Jenna turned to me the other morning.
“I just lay here thinking, ‘I need to get in the cab.’ But I just want to sleep.”
In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp writes about her daily 5:30 a.m. work-out ritual:
“The ritual is not he stretching and the weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.”
Ritual is not so much the activity itself. Ritual is a choice to begin the process of the activity.
The ritual is making a conscious effort to start a process that will give you life.
For me, I write every night. Every. Night. Some nights I don’t know what will come. Some nights I really don’t want to write. But I do. I write because I need to put pen to paper to keep my creativity flowing. I need to document life and remember that it is indeed sacred. This ritual is not the 300 words I write each night. The ritual is picking up the Moleskine off the bedroom floor. Once I pick it up, I’m fairly committed to open the book to the day’s page and start. And most often the effort is worth the outcome.
That is my daily ritual.
We know that there are things out there that are good for us: reading rather than watching mind-numbing TV, exercising rather than junk-food snacking, hanging out with our kids rather than playing on our iPhones.
You’re thinking of something right now.
Every good ritual in our life from reading to playing with our kids needs a defining moment that triggers the habit worth completing.
Don’t spend time worrying about accomplishing the activity. Think about the launching pad and what it will take to get you to the activity. Make that moment the focused ritual. Soon you’ll have a habit worth keeping.
Pull the book off the shelf. Put on the gym shorts. Put the iPhone in a drawer.
Do that. The life-giving activity will come naturally.
I’d love to hear from you. What are your rituals that set your life in motion? What are you doing daily that gives you life?