“Yes, yes, we know. Mindfulness, meditation, meaningful activity. But what are you really talking about?” Oh, dear reader, we feel you. While studies have shown that meditation and practices of mindfulness help with anxiety and stress, it feels like we are always given very vague suggestions with no concrete way to understand them or what a ritual is. Fear not. We have been where you are, and we want to share some tips and tricks that you can use to enjoy the present moment.
Tips to Create a Ritual
A person, eyes closed, sitting on a cushion in lotus pose, becoming one with the universe. This is definitely meditation. But there’s many ways to quiet a mind, and they don’t all look the same. It’s not to say that more traditional forms of meditation aren’t useful – they’ve worked for countless people for thousands of years. But, let’s be honest – the idea of sitting quietly in a very specific position trying to empty the mind sounds like complete agony to many people. And who wants to do something agonizing when we only have so many minutes in a day?
We believe there are many ways to engage with the present moment. As cliche as it seems, a walk really does help. As long as we aren’t scrolling Facebook as we stride, walking really does give us an opportunity to take in our surroundings, to observe things we hadn’t before. We are always amazed by the things when we simply look up. Literally – looking at tops of buildings and trees and the ever-changing sky. Try it out sometime – if you’re taking a walk or sitting in your backyard or hanging out at a park – look up. You might be surprised at all of the things you see.
“I don’t have time to take a walk.” Okay, we won’t argue with you. But, we’d like to make another suggestion. All those chores and things on the to-do list? Use them as a way to let your mind wander. Dishes? Vacuuming? Cutting grass? Laundry? In the garden? Be present. Turn off the podcast, the music, the Netflix show in the background. What steps do you need to take? How does the experience feel? What do you love about it? What do you not love so much?
We have found that we often find ourselves in the middle of a never-ending monologue while getting things accomplished. It’s fine! You don’t have to attain a blank slate – meditation is about noticing the things we’re thinking about all day, every day. Recognizing the patterns that we run through; wearing paths into our brains without even knowing where we’re going. Have you ever “come to” after a few minutes of driving and realize you don’t remember actually paying attention to how you got to where you are (eek!)? Our thoughts often function in the same way. We walk and talk and move about the world, but sometimes, we’re so lost in our own headspace, that we don’t even notice how we get from point A to point B.
There are countless ways to bring attention to the present moment. We have found a combination of the strategies above to work the best for our ritual — especially carving out time to create and enjoy the process of brewing coffee. The beginning of the practice is a moving meditation – getting the coffee out, grinding the beans (if that’s your preference), measuring out the right amount, waiting as the coffee brews, selecting your favorite mug or glass. Then, sitting and truly enjoying the moment … taking in the smell, reading a book, writing in a journal, or just being present while you enjoy your coffee.
This is how we have turned a daily routine into a daily Ritual, and we invite you to do the same.