Archive for the ‘ritual’ Category

“Now where did I put my…?”

Does this ever happen to you? You’re carrying a few bags of groceries from the car to the house. In a hurry to go out again later that day, you’re distressed to discover your keys are nowhere to be found.

 

There are only so many things you can fully attend to at a time. When you’re engaged in a conversation, or have ten things on your mind something as “trivial” as where you set something down may not shoot right past your short term memory.

 

My uncle Leon would have his glasses pushed up on top of his head. Look all over the house for them and offer me a quarter if I could find them for him. That was the easiest quarter I ever made. Like Leon, everyone misplaces things from time to time-you put your keys in your pocket because you’re carrying a few bags, hang up your jacket and later wonder where your keys are, or put your phone down to get some information in another room then return and don’t remember where you set the phone.

 

Two solutions. Places where you always (okay almost always) put certain items, like keys, phone, wallet, shoes. It’s kind of like having the address for them. Once you develop the habit, chances are lots higher that you’ll find your items where they belong.

 

But sometimes you won’t put things where they belong, right? Even if you’re in a rush, stop. Sit down. Close your eyes and breathe. Think about what you were doing when you last had the item. Recreate your steps. Do this as calmly as possible.

 

How do you decide where something “belongs” anyway? Have you ever put something important in a safe place and then forgotten just where that place is? Again, having a special safe place that you use all the time can make a huge difference. Trust me. I still haven’t found two hundred dollar bills I put safely away last fall.

Routine or Ritual?

 

Habits and routines created with intention can make life easier in so many ways. I don’t mean the unconscious habits of going for a snack when you’re bored or throwing clothes on the chair rather than hanging them up. Those are the habits that most people say they’d like to change.

What I’m talking about are the productive behaviors you want to change the problem behaviors to. I’m also including other positive routines and habits – such as regular sleep and wake time, paying bills every Friday, that kind of thing. For example, I have a morning routine that goes breakfast, exercise, shower and dress, work. Sometimes I have an early client and have exercise or shower after that. The actions of the routine may get shuffled but not neglected because they’ve become habitual.

Now with a ritual you are adding an additional element—the conscious intention of the behavior helping you be more of the person you wish to be. Here’s an example that uses the process of ritual:

Intention: Organizing a space in which you can find things, get things done, and keep what’s important to you safe. Hold the intention of creating your space as a sanctuary where you can be comfortable and focus on what is meaningful.

Planning: Schedule a block of time to look at all of the things in your space. During this time, you will make a decision about every item in your space. If something has no use or meaning, or is no longer important to you, consider letting it go. Some things will be tossed, some given away, and some perhaps stored elsewhere because they are rarely used. Next, look at what will stay – the things you want to keep and use all the time. Think about where it makes the most sense to put the items you’ve decided are special to you and support your intention.

Preparation: Your first action step is the clearing and de-cluttering. A cleansing process is often done to make way for something new. After clearing, find the right kinds of containers for the things you have. Now, take a break.

Manifestation: Set aside a morning or afternoon for the ritual. Enter the room and close the door. Sit down and focus on your intention.

Select one type of object—say books. As you recognize in what way they reflect who you are and what’s important to you, you can claim them as power objects. Put them in the areas you’ve decided upon.

To close the ritual, imagine doing what you will be doing in each area of the room. Do you feel better, worse or, the same as before? Make sure you feel good everywhere. Take a photograph of your space.

Integration: Put the photograph on the wall or in your journal. Use it as a daily or weekly reminder as perhaps the first step of a maintenance ritual.