desired outcome is a greater sense of ease in my life. Perhaps it is for you too. But living with ease doesn’t mean everything is perfect or easy. It may not even mean that everything is comfortable. Living with ease means being present to whatever life hands us – good or bad – accepting it, and moving forward with fluidity. Looking back at the yoga class – when the body is ready, the pose is effortless. When I am able to set the desired tone for my day, beginning with a sense of grounding and focus, the next steps don’t feel as difficult, and I continue onward from there, with a greater sense of ease and purpose.
Today I invite you to think about what little rituals you may add to your day, whether it be in the morning, before you start your work, before picking kids up from the bus stop, or whatever requires your attention, and first give a little attention to yourself. Once you find your place of comfort or center, then take your next step from there. The more you do this, the easier it will become to find that place of ease and live a life with intention.
If you feel like you may need a little help getting started, today’s meditation is a quick and simple one, but just as effective. It focuses on taking a few minutes for yourself and bringing your awareness back to your center. I hope it gives you the opportunity to experience some ease, and begin to think about what rituals you may like to cultivate.