Rituals to Invite Balance and Well-being

By changing the way you do routine things
you allow a new person to grow inside of you.

~Paulo Coelho

This site is a compilation of rituals and stories from many different people around the world. Each post is a different person's response to an invitation to share their rituals for healthy living, activities or behaviors they do regularly for the purpose of bringing value to their well-being. Perhaps there is a ritual in these pages that will catch your attention and find its way into your own life. To help keep this site alive, comment on what you read, share your story if you try one of the rituals, and submit new rituals.

Welcome and Enjoy!


10 Steps to Mindfulness

This article by Leo Babauta originally appeared at ThirdAge.

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." - Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk

The idea of being mindful - being present, being more conscious of life as it happens - may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living for pursuing their goals ... but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more.

Focusing on one task at a time, putting yourself fully into that task, is much more effective than multi-tasking. Focusing on one real goal at a time is also more effective. Focusing on what you're doing right now is highly effective. You're more productive when you're mindful.

But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you're doing more. Anything. Even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it - wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it's incredible.

Life in the Present: A 10-Step Approach

1. Do one thing at a time. Single-task, don't multi-task. When you're pouring water, just pour water. When you're eating, just eat. When you're bathing, just bathe. Don't try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing or driving. Zen proverb: "When walking, walk. When eating, eat."

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

3. Do less. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do. But you're busy and you can't possibly do less, right? You can. I've done it, and so have many busy people. It's a matter of figuring out what's important, and letting go of what's not.

4. Put space between things. Related to the "Do less" rule, but it's a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don't schedule things close together - instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

5. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing. Just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts. Focus on your breathing. Notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness. It'll do you a world of good - and just takes 5 minutes!

6. Stop worrying about the future - focus on the present. Become more aware of your thinking - are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you're doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you're doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.

7. When you're talking to someone, be present. How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.

8. Eat slowly and savor your food. Food can be crammed down our throats in a rush, but where's the joy in that? Savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you'll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well.

9. Live slowly and savor your life. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way - slow down and savor each and every moment. As I type this, for example, I have my 3-year-old daughter, Noelle, on my lap. She's just sitting here quietly, as the rain pours down in a hush outside. What a lovely moment. In fact, I'm going to take a few minutes off just to be with her now. Be right back. :)

10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).

Keep practicing. When you get frustrated, just take a deep breath. When you ask yourself, "What should I do now, Self?" The answer is, "keep practicing."

"When you drive around the city and come to a red light or a stop sign, you can just sit back and make use of these twenty or thirty seconds to relax - to breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy arriving in the present moment. There are many things like that we can do." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Original article
Photo by patries71


Keep Your Love Relationship Alive, Hot and Fun!

My book, “Love From Both Sides – A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality,” tells the story of my husband dying in my arms and “coming back” to chat. Now you may be wondering, and how does that relate to “Rituals for Healthy Living?”

It does, because during my own marriage, I insisted on creating lots of simple rituals. For instance, even though my husband and I were both busy, (Dan was a lawyer and I was a screenwriter), we tried to eat dinner together whenever we could. I cooked, set the table and lit candles. I insisted that we enjoy the small moments. I also insisted that we actually set aside time to “be together.” We made dates to sit on the couch, light a fire, share a glass of wine. We talked, sometimes we even read poetry. In those quiet moments, we remembered why we got married.

And if I was lucky? I got a massage from his wonderful, blacksmith hands, and then we’d make love. And taking time to make “love” a ritual, rather than something that happened at the end of an exhausting day, or worse… something that didn’t happen because we just had no energy left, kept our love alive and the sex hot!

And what was amazing? Even though Dan would sometimes make fun of my fussiness, after he died, he thanked me for insisting that we “honor” what we had together. So ladies? You’ll love my book, because I got an apology! And appreciation. Better late, than never, right?

Creating a sacred ritual of your own might help to keep your love relationship alive, hot and fun! And that in turn will help your own health. (And it might help you lose weight, because you need high levels serotonin to lose weight, and sex is an easy way to get it!) Also according to the new brain research, the more sex you have, the better your brain functions! That’s good news, yes?

So why not start thinking about fun, sexy rituals? According to a wonderful article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, (1/25/09), what really excites women (and creates lots of beneficial chemicals in her brain) … is being desired by her lover. So maybe dance for your lover… become a goddess, and create a fun sexy ritual that will help you live a healthy life!

