Renewing Ritual

Moon Ritual

When my first-born was a toddler, her favorite book was Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. We read it every night, until we were reciting it. We both loved our ritual.

When I realized we didn’t need the book for the words, I recreated the images from each page on construction paper, and tacked them to the wall of her bedroom, circling the room from left to right. (GM fans will appreciate that her room was dark green.) We could fall back on her pillow, nestled in a Goodnight Moon room, and let our eyes skip from image to image as we recited the words. The words morphed here and there over time, but this ritual worked its way deep into my heart.

Calendar Ritual

I haven’t been practicing any positive daily rituals of note since around the time we drifted away from the green room. My yearning for more ritual probably drew me to the calendar commitment. I didn’t begin the thirty-day commitment with ritual in mind, but as I crest my fourth month I realize, these are tiny rituals. Some are more mundane than others (so far, movement, tea, clear table, write . . .), mostly things I felt I didn’t have time to squeeze in.renewing ritual

When I mark off each day after I complete the commitment, if I have also completed a commitment from a previous month, I note that month’s number. It’s usually all of them. I’m changing my habits, my routine. I’m allowing myself time for positive, indulgent moments.

Bath Ritual

This evening, a flock of bluebirds swooped in for bathtime. I have more work to do tonight. But I allowed myself the time to enjoy them. When they lingered, I took a little more time to take photos. I took them through a window so they’re not great, but they are an affirmation, the ripples of ritual, of allowing these moments.

I’ve never seen twenty plus bluebirds in one place. Today I did. And bird watching is not even on my commitment calendar.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

Thirty Days

Today begins the fourth month of my “commitment” calendar (thirty days more or less), during which I commit to doing something each day. This month, lucky world!, it’s a blog post each day!

I was first intrigued about making a monthly commitment when I heard Matt Cutts on the Ted Radio hour. This sounded doable. Safe. Fruitful.

For my birthday, I created a calendar with beach photos I took during a women’s retreat. That first month, I committed to moving for at least five minutes a day. Yup. Working from home requires unspeakable things. I would go, not only days, but weeks!! with minimal movement. Chained to my computer getting the job done. I was only able to cross out 19 of the 31 days of July, but hey! That was better than any of the previous 6 months! I walked, gardened, mowed, and . . . other things? I can’t figure out what some letters I jotted on my calendar mean (CJ? Jacks? P?), but they all mean I moved at least five minutes. Most often 30 plus minutes.

In August I committed to a cup of green tea every day. After the stress of moving for at least five whole minutes daily, I deserved to relax and have tea. 29 out of the 31 days of August! On 12 of those days I continued to move at least five minutes (mowing and walking).

For September, I set the bar higher: clear the kitchen table. Working from home also requires special talents.  One of those is the ability to turn a blind eye to housework. After twenty plus years as a freelancer, I’m an expert, so even clearing the table was a special challenge.

What’s heartening to me is that the challenges from the previous two months kept chiming in. Not 100%, but often enough to know that the challenges had made a difference. I moved at least 5 minutes (often over 30 minutes) for 23 days, and drank green tea 21 of those days.

The calendar challenge doesn’t and will not perfect me. But it makes me a more mindful and balanced person.

October is for Blogging

This month the commitment is to a blog post a day. This feels less “doable” and less “safe,” but here I go! I promise these won’t be introspective posts about how I manage to write a blog post. I have much more to explore: feeling choked, living in echo chambers, murderers, stories, friends, and a smidgin of politics.

So let’s dive into October. I won’t be perfect. It’s after midnight and I’m already late dammit. But I’ll be more balanced. More mindful.

©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.