My recent holiday in Indonesia was a perfect opportunity for me to take a step back from my growing new business and to immerse myself in new experiences and culture. Indonesia is a melting pot if race, culture and religion. Hindu temples stand side by side with Mosques. The air can be both thick with incense from hindu offerings and alive with the call to prayer.
On thing that struck me about this melding of culture and religion was the presence of ritual in every day. In Indonesia every day is punctuated with moments to pause, give thanks, connect or pray. What I love about this sense of ritual is not so much about the practices of the individual religions but more about the opportunity for reflection that it brings. Rituals are an opportunity to slow down and become present to what is. In our western culture of rush and hurry lives I think there is a lot we can learn from that.
Ritual can give us an opportunity to be more effective at what we do and to feel a greater sense of purpose which ultimately leads to a deeper level of satisfaction at work and more joy in life.
So how do we incorporate Ritual? How could using rituals every day improve your business?
Firstly I think its important to distinguish between routine and ritual. Routines and rituals are similar in that they become a regular part of what we do every day. However routines are about how we navigate our day,week, month or year and rituals are about the mindset, presence and connection we hold as we move through our routine.
Rituals give us the opportunity to transition more effectively from one task to another, to mark the transitions from home to work or work to home. This can be especially important for those of us who work from a home office. Rituals can also be a useful tool in reducing procrastination and clearing negative feelings when a meeting, project or client appointment hasn’t gone well.
Personally I love rituals and use them quite naturally in my life and business. As a coach I use the ritual of lighting a candle before each client (regardless of whether they are face to face or via the internet) This small act of taking a moment to light a candle is a signal to me that I am switching from the million and one things on my “to do” list to being fully present to the needs of my client. It allows me to connect with my inner coach and to let go of whatever else may be on my mind.
I also use a ritual for writing my blog. I find that I struggle to settle to write in my office so I have created a blog writing ritual. I take myself off to a café and order a coffee. Once the coffee arrives that is my signal to switch into writing mode and I find the burble of noise in the café around me helps the words to flow.
Rituals can be really useful when we experience irritation on arriving home to families at the end of a busy day. Competing demands of your work day and the needs of you partner and children can be draining and cause friction. Choosing a ritual to mark the transition can help reduce conflict both internally and with loved ones. It could be as simple as playing a “wind down” song in the car on the way home or stopping for a few minutes at the local park to breathe in some fresh air and let go of your day. You might find that having a ritual of taking a shower when you arrive home to wash away the day before you interact with you family could work for you. It’s always a good idea to let your family in on your ritual as well so that they can respect that time and allow you the space to mark it each day.
We can also use rituals when we are stuck or procrastinating or to shift our energy after something hasn’t gone well at work. Once again keeping it simple is key. You might want to take a moment to reflect on what has happened and how you feel about it and then let if go. You might decide to take a few minutes in the fresh air to breathe or to meditate or do a few yoga poses if your office space allows you the privacy to do this. Using aromatherapy oils or burning sage as ritual to clear you energy can also help to move you through slumps.
To me the greatest values in using rituals is that it gives us an opportunity ti take a step back from the intensity of “do” and “get it done” it allows us to take a wider perspective, to see the bigger picture and to reconnect with who we are and why we are doing what we do. Rituals can move you from mundane to mission!
So how do you incorporate some ritual in every day? Firstly take a review of your day/business and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Where are you feeling out of flow or stuck? Could a ritual help here? Start by trying one of my suggestions above. Use it for a few days and notice if it makes a difference. Alternatively use your own internal guidance to find a ritual that feels right for you or feel free to contact me for some ideas appropriate to your situation.
As a Business Coach I work primarily in the area of emotional and spiritual alignment. Together we walk the inner journey of uncovering the parts of you that are missing in your business with the goal of creating meaningful success in a business that you love!
If you feel you need support to do the inner work email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 0274327601 to set up a complimentary 20 min call to see if coaching is for you.