I find this so on point.
Our school holidays were a blur of relatives, sickness, Christmas, relaxing, sickness, beach, then back to work and trying to find babysitters so that your 6 year old doesn't trash the houses you are trying to clean (I am a domestic goddess in everyone's home but my own at the moment!).
Everything was out of whack, but with the kids back, it is time for a new normal. This mumma has to find her routine once again.
Every year (no: every school term), my routines and rituals change. Perhaps it's because my kids are getting older, perhaps it is because I am getting older. Either way I am forever tweaking and trying to find something different to make things run smoother, or to squeeze some time in for myself.
There is a difference between a ritual and a routine. It is not so much the action, but the intention behind the action, that makes them different.
Routines usually have an end result, whereas rituals give us rhythm and gentle reminders of our purpose.
I struggle with routine. I can acknowledge they are necessary, but I often fall down with implementing them.
Rituals however, I LOVE a ritual.
Life can be busy and noisy, but if we can bring mindfulness into things, we give ourselves permission to pause.
You can create modern rituals within the things you already do and enjoy, by taking time to be mindful with them. I have added rituals to my routines, and I thought I would share my top 5 with you, in the hope that I might inspire you to create some rituals of your own!
Ritual Number 1: Morning Cuppa
“But I already do this!” I hear you cry. Of course you do, which it why it is a perfect start to making your routines more mindful!
When you switch on that kettle, take a second or two to pause and reflect, to give yourself a moment to stretch, to take a few deep breaths, or to listen to the sounds of the morning.
When school is back, I like to get up before the kids, sometimes to run, sometimes to simply be in the silence of my house. It is bliss.
When pouring the hot water into your favourite cup, watch the steam. Think of how lucky you are to live in a house with electricity and clean water. Just be grateful and sip your tea.
Ritual Number 2: Feel your body
Your own body: no partner required.
When you take a shower, wash your body with mindfulness. Not easy to do if you live in a share house that consists of either housemates or your own small children. But when you can, take time in the shower to appreciate.
Think about the gifts that your body has given you, and be grateful. Maybe your body was able run 5 km that morning, or fed a REAL LIFE HUMAN through the night. Maybe your body is still tingling from the touch of a lover, or is tired from long hours studying for exams.
Whatever it is, find it and thank it. Just think of one thing, every time you shower.
Ritual Number 3: Dance and sing
My kids and I have started stomping. Yep, we stomp together.
Every morning (well… not on school holidays that much), one of us chooses a song and we go outside, barefoot, and we dance, sing and stomp our feet into the ground. Studies have shown that those who spend time outside barefoot and in connection to the ground, are happier and more relaxed. Being barefoot grounds you to the earth and helps connect you to nature.
You don’t have to get all "hippy tribal dancer", you just have to connect your skin to the ground and move. My son loves putting on Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ and we belt out the words as we stomp and dance.
It is raw, it is real and it makes us smile and hold hands. If you can find the time, I highly recommend you stomp at some point in your day.
Ritual Number 4: Take 5
I walk my dog most days, sometimes alone, sometimes with company, but every walk, I try and take 5. That’s 5 pieces of rubbish.
I used to get really upset picking up rubbish. I’d huff and puff and get annoyed that I was picking up other people’s crap. But I kept doing it.
A friend of mine does the same, and then she makes up artworks and pictures and takes silly photos with it all. So it got me thinking, picking up the rubbish is part of my routine while I walk, so why not love it?!
So I started picking things up with more mindfulness, thinking about how good it was to be helping the environment, about the animals that I was saving, and soon I stopped hating it, and made it a ritual.
Ritual Number 5: Say goodnight
Yes, I know: this is SO routine that you can't remember a day you didn't say those words! BUT I'm asking you to just put some mindfulness into it!
Don’t just say the words, feel them.
Live alone? Say it to your cat or dog.
Live alone with no pets? Say it to yourself, sweetheart!
Whoever it is, say it with feeling and acknowledge the day you are closing your eyes one. Be thankful and let your thoughts clear and you settle into sleep.
So THAT is my top 5. Nothing I have written here is earth-shattering, and I am sure you have read it all before. I had, several times in fact, before I started using them in my everyday life. So simple, yet so effective.
We all have rituals, men, women and children, but we forget to pause with them. We forget the mindfulness that once embodied our sacred rituals. But we can pause, we can stop, even just for a second or two. More often than not, that is all it takes.
Michelle Bell is a mother of 2 who is spending 2018 working on her dream house with her husband. Michelle is a firm believer of supporting your village, and created Clean Bee Au to support mother's in her community in a way that would still allow her time with her family. She is 1/3 of the DeFuze Australia Team and enjoys sharing the love through Instagram and Blogs.