Rituals already fill our lives. Some have become so common—our morning cup of coffee, friendly hugs hello, afternoon walks—that we hardly pay attention to them. However, even the most ordinary repetitive act can add meaning to your life, especially when negativity seems to surround you.
You will soon discover how to transform everyday activities into mindfulness exercises. By instilling purpose into your actions, you will be able to rely on them as a means of self-fortitude, drawing on these rituals to feel centered, connected, and grounded in a chaotic world.
Protect Yourself in a Visual Bubble
Don’t Absorb Others’ Energies
Do you avoid spending time at malls, performance venues, sports arenas, and other crowded places because being around lots of people wears you down, makes you feel stressed, or causes you to feel ill? When someone calls to discuss their toxic issues, do you take on their distress? Do you absorb energies that signal fatigue, anger, pain, anxiety, or sickness in someone else when you pass them in the grocery store, the gas station, or large group meetings with a spiritual teacher? If you answered yes, you might be a natural empathic who is taking on other the energies of other people. To protect yourself in crowds, put distance between yourself and others.
To remain peaceful, reestablish your connection to your core, close your eyes, and focus on your breath by inhaling lightness and exhaling darkness. Then visualize a bubble of white light around you as a protective shield. Mentally say the following affirmation: “I connect to the divine energy matrix that safeguards me, and ask that only positive energies enter the invisible field encircling me. I feel rooted in peace.”
Find Time for Ecotherapy
Experience Nature’s Healing Magic
Time in nature, sometimes referred to as ecotherapy, fosters well-being in body, mind, and spirit. According to a 2007 study in the United Kingdom (Mind.org) when participants who suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression went for a green or country walk, 71 percent of them felt less depressed. The healing vitality and presences in nature can alleviate stress, increase creativity, and empower you to reconnect with the ancient power of healing that nature holds. Keep a clover or flower in your pocket to remind you to return to nature.
Take a walk in green space or do a weekly hike in the mountains, out on the prairie, along a river or lake, down a country road, or across a field. Ritualize your excursion by practicing mindfulness. Take time to breathe fresh air. Run your fingers in splashing water from a waterfall or trace the boundary of a warm ancient stone.
Find Ways to Be Resilient When Adversity Strikes
Call it bad karma or an unfortunate happening at an inopportune time, but adversity shows up sooner or later in every life. You might have heard the sayings “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and “Just work smarter, not harder.” When summoning the courage to deal
with adversity feels burdensome, and the situation too complicated to be easily resolved, try a simple ritual for personal protection and empowerment.
The Sri Yantra is a sacred, mystical symbol in Hinduism in the form of a geometric diagram featuring nine interlocking triangles. Meditation on the sacred geometry of Sri Yantra protects from harmful forces and aid in attracting wealth, power, and success.
For new ideas and structures to arise, old ones often must give way. Destruction or adversity happening in real time requires all the courage you can muster. Tap the power of Shiva to renew. Apply a dot of sandalwood paste on the statue of Shiva’s forehead and yours. Sit in the cross-legged meditative pose of Shiva, find your center, and dive deeply into the silence while letting go of everything you’ve been trying to hang on to so renewal and rebirth can begin
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Focus on What’s Flowing In
When you want to focus on the positives in your life, a gratitude journal can be a powerful tool. Scientific evidence supports the notion that people who are grateful tend to be happier than those who aren’t. When you focus on happiness-boosting activities that include random acts of kindness you do for others, it enhances your levels of gratitude. Maintaining such a journal can lead to greater optimism as you count your blessings. Write in the journal at least once weekly. Write three things for which you feel grateful or bring you joy.
Add other positive observations, record synchronous events, and jot down inspiring quotes or happiness goals. Create a title for that day’s entries. Look up gratitude affirmations or inspiring quotes on your computer and print them for inclusion in your journal. As the weeks
progress, you can look back over your entries and feel uplifted and fulfilled by all the goodness in your life.