~ Stephanie Riseley

Stephanie is participating in the WOW! Women On Writing Blog Tour for her book Love From Both Sides – A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality


Transform Your Home into a Safe Haven

In these times of economic upheaval, it’s tough to keep stress levels down. Most of us know some ways to keep stress in control; eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise, meditate. But, did you know that making your home a safe haven can also be extremely beneficial?
The other day, Oprah had Peter Walsh, the organizational expert on her show. The segment was about clutter and how it’s the last thing we need in troubled times, as clutter makes us feel unsafe and anxious.
As an eco-friendly interior designer and Feng Shui expert, I have had the honor of helping many clients transform their lives by changing their homes. Living in a home filled with positive energy, with beauty, a home that is clean, organized and clutter-free makes the occupants feel safe. In safety comes freedom; freedom to be creative, to be motivated and energetic.
Best of all, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to create your sanctuary. I recommend the following steps to create your safe haven:
  • Eliminate harmful products and replace them with eco-friendly ones. This step will improve your health and the health of the planet.

  • Clean your home well and get rid of clutter! This is huge and you can even make money by selling your stuff! A clean home is a healthier home and just feels good. Clutter, as mentioned previously, causes stress, confusion, depression and lethargy. Get rid of anything you don’t love, need or have used for over a year.

  • Clear your home of negative energy with smudging or dowsing. See a previous post of mine on smudging.

  • Get rid of processed food and eat wholesome and organic.

  • Allow energy, or chi, to flow unobstructed throughout your home. Don’t crowd furniture.

  • Use color to your benefit. The cool colors, like blue and purple, are great in the bedroom because they lower blood pressure and help us relax. Social rooms, like the kitchen and living room, benefit from the warm, expansive colors like yellow, red, and orange.

  • Place objects in the Bagua to attract whatever you want—love, money, fame.

  • Balance each room with all four elements—earth, air, fire, and water.

  • Houseplants add great energy and suck up indoor air pollution.

  • Treat yourself to flowers every week—simply my favorite way to make my home feel like a sanctuary.

  • Learn to decorate with confidence! Don’t worry about what’s in style—decorate to please your unique style.

One last suggestion--have fun while doing this! Transforming your home into a sanctuary is really enjoyable—something we all need a bit of now.

~ Norma Lehmeier Hartie
photo from here


Shower People with Encouraging Words, Thoughts and Love!

I am going to start to send letters, post cards and small things through the mail to my grandmother. One each day. She has not been feeling well lately and I thought this would cheer her up a bit. I am thinking of doing it with other people as well so each week I will pick a new person to shower with encouraging words, thoughts, and love!

~ onefish2fish

Photo by Mr. T in DC


Your Crowning Glory - Go Within – Meditation

A man goes into the Himalayan Mountains to find enlightenment. He travels for many miles to find an empty cave to live a spiritual life. He settles in to meditate, study ancient spiritual scripture and do his yoga to keep limber. For many, many years he practices all day and night, until one day – poof! – He’s enlightened.

So as the man emerges from the cave to greet the world, a bird flies over and shits on his head. He immediately becomes enraged and starts cursing at the bird.

What’s the moral of the story? It’s easy to be spiritual in a cave high atop a mountain and far away from everything that could potentially disturb your peace; the real task is to keep peace amidst the challenges we face in the world.

My original attraction to Yoga wasn’t a quest for inner peace or a desire to levitate over Manhattan; I came to Yoga purely for the physical practice. Over time I started exploring all the facets of Yoga and discovered that the physical practice was actually for the “soul” purpose of meditating more easefully and peacefully. Now that was quite an eye-opener for me because no one had explained that when I’d originally signed up. I’d been tricked into thinking I was doing something good for my body, unaware that I was simultaneously doing something good for my mind and soul.

The first few times I tried meditating I made every effort to sit quietly, yet nothing happened. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing happened. My mind ran amuck. It traveled from one thought to another, without taking a break. I felt frustrated and limited. Why couldn’t I just keep quiet for one moment? I was sure everyone else in the room had it down while I was the ONLY one still thinking. But after sharing my experience with others, I realized even the most experienced and self-actualizing people also have days when their minds run seemingly out of control.

And what was the purpose of all this quiet time anyway? After all, I hadn’t had it since kindergarten, and even then I wasn’t very good at it, having been dubbed a social butterfly by my teacher on my report card. But everything I read—spiritual, self-help and even business—talked about the benefits of meditation, so I kept exploring.

