At this week’s Mystic Women’s Circle, we spoke of the Virgo Full Moon calling us to enhance the rituals and the routines we have, and the idea of being in meditation, grounded and present in our activities.
Presence is that rare and remarkable feeling of being simultaneously relaxed and aware — being totally ‘in the moment’. Some people call it flow, and it’s the kind of high-performance state that is needed to achieve mastery — of tasks, and of your self. Being present is being “attuned” and “mindful” to what is being experienced by yourself and others, with acceptance and non-judgment — letting things come and go with compassion and understanding. It’s like an eyes-open meditation.
We can cultivate presence in our daily lives by engaging in activities that promote moment-to-moment awareness, such as art, creativity, music, meditation, breath work, yoga, or being in nature, which help to release the natural presence within.
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love — even the most simple action.” –Eckhart Tolle
Rituals have been used since the beginning of humankind, from self care routines to major life ceremonies. Differing from “habits”, rituals involve the execution of conscious and deliberate actions. They are mindful acts, generally with repeatable sequences, with focused energy, intention, and full attention.
The power of ritual is that it allow us to shut off the endless chatter around and within us, and be here now, so we can access a state of presence and fully enjoy life. Ritual turns an everyday or ordinary practice into something sacred. It is through intention that an act becomes a ritual — when you add reverence, elegance, sanctity and meaning, you elevate it to a moment of devotion, and divine connection to something greater, within and without.
“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.” – Joseph Campbell
There is no better way to cultivate a relationship with yourself than through ritual. The power of self care and grooming is that it becomes a ritual offering to yourself. Whether you choose to have your nails manicured, your brows shaped, or you feet massaged — by you or someone else — you are making an offering of time, energy and space to yourself. It’s like putting fruits and precious gold on the altar or your soul, but perhaps more relevant for todays’ modern world.
Ritual can be created in all parts of your life, from the way you start your day, to the way prepare food, to the way you put yourself to bed. Every time you choose to honour yourself and the present moment, you show the world how much you believe in your worth and value. Think of all the time that you might be wasting in worrying about the future, following other people’s lives, or unconsciously rushing through tasks and routines. Imagine how life might be different if you changed the way you used your time, and the intention behind your activities.
Presence and ritual allow us to fully immerse and enjoy the beauty of our human experience, as well as the unexplainable, and remind us that we have a choice with how, when, where and why we expend and dedicate our precious energy.
Here are my top tips for cultivating presence and ritual:
Pausing and Slowing Down : Slowing down to create space around an experience. Noticing more of the subtle aspects of each experience .
Walking Slowly: Helping you to be open to what is present inside of you and to notice what is present in your environment.
Breathing deeply into the moment: Taking deep and slow breaths to create a calmer, healthier environment in the body, for a more alert and attuned state of being in each moment.
Setting an Intention for presence: Prime the brain by setting an intention to be present upon waking in the morning, or before an act eg. inhale and say “I arrive into the present moment” and on the exhale say “I let go of the busy-ness”
Pay attention to thoughts: Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, focus on the present moment. Instead of focusing on what isn’t, have gratitude for what is. Instead of seeing the negative, be optimistic and ready to see the good.
Love your work: Find something that you appreciate about your current career, your industry, the current task at hand, the person in front of you. Cultivate a loving connection with every action.
Listen: Pay attention to what is happening around you. Listen to the sounds, and observe the people. Really listen to what people are saying, and respond with authenticity and love. Avoid small talk, embrace conversation.
Give yourself the best you can: Honour yourself by giving yourself the best choice you can. Do not scrimp, do not shortchange yourself, give yourself the very best.
Make the ordinary extraordinary: Find a way to add specialness to the things you do. It might be using a beautiful cup, adding flowers to your space or lighting a candle. Start small, it all counts,
Smile: Appreciate the beauty of life.