Summer is a time of celebration, of prosperity and abundance. With its long days and short nights, it is synonymous with love and romance.
This is a great time to create rituals that will nurture not only your body but your mind and spirit as well.
Ritual is one of the greatest spiritual technologies of the 21st century. It is a series of consciously created symbolic acts to give you tools to shift your mindset, break through hidden barriers and open to an expanded vision for your life.
You do rituals every day by mindfully sipping your green drink, consciously bonding with your dog on his morning walk or having a morning coffee with a friend. You also attend graduations, weddings and family reunions that honor and mark transitions.
Done consciously, rituals add substance and meaning to our lives — enhancing daily routines, enriching milestones and guiding us through life’s inevitable transitions. Rituals both support and honor the changes we experience and increase our capacity to overcome adversity, strengthen our relationships, and enhance our ability to experience joy and abundance.
You go to the gym to gain physical resources, but spiritual resources last a lifetime.
Research in brain science now confirms that rituals have great power and influence over our minds. If we do a ritual of release, a part of our brain reads it as if it were true. When you participate in a ritual, in essence, you tell your brain that you have already completed whatever you have enacted symbolically — that is, the victory has already been won!
Here are some rituals you can do:
1. Create an altar: This is one of the best ways I know to bring a sacred element into your home. It has the power to transport you away from everyday concerns and connect all of you to something larger than yourself.
Find a spot that won’t be disturbed. It can be on top of a table or on a shelf, or you can even create a portable altar by placing items in a small box or case. Fill your altar with meaningful symbols: pictures of a spiritual teacher/guide or beloved family members, an object that connects you to nature like a shell or stone, and something that reminds you of a happy time in your life. I keep a picture of me swimming with dolphins on my altar. I also place a fresh flower and symbolic power elements (like a shark’s tooth and prayer beads I was given in India) on my altar. Feel free to change it around every season. Be creative. This is about your life.
Spend a few minutes contemplating your altar every day, and make sure to keep it clean. No car keys or dirty coffee cups, please! Remember what you focus on has energy and you are magnetizing these elements in your life.
2. Take a morning purification shower or bath: Each time you step into the shower or take a bath, set the intention that the water will purify you of all negativity and discord that you have either created or have taken on from others. Symbolically scrub off all the junk with a loofah and watch it go down the drain. Feel the water cleansing your physical and energy bodies. The mind reads it as if you have let go of everything that isn’t serving you. Now you can start fresh. You can also do this in the evening to release the day.
3. Practice mindful meditation: Within each one of us lies an untapped source of peace, wisdom and guidance. We often don’t realize this, however, until we slow down, quiet our minds, tune into our bodies, and just become mindful of our breath and environment.
4. Breathe: The breath is the key to meditation. When we are tense or anxious, we tend to hold our breath. The breath is the key to finding inner peace and harmony. It is our link with our bodies and the world. For most of us, breathing is something we never think about, yet for the most part, we are breathing shallow breaths into our chest. This shallow breathing creates a stressful condition in our minds and bodies. By slowing down your breath, you will instantly relax your body and bring clarity into your mind.
Imagine that you can breathe into your heart center. Lightly place your hand over your chest. Take a few slow deep breaths. Inhale to the count of four, hold, and exhale to the count of four. Do this for three to five minutes a day. Feel free to increase the time you do this exercise as you get used to it.
5. Unplug: Fast from using cell phones, tablets and computers. Slow down and be present. It is hard to be mindful if we are running around and multitasking. It is rare to see anyone sitting quietly anymore. At every restaurant, airport, park and beach people are addicted to tablets and cell phones. They are always taking selfies and rarely experiencing life.
Give yourself a break. Take an hour, a day or a full weekend and leave the equipment at home. Yes, we can see you texting under the table!
6. Create staycation rituals: Make a special iced tea blend to relax with after work or at the end of the day. Have a community picnic once a month (and get to know your neighbors). Experiment with another culture’s food, start a bike riding club, blow bubbles, fly a kite, get out the finger paints. Let your joyful inner child play. We all need a summer vacation.
By practicing these rituals on a daily basis, you will open yourself up to greater calm and happiness.
For another ritual, listen to this guided meditation created by Biziou especially for 24Life.