Introducing a meditation ritual takes practice; the more you practice the easier it gets. Think back to when you may have learned to ride a bike. You probably fell down a few times and skinned you knees before you got it right. When you started cooking, you probably burned a few things, including you hands. So with regular practice, mediation can get easier.

I believe the only evidence you’ll ever need to prove that mediation works is to try it yourself. Become your own scientist and experiment with different techniques, notice how you feel, draw your own conclusions and experience the results.

Starting my own ritual of meditating was not easy for me; I fell off the Yogic wagon several times. Eventually I found that the best time for me to meditate was when I woke up in the morning. When I tried earnestly to get up with the sun, inevitably I felt tired in the middle of my day. As much as I wanted to get up at the crack of dawn, by the third day I couldn’t keep it up and stopped meditating completely. I discovered that meditating when I got up, regardless of the time, was much more effective.

Upon waking, I cleanse and then meditate before doing anything else. This works best for me. I created a ritual, which became an integral part of my daily routine. If for some reason, I miss my morning meditation, it now feels like I didn’t brush my teeth. Introducing a daily ritual into your routine takes about thirty days of repetition. Find the rhythm that suits you and your life. If you’re not a morning person, meditate in the afternoon; if you are a night owl, take advantage of the stillness of the dark. Start with just five minutes every day and let it grow from there. After you have created a daily habit of meditating; sit for ten minutes, then twenty and so on. If you start your practice with the goal to meditate for an hour and then fail, you’ll get aggravated and give up.

You can create a special, sacred space for your meditations, but remember it’s not completely necessary. No matter where you are, you can always go within. If you like, find a place that is clutter-free and quiet. You can use a special pillow and any accoutrements that feel good to you. I know a woman who has seven children; she meditates in her closet. Keep in mind as you practice more meditation it will get easier for you to just go inside, even in the midst of chaos. Over time you won’t even need any special tools to provide the answers you are seeking. There is no right or wrong in meditation, no pass or fail. All you have to do is try and you will reap the benefits.

Meditation is the key to living royally. When you quiet your mind you free yourself from the chatter, enabling you to see your self-worth clearly and pave the way to a more easeful, peaceful life.

Stacey Joiner
Taken from the teachings in You Deserve The Royal Treatment – A Woman’s Guide to Living Royally.


Blessing Others: A Practice for Opening the Heart

“Blessings” is the sign-off I use in my e-mail correspondence. It was a conscious choice to do so. I was at a stage in my life when “Sincerely” was just too cold; “Love” a bit too warm for a general farewell, especially to business associates. I had to find the one that fit me the best. “Blessings” felt just right.

E-mail is but one of the many opportunities we have to bless others. Throughout the day, we have many opportunities to offer them well wishes, both verbally and non-verbally.

It’s easy to bless the people we love, harder to confer a blessing of peace and happiness upon a prickly other. More challenging yet, if someone has hurt or betrayed us. I’ve often viewed the presence of difficult others in my life as an opportunity for me to love more; to move from hardheartedness to openheartedness, from expectation-holding to letting go, from grudge-holding to forgiveness. Blessing, in fact, may be one of the most powerful practices we can use to keep our hearts open to one another.

Go Undercover

Without them even being aware of it, we can bestow our goodwill on another. Consider the people we encounter in the course of our day, people who may appear to be “invisible.” The woman who scans our groceries at the checkout counter, the groundskeeper at our condo, the janitor at our children’s school, countless others, too many to name. What if we sent a silent, “Bless You,” as we passed them by? “Bless you for your hard work.” “Bless you for doing your job so I can live more comfortably.” “Bless you for caring for my children.” And so on.

Send a “Body Blessing”

With folks to whom we are more intimately connected, we might employ another form of blessing—a “Body Blessing.” Some of us are reluctant huggers. We give quick hugs, embracing someone out of formality or expectation with no real warmth to be found in it. What if we took this body-to-body opportunity to hug a blessing into them? As we press our cheek or shoulder to theirs, we can silently offer them a blessing of health, inner peace, or joy.

Just Say It

Sometimes the direct path of blessing is best. We need to speak our blessing aloud, face-to-face. This is difficult if we have been raised in stoic families who frown upon such outward expressions. Or, perhaps we are shy about speaking our blessings to another for fear of their response. In any case, a verbal expression of well-being or gratitude may be precisely what is needed to deepen our relationship. A whisper in the ear works wonders; an eye-to-eye confession is even better. Engaging in this way brings boundless rewards, to both the giver and the receiver.

