Recently I revisited Luang Prabang in Laos. Early morning collecting alms by buddhist monks is an ancient southeast Asian, over 400 year old religious tradition and those who give alms earn merit for their next life. In Luang Prabang this ceremony is simply spectacular because it involves almost 30 monasteries and several hundred monks. The alms ceremony is a sunrise event with a long single line of monks in saffron-coloured robes making their way down the picturesque streets. Their feet are bare and each monk is carrying a bart bowl. In full silence and making no eye contact the monks accept the alms, the bits of rice offered by the pilgrims.
This quiet serene time in the morning is a very powerful ritual and sets the tone and pace for the rest of the day. Recognise the feeling that your day just takes over, you don’t know where and how it started and you ended the day feeling exhausted and unfulfilled? To start and end your day with your own rituals is a very impactful yet simple thing to do.
Using your phone as your alarm clock is very convenient and the moment you wake up in bed to first thing check your emails, in case you missed anything, feels very efficient right? So how often have you been enlightenend and felt liberated staring at your inbox, facebook status, tweets, online news and what have you that early in the day. So even before you even set foot out of bed, even before you start waking up properly, you allow yourself to get influenced by external noise setting the tone for the day. Your mind, thoughts have now already been programmed and influenced by the content and tone of these messages.
My dictionary explains: a ritual is a solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Typically religions offer people many rituals, like the above buddhist alms ceremony, these rituals act like anchors in our lives. Many of us are looking beyond the traditional religions to place new anchors creating our own rituals.
I know what you are thinking: I have no time to go for a morning run, do complicated yoga poses and meditate for an hour because I have kids to feed, need to beat traffic and have deadlines to kill. However, do you have 10 minutes to spare each morning just for yourself? Even if you have just 10 minutes to set your own ritual is a better start than staring at your phone and get anxious even before you’ve hit the shower.
Here’s a few suggestions to start creating your own ritual and it’s just 6 easy steps:
- Get yourself a regular alarm clock and leave your phone to charge in your living room, your den, anywhere far away from your pillow. Yes! Indeed, this means that you should not step into bed with your phone, tablet or laptop;
- In the morning after switching off that alarm, drink two glasses of water to get your system going;
- Spend just 5 minutes in your bedroom to do some careful stretching, reach for the sky, stretch your arms, welcome the day, well you know the drill but how often do you really do this?;
- Then standing still, sitting down or laying on the floor meditate just for 5 minutes. Fill your mind with positive thoughts, visualise how you want this day to flow; how do you want to come across at that meeting and how you want to feel at the end of the day;
- That’s it! Have some fruit, an apple, fresh orange juice then hit the shower and have a healthy solid breakfast to get you fully prepared for the day!
- After this you allow those emails, messages and news to come to you. Feel the difference..
Try this and I guarantee you that after a few weeks when you skip your ritual, you’ll start missing it. Experiment with it, extend you time. Is your ritual better suited going for a morning walk or run? You’d like to practice your yoga skills? Perfect, this is all about your personal intention creating your own ritual to own your day.
Want to know more? Drop me an email: [email protected] or leave your comments to this post.