I think we often find ourselves getting so caught up in life’s ‘big things’ that we forget the importance of honouring the everyday. The rituals that shape the ebb and flow of life are generally not the big ones, even though we put enormous effort into planning for graduations, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, Easter, Christmas… how much thought do we give to the little rituals we carry out each and every day?
Starting the day with breakfast.
Making the bed.
Sitting down to an evening meal.
Commuting to work.
Taking a shower.
Slowing down on weekends.
Folding the clothes.
Gathering for a snack each afternoon.
These are the rituals that form the cornerstones of our days. The things we repeat endlessly and rarely give much thought to. We make our morning tea or coffee just the way we like it, probably the exact same way every single day. There is a comfort in this familiar task and instant reward when it is completed. Yet how mindful are we of the process we have chosen to mark this daily ritual? How many little joys have we woven into its rhythm?
A luxurious blend of beans or leaves we’ve treated ourselves to.
A special cup kept only for this brew, rounded and perfectly balanced in the hands.
A savoured moment of daydreaming as the kettle boils and the steam rises along with our dreams.
A freshly pressed cloth on the kitchen table and ten minutes of joyful chatter as we plan our day; or blissful silence as we savour our reward.
Daily life, lived mindfully. Creating moments throughout our day and lives to pause and to reflect. Ensuring that our tasks and routines offer us as much enjoyment as possible. That all of those moments bond together to form a good day, a great day. Quite frankly, sometimes these little rituals can be the difference between enjoying our day and merely surviving.
Looking back on our own childhood, it is often the regularity of small things that we remember most. Rituals make moments into lasting memories. Pancakes every Sunday morning or a roast for Sunday lunch. A treat of fish and chips for dinner on Friday nights. Family roller skating on Saturdays or a trip to the beach on the first day of every Summer.
Rituals build connections and help create a way of living that is all our own. The way we do things at home will be unique and special and provide our children with the warm comfort of the familiar and the satisfaction of routine. Things are the way they are and all is right with the world.
All the more reason to make the everyday special. To notice the rhythm of our daily life; to listen to it, to add to it, to play a sense of delight in each note as much as we possibly can. Creating a life that is memorable and wonderful, in the midst of the chaos and often unbearable.
What are your family’s important everyday rituals?