The practice of blessing is good for what ails us. It invites us to express gratitude for the presence of others in our lives. It reminds us to see and affirm their basic goodness. Blessing is so very simple. Two little words, sincerely spoken, can change how we perceive our world. “Bless you” is all it takes ...

© Janice Lynne Lundy, 2009

Janice Lynne Lundy is participating in the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour, promoting her book, Your Truest Self.


Threemile Idaho

I have many rituals in my practice, but the most powerful healing ritual for me is what I call a "three-mile Idaho." I live about 1¼ miles from the Idaho border just east of Palouse, WA, in a very lovely setting along the North Fork of the Palouse River. A gravel road heads east from here along the river, and over the years of living here I have discovered how transformative that walk can be. If I go another ¼ mile past the border, the river valley opens up to an expansive plain where Palootspu and Nez Perce would camp in summer before Europeans came to this country, and right at that point is a portal of sorts with Ponderosa pines on either side of the road, framing the view of the valley. Walking to that point and back is almost precisely three miles.

When I have been miserable, stressed-out, unable to see how to go forward from an impossible situation, I have found that I can hold my crisis in my heart-mind and walk out the door, down that road. The walk is long enough that I can go through every voice inside me, and I begin to sort through them, watching the unconstructive voices fall away as I become invigorated with the exercise, breathing deep into my center. The unresolvable struggles transform somehow to become understandable, manageable. Often there are moments of absolute clarity. Over the years, various "stations" along the walk have become associated in my mind with particular transcendent insights, and if I linger at those points I seem to be able to draw on those experiences in addressing whatever I am carrying at the moment. When I reach the portal, I greet the trees on either side and step through. If the moon is out, or the Milky Way, I align somehow with them, breathing and stretching. I offer whatever I have to the spirit of that place.

Then I turn towards home, and every time it feels as though a huge weight has been lifted from my being. The return trip integrates the transformation into the world I left at home, with everything in perspective.

Of course, I also go on three-miles to entertain my dog and collect native plant seeds, but the ceremonial three-mile Idaho is in an entirely different league. I believe it has saved my sanity on several occasions.

Paul Ely Smith


Tossing Snowballs into the River - Winter Solstice Ritual

I walk through snowy woods to a bend in the river, hidden from view by the trees and a small slope. The short day's light is beginning to fade, but a nearly full moon hangs above the naked trees upriver. I've followed a deer path and now stand at river's edge in two feet of snow. I have found a sacred place to savor and celebrate winter's solstice.

Breathing, listening to the joyful sound of shallow water rushing over riverstone. I hear my heart beating and soften into a quiet stance. Who am I?, I ask the river. Who do you want me to be? The sound of my beating heart is a solid rhythm for the river's bright melody of gentle waves and currents. The wonder held in this space suddenly shocks time into hibernation and I stand dissolved and free of name and contraction.

Moonlight pours from my face and the low hanging branches and round river stone. Our bones reach deep into the snowy bank, absent of leaf and bird. The river whispers our true name, speaking her fluid language of source intelligence, a universe of bubbling life. This, this again, she sings, now and now, this unending flow. We float upon gravity's grace in an effortless flow of being, tumbling as beauty's truth, rising as creative essence serving love's expansive reach.

My cold toes bring me back to the riverbank, Thomas shivering in the near darkness. I make snowballs and toss my dissolving fears into the rapids. Obstacles of arrogance and laziness and judgments and worries and clutchings are tossed one by one into the river until the sharp pain of my frozen fingers says Enough! I stand silent in the polar essence of the solstice and devote my fullest energy and awareness to being an embodied action of presence expressing the unity of planet, sun, life, motion and soul to all resonant beings sharing this evolving field of emergent life.

december 21, 2007
5:55 pm

Thomas Arthur

Ripples photo by brentdanley
Moonrise photo by James Jordan


Private Time with Dad

My son Isaac taught me a form of ritual. When he was about six I asked him, what do you think you should do when life feels complicated? Without any hesitation he said, “sit down, think, ask for help.” It is a process for both personal and communal learning that has taught me much.

