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Episode 84: The Life-Giving Power of Rituals

When you hear the word “ritual,” what do you think of? It can sound like a stuffy word, but it doesn’t have to be. A ritual is something you often do that helps you step toward the person you want to be.  A ritual can look like a lot of different things: practices like prayer, meditation, and yoga. Taking a few minutes after work to put on some music, get on the floor, and play with your kids. Sitting down at the same time every day to write, or soaking in the tub at the beginning and the end of each day (like Emily!). Ritual helps you reset your mind so you can live with intention. And today, Emily’s sharing four ways a ritual can add some ease and automation to your days, why rituals help us grow, and how to easily incorporate a life-giving ritual into your schedule (and one doesn’t add a whole lot of time—or guilt—either). There’s power in meeting yourself in the same space regularly. Because when you accept who you are and where you are, it’s a lot easier to find the path toward who you’d like to be.

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4 Ways Rituals Help You Grow

Number 1:  Ritual takes away drama and friction, and inserts ease and confidence.

Rituals takes away the friction of deciding (A) to do that thing and (B) how you’re going to do it. And there’s something to be said about an activity that makes my life a little more simple and automated.

Number 2:  Ritual gives you the chance to look at old things from a new perspective.

As an adult, you’ve expanded your horizons throughout your life more than you realize. Whenever I come across old stories, familiar situations, and even prayers I’ve heard before, my hope is that when I do revisit these familiar thing through ritual, I’m a little softer, a little more empathetic. A little less impatient and stubborn, more calm and discerning and forgiving.

Number 3:  Ritual gives you the chance to practice grace for yourself.

Have you ever done a workout routine, like yoga or spinning or weight training—and it felt like your progress was all over the place? Like, sometimes you go and feel so strong, and then the next time you go, it feels like you’ve gone backward? It’s okay. You are human, and progress doesn’t go in a straight line. In this case, practicing your ritual, even when it feels harder than usual, gives you a chance to give yourself grace. You’re trying, you really are—and even if the progress isn’t what you’d hoped for, there’s so much you’ve gained just in the trying. 

Number 4:  The small actions of ritual add up to something big.

Maybe you’ve decided to make caring for your body a ritual for yourself. You add more colorful foods to your plate and you also decide to do some light strength training twice a week, so you can make sure your muscles and bones stay strong as you get older. Then one day, you’re out walking and notice that, huh, that hill that used to knock the wind out of you doesn’t do that as much anymore. And you’re pretty pumped about that.

Thought-Provoking Quotes

A ritual is something you do that, usually, no one else really sees. And you do the mundane, everyday work of ritual because . . . somehow, it gives you life. It gives you direction. It teaches you things you would never learn otherwise because you made yourself do this thing, over and over and over—sometimes when you felt like it, but especially when you didn’t.” – Emily Ley

“To me, rituals almost like habits on steroids: they’re not just helpful little things you pick up. They’re intentions you set, almost in a sacred way, because you know they really matter to your growth and development as a person. They help you become more of who you are, and also who you want to be.” – Emily Ley

A Blessing for Your Week

May you find the rituals that feed your soul.

May you discover ease in your day, as you work so hard.

And after a while, may you see tiny slivers of progress as you begin to reveal the wonderful person you are—and the outstanding person you’re becoming.

Simplicity Tip of the Week

If you’d like to put a ritual in your life but you don’t know where to start, think about this question for a minute: who do I want to become?

I answered this question earlier this year: I knew that I wanted to be someone whose body is strong. So I put a couple different rituals back into my life that had sort of slipped away: I put workouts back into my days, and I also put a bit more time into preparing proteins and produce for our meals. These are small, doable rituals I’m still able to keep up with today.

Now, are there days when I want to skip a work out, or eat a vat of French fries? Absolutely. And some days, I skip workouts and eat the French fries. And guess what? I’m okay with that. Because since I have those rituals, I am way more mindful of when I deviate from the intentions I’ve set out for myself.

So try to answer, Who do I want to become? You’ll probably see what kind of ritual to put in place so you can make progress toward that goal.

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