Reflection & Action: Rituals are powerful. Hello/goodbye, good morning/good night kisses are an everyday occurrence in my marriage. Leave takings with our daughters—by phone or in person—are punctuated from both sides with the phrase, “Love ya.” Our dinner grace includes a “today I am thankful for …” comment from each person around the table.
As with brushing your teeth in the morning, these actions and phrases have become second nature. That doesn’t make them meaningless. Each exchange expresses deeply held values of love and appreciation.
Rituals bring our values to life. If you value your health, turning a lunchtime walk into an automatic ritual breathes life into that value. If you value family, the ritual of a weekly phone call with a parent or sibling keeps the connection alive. If you value the beauty of nature, the ritual of placing freshly cut flowers on your desk or your table keeps nature in the center of your everyday life. You get the picture.
What kind of rituals are already working for you? What other rituals could you create to shift more of your deeply held values from intention to action?
Tie those practices to a specific time or place. Build them into your daily or weekly routines. Watch the impact!
Quote Of The Week: Rituals provide a level of comfort, continuity, and security that frees us to improvise and to take risks. – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Pause Readers Write: DC writes: When I turn on my computer each day at the office, I stop and think, ‘What is the priority of the day?’ I tell myself I’m only one person and can do only so much. I then go about my day. If I start to sink, I stop, pause, and remind myself what I said first thing in the morning. That usually brings me back into perspective.”
JM writes: My big moment came when I decided to go back to my habit of reading books before bedtime. I finish my evening tasks at least half an hour before bedtime. This creates a definite end to the day and a sense of control. Reading prepares me for a good night’s sleep because it requires me to disconnect from the day. My breathing slows down. My enjoyment of the moment goes up. I do this by myself, for myself. And I can’t wait for the following night so I can find out what happens next.”
Summer Reading Bookshelf: Well, the title sounds dark and its cover looks that way too, but I’m still looking forward to dipping into Todd Henry’s book: Die Empty – Unleash Your Best Work Every Day. His message challenges us to make our contributions while we can, and to refuse to go to our graves with our best work still inside us.