Yesterday, I walked with my daughter, now 13. It was a “private walk with Dad.” We are vacationing, “holidaying” in Canada with grandparents and cousins. I wanted to make sure we had some time. My daughter so much relished the time. Her life, questions, stories were pouring out of her. We walked among the trees of this little town, Fairmont BC. We went to a favorite place, by a stream. I picked up two small stones. At the end of our walk I gave her one and called it a “truth stone.” It was a simple invitation, a simple symbol to invite our truth telling and witnessing with each other, whenever needed. It was one of those moments when my daughter and I just clicked in a great mix of laughter and seriousness.

Tenneson Woolf

Sitting and Thinking photo by funkypancake
This is a Stone by Julio Martinez


How Lucky I am to Be Alive

Putting one's hand in a bucket of ice or just holding an ice cube helps with being stressed out. It immediately brings you back into your body. And it makes me think about warmer things. On a similar note, I often go to my window in the morning as I'm setting my intention for the day, thanking the creator for this precious human life. Sometimes I put my hand on the window and notice it's coolness. Then look out to see the sun bringing light into the day. Both of these actions remind me of humanness and how lucky I am to be alive. They help me to remember my connection to self and others and to our planet. My breath deepens and my body relaxes.


Photo Source

The Dog Leads the Rituals

The only healthy rituals that I have are the ones that I'm trying to make into habits--the weekly workouts in the mornings.

Oddly enough, Shadow has enforced the biggest rituals--an evening walk and some kind of morning exercise. He likes for us to get up in the morning no later than 7 a.m., and at night, around 10:00 p.m., he takes a deep breath, scratches the floor underneath him, and throws himself down with a big sigh (his way of saying that he's ready to go to bed, even if we are not). So maybe getting a dog has been one of the healthiest things we have done, and he is the enforcer of our main rituals!

Susan Wyche

Photo Source


Listen to Birds, Insects, my Thoughts

Before mom passed away:
Called her every day
Told her I love her every day

What I always do:
Wash my face and brush my teeth before bedtime
Take my two pills before bedtime

What I strive to do:
Listen to birds in the morning
Listen to insects at night
Listen to my thoughts when I wake up
Look out the bedroom window at the roses blooming
Collect water from the shower and water plants outside
Be conscious of water use
Have reading glasses in hand

What I do now:
Listen to Paul sleep
Check on Paul if he is napping in the daytime
Listen to how energy is flowing through my body

What I always have done:
Think a lot
Touch different textures
Love music
Find beauty in everything

I think this is a lot, but I feel that it describes a lot of rituals in an overview that are important. I feel like I have just sent an outline of my life.

Cathryn P. Cooper
photo by Cathryn P. Cooper


Travel as a Mindfulness Practice

I am heading out on a mammoth trip today. My itinerary looks like this:Monday – drive to Port MacNeil on northern Vancouver Island

Tuesday – Facilitate community to community forum with North Island First Nations and local governments. When finished, drive back to Campbell River and jump on a plane. Fly to Vancouver, then Toronto then Ottawa.

Wednesday – Facilitate workshop in Ottawa with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Friday – Finish workshop and return to Vancouver

Saturday – Facilitate one day Open Space for the Ministry of the Attorney-General Family Court Committee. Return home Saturday night.

This is a little unusual for me, in that I usually don’t do a red eye flight across two thirds of the country. I know I will be tired, and I know I need to stay focused on these three jobs and what I am doing. And believe it or not, I woke up this morning deliciously anticipating the journey ahead.

For me, this kind of travel and work is a mindfulness practice. I use these journeys to be very mindful about where I am and what I am doing. Often, when I am en route, I don’t speak to other people at all, preferring to travel in silence, reading, listening to music or podcasts or writing. If I do speak it is only to be polite, get where I am going or ask for help. As a silent meditation I find travelling in this way to be incredible practice, and it brings me to the work I have to do with as much presence as I can. In general I don’t check my emails when I am on the road, preferring instead to give as much attention as I can to the work I have at hand. Fortunately I have my partner Caitlin Frost is back in our office, answering phone calls, sorting logistics with clients and flagging important emails for me. This is an incredible gift as it allows me to be on the road, safe, undivided and present for my clients.

Seeing travel as a meditation retreat for me shows up in many ways. For example I have a few practices I cultivate on a daily basis and being mindful means focusing on doing them in unfamiliar places with limited access to tools. I try to exercise everyday, and have developed several “hotel room” workouts, that can be done between queen sized beds in small roadside motels. These are 20-30 workouts focusing on strength, flexibility and cardio fitness. Of course, access to a weight room or a gym makes this easier, but it isn’t necessary. Sometimes, if I’m driving and I get tired I pull over and go through a circuit of push ups, sit ups and squats or I run through some of my taekwondo patterns to get the blood flowing and energize my body.

