I had a ritual once in my life that was very empowering. It was sort of an old-school ritual that I called ‘celebrating dusk’.
At the end of each day, I created this moment of calm and tranquillity. It gave me a way to evaluate the day, allowing my mind to roam where it wanted to roam. It also put me in touch with the shift in energy in nature, around the time of dusk.
Once we celebrated dusk. The man of the house would light up a cigar and kick back, reflecting on life, and the women would also have their own ritual to celebrate this time of day.
Before that even, communities used to sit around the campfire, telling stories, celebrating dusk. We seem to have forgotten all about the magic of the ritual.
Why’s it so good? It’s a reset of the nervous system, giving us the space to feel the inner energy corresponding with the outer energy. Some rituals are very holy and this is very holy to me.
My ritual of celebrating dusk had a great impact on my consciousness, and also on my wellbeing.
Often, I’m confronted by people telling me how bad they feel for not sticking to what they should be doing for their wellbeing. Whether it’s meditation, praying, yoga or whatever. Don’t.
Stop feeling guilty. Don’t bring yourself down when you can’t do it. Just exchange it with something else.
If we’re in a stressful state of mind and we need to force ourselves to do something, then we’ve reached a point where the ritual is starting to controls us. Not good at all, because we go into it, not meaning it…It’s like an atheist praying as an insurance policy.
If we’re scared to leave a ritual, we have been Stockholm-syndromed with that ritual, but if we’re tired of it and it doesn’t speak to us anymore, don’t be afraid to let it go.
We have to mean what we do. To do something that we think sounds good is akin to wearing mask. One we can show off to others saying “look how good I am, look how spiritual I am”. Be aware of anyone that tells you what rituals you need to do to be ‘spiritual’. If we can’t do it with integrity, it’s hollow. Lose the competitiveness. Lose the fear of judgement. Stay rooted in your core values.
We’ve all been told how important rituals are to keep our spirituality alive. Rituals can be worn out, especially when we do them with too much resistance. When our heart isn’t in it, the rituals become empty. Without intention and integrity, they become meaningless.
‘Celebrating Dusk’ is actually the most important spiritual ritual I have ever engaged in, leads to a feeling of Oneness.
Let go of the rituals that are not serving you. There’s no punishment waiting in store. Your spirituality will not go south if you don’t meditate for a month. Like anything, spirituality is a muscle, it needs periods of rest. Let it do so. Give it a cheesecake at a cafeteria and let yourself be self-indulgent!
If we spoil other people, why can’t we spoil ourselves?
“No, no, no. That’s all ego, surely Soren?” No, it’s the opposite. It’s chill. It’s not outer-controlled anymore, it’s inner-controlled. It means we are the pilot in our own airplane, rather than in the passenger seat.
We’re told that to self-indulge is all ego. I disagree. There’s nothing wrong with a little more self-indulgence. Taking some time to self-indulge is no crime. Although, the new age spiritual community, woke cancel culture movement would have you believe otherwise and they self-indulge in targeting others values, all day. wtf?
Often in life, it’s all about finding something that serves us well. Where we can find contentment. What I’m advocating is pleasure, structure and spoiling yourself silly!
The difference between habits and rituals
There’s a big difference between rituals and habits. Rituals are conscious but habits are unconscious and can be both self-destructive and self-sabotaging.
So let me tell you about my habits. Before I could even start my mornings work, I had to clean my kitchen and make sure nothing was out of order. It was a structure I thought I needed.
I didn’t want “I’ve gotta remember to do the dishes or take out the trash” running around in my consciousness as I was doing a reading or guidance. I felt too distracted by it.
So, I had to self-sabotage to break myself out of this obsessive-compulsive behaviour. And I did. Now it’s the opposite. I clean my kitchen after a reading as a way to come down after the intensity of the session