Purchase or make a journal. Rub your palms together to create energy as you hold in your mind thoughts of thankfulness and appreciation for the wondrous world. Hold your palms facing down over the journal to impart the positive energy into the journal.
See with New Eyes
Create a New Lens for Looking at the Old and Familiar
Kindle the wonder and awe of a child who is seeing something for the first time to inspire feelings of gratitude toward commonplace things in your world. Maybe you’ve never really noticed the massive old elm tree outside your office building whose canopy provides shade
against the summer heat and drops its leaves in winter to let the sun heat the building’s exterior and brighten the dark interiors. Or the way the snow glistens in moonlight. Or the orb-spinning spider’s intricate web that had as its beginning a single thread. Perhaps you could look through the eyes of a child at the full moon rising, the drops of rain in a puddle, or the rainbow’s appearance in the sky after the storm and let the wonder rise in you to fill your heart with gratitude.
Use a red ribbon to hang a crystal from an eastern-facing window where it can act as a prism for the sunlight. Give it a gentle spin to bring dancing rainbows into your room. When you are having a down moment, go to the crystal and be reminded of the rainbows in your life for which you are thankful.
Pay It Forward
Almost everyone knows what giving back means. When someone does something for you, you give back in kind. Pay it forward means that when someone does you a good deed, you do something good for someone else. These acts of generosity trigger plenty of positivity,
inspiring feelings of happiness and gratitude. At a drive-through coffee facility, one person buys their morning coffee and spontaneously decides to pay for the coffee of the driver in the car behind her.
That triggers surprise and gratitude in the second driver, who decides to pay for the third. And so on down the line of cars, the ripple effect begins as one driver after another is paying for a coffee order for perfect strangers.
When you start a ripple effect with some small gesture, you don’t always get to see where your action might lead. But do it anyway. Make it your daily ritual of giving back or paying it forward: offer change to someone short on bus fare. Help someone get the parking space you’re about to leave. Buy lunch for a homeless person. Record these actions and your emotions in your journal. Feel inspired to do more.
Work for Global Change
Be a Light Bearer
You want live a more intentional life and make a positive difference in the world. Be guided by the power that comes from listening to your inner voice of reason and guidance. Spent time in meditation, seek soul guidance, and then use your power on the path you choose.
Maybe your work will be volunteering on a Mercy Ship that brings healing and hope to the world’s forgotten poor. Perhaps you’d like to work to end childhood hunger through an organization such as Feed the Children. Or maybe your heart’s aspirations align with the emergency food and healthcare needed by the world’s children in crisis and their mothers in developing countries.
Do a pranayama known as alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) to calm the mind and balance the energies in your body.
Sit in a cross-legged pose. Place your right thumb against your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril. Close the left with your ring finger and release the right. Breathe out through the right. Close. Use thumb to close the right nostril. Breathe out through the left. This completes one round. Do two rounds. Meditate on being a light bearer on the planet. Make your intention declaration.
Accept What You Can’t Change
Focus on What You Can
Emotional upheaval can show up during any point in your life as a result of past emotional trauma, sudden changes, life-threatening illness, death of a love one, a major move, or post-traumatic stress.
You feel you are on a roller coaster of negative emotions and you can’t get off. If the trauma relates to a past event, you might want to seek professional help, because probing the old wound likely will call up repressed emotions that can feel overpowering. Some of the emotions
and reactions that can surface during an emotional upheaval include anger, anxiety, crying, dizziness, diarrhea, hyperventilation, and stomach tightness.
When psychological distress sets in as a result of some major life change, try to accept what you cannot change. Exercise can help temper the flood of brain chemicals unleashed and slow brain waves.
Relaxation and meditation can be powerful grounding forces. When you are calm, you can determine the triggers to avoid. Wear your sandalwood japa mala beads around your neck as an anchoring force. Until the emotional storm passes, every hour, touch the beads and
affirm: “I am a child of the Universe, untouched by the upheavals in this world. Today I rest in the peace of my Soul’s healing light.”
Excerpted from Rituals for Life: Find Meaning In Your Everyday Moments by Meera Lester Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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