How To Make Change Stick Through The Power Of Ritual
We all have our daily, personal rituals — whether we’re conscious of their presence or not. We have certain things we tend to think about upon first waking (coffeeeee!), certain steps we flow through (or hastily rush through) in getting ready for work, certain ways in which we like to decompress from the day (corkscrew, bottle of wine, Bachelor In Paradise) and thoughts we tend to think about most before heading into dreamland (there is so much that I didn’t get done today!!).
What if we told you that there is an inherent history to your rituals? And that when you become more aware of these rituals, and even adjust them ever so slightly, they have the power to uplift, inspire and heal you? When practiced with loving intention and a higher sense of purpose, rituals become medicine.
Why do we create rituals?
Life as a human being has never been incredibly easy. News flash: Eden does not exist. It’s an eat-or-be-eaten world out there, and from as far back as our most ancient ancestors, we’ve had to hunt and fight for what we want (need) in order to survive. We’ve had to create structure around how everything that needs to get done actually gets done, as there just aren’t infinite hours in a day. In order to prevent burn-out from running around and fighting for survival, our ancestors integrated specific, ritualistic ways to stay connected to the abundance of the land, to the Great Spirit guiding them, to their consumption and to one another. These rituals were practiced with one overarching sentiment: gratitude. The rituals through which our ancestors flowed (never “hastily rushed though”) were done with intention and in ceremony — both alone and as a tribe.
As modern-day movers and shakers, we still create rituals, but as a means to keep in control and to reduce feelings of uncertainty. With the age of the Internet, we are so use to getting what we want, when we want — also known as instant gratification — and we very rarely leave space for surprises from the Universe. But, this isn’t all that bad! It’s good to plan! We need to plan! We need structure — always have, always will. According to a Harvard study done on the science behind rituals, we create rituals (personally, and in business) as a means to cultivate the behaviors we want, create a sense of belonging, experience deeper focus, increase our perception of value and most importantly…make changes stick.
So, how are we to create rituals that stick?
We all still perform ceremony for ourselves, daily, and even unknowingly, because we want to make those changes stick once and for all. According to the Scientific American, people engage in ritual in anticipation for a desired outcome. They’ve also reported that we create rituals to reduce anxiety and to boost confidence. No wonder! Six months from now, we want to see the ways in which our abs have been sculpted, the newfound clearness of our skin, the radical ways in which our work has taken positive shape, how our meditation practice has quieted our mind. One simple way to make a ritual stick? Practice it for 28 days straight. Scientifically, that is the amount of time that the body and brain need to get familiar with an act, and ultimately crave it on the daily. You can do anything for 28 days, especially when done with the intention of healing and self-care.
All of the various rituals you perform throughout the day — making your morning coffee at 7am, escorting your beautiful body to the gym at 6pm, sage-ing your entire apartment at 10pm — have medicinal qualities. The secret to unlocking that power is in the intention you put into each of those rituals, and the awareness you attain with each breath as you perform them. That’s not to say that you have to have unrealistic, perfectionistic focus during all hours. All you need is a sense of peace and calm and a strong center of gratitude. Gratitude for being granted this moment to do what you love; gratitude for being granted the tools that allow you to practice this ritual; gratitude for the state of health and relaxation that you currently have; gratitude for your own mind, which created this unique-to-you ritual all on its own!
Wrap that which you want to make permanent in ritual. Create added magic and value to your life out of thin air — out of your very own mind. Avoid burn-out by finding ways to ground your body and bring your spirit back into a familiar practice every single day. Good for you for being a modern mover and shaker — never give that up! But all the while, do remember to keep connected to the abundance of this earth, to the Great Spirit guiding you, to your habits of consumption and to those around you. Every day, we give ample thanks for you, for joining us on this healing journey. Thanks for being a part of our practice. We'll see you in the am <3