Eating is another area that becomes a mindfulness practice. Because it’s so hard to find good and healthy food on the road, I think carefully about everything that enters my body. Instead of defaulting to restaurants, I’ll often stop in to grocery stores and stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, pre-mixed salads or healthy instant soups that can be made with only boiling water. Travelling does not have to mean bread, oil and potatoes.

Travelling offers several benefits to the emotional side of mindfulness practice as well. It is a rare trip when everything goes according to plan and delays, changes and inconveniences force me to be mindful of my emotional states and to practice equanimity with people, machines and other pieces of reality that are out of my control. Some of my favourite trips have been those which have gone horribly wrong, with missed connections, bad weather and few options. If I come through those with a minimum of anxiety, the journey and the return home seems sweeter for it.

Travel can be stressful because it breaks our routines and rhythms. We need to become completely dependent on our own resources, carrying everything we need with us. It forces us to make careful choices about what we take and what we do on the road. We have to live differently than we do at home and that forces us to pay more attention to what we are doing. THAT alone is a gift, for if we can use the opportunity to focus ourselves and work with our mind, we can not only travel better, but understand ourselves better as well.

Slow down, be careful and attentive and see what you learn about yourself.

~ Chris Corrigan
Originally Posted at Parking Lot

Sunset Photo Source
Girl at airport photo source

Two children waiting photo source
Waiting at window photo source


Minimum Daily Dance Requirement - One Whole Song Every Day

Two of my favorite daily self-care rituals:

1. My "MDDR" (Minimum Daily Dance Requirement). This is my tongue-in-cheek version of the "MDR" acronym, which stood for Minimum Daily Requirement in regard to vitamins and minerals). My MDDR is to dance at least one whole song every day. Just to be sure it always happens, I do it first thing upon rising in the morning. I love it!

2. "Three Nice Things." A while ago, I read about an experiment where participants (who were challenged by depression) took time every night to write down three nice things that happened to them that day. They also wrote about why they thought those things happened. The study found that this writing exercise markedly decreased symptoms of depression, and even after the participants had stopped doing the writing exercise for three months, the positive change in their mood still remained.

I thought that sounded like a great idea, depression or not. However, I didn't want the pressure of having to analyze the nice things that happened, and it felt like work to have to write anything down before bed. So I came up with my own version of the exercise.

Every night before I go to sleep, I think about three nice things that happened that day. Most days I remember many more than three things, but three is my minimum. Next, I think about three (or more) things I can do tomorrow that I know will make me and/or someone else feel good (the latter having the bonus of making me feel good as well, of course).

When I wake up the next morning, I don't let myself get out of bed until I do the ritual again. That is, I review the previous day and remember three nice things that happened. These can be the same things I thought about the night before, or different ones. After that, I think about three things I can do that day to make the day nicer (again, these can be the same things I thought about the night before, or different ones).

After doing the "Three Nice Things" ritual for while, I got hooked, because it's a sweet thing to do before and after dreamtime. I also noticed that it seems to help me go to sleep, which is a bonus. And it's a double bonus to drift off to sleep every night while thinking about nice things!

Over time, I've noticed that this simple ritual seems to be changing my ongoing daily thought patterns at deep-brain levels without further "efforting" on my part. In particular, I've noticed that my overall sense of gratitude and my focus on what's working (as opposed to what's not working) have both greatly increased. I mean, I've always been a grateful sort of person since I was a child. Even so, I strive to be even more appreciative of everyone and everything--and one of my goals in life is to experience gratitude as a constant state.

"Three Nice Things" has helped me tremendously in this regard, so I've made it part of my daily (and nightly) rituals for self-care. I don't know if my version of this exercise would have the same effect on another person's focus and "gratitude barometer," but who knows? Maybe the ripple effects for someone else might transport them to other equally lovely dimensions of life!

Cat Saunders

Photo Source


Thank You For the Wonderful People in my Life

The thought just came into my mind about a ritual of mine. Thanking whatever spiritual beings that surround me for the wonderful people in my life!!!!!!!! I feel that I should never take them for granted and should let my spirits know!!!!!!!!

Another ritual........I do many things that incorporate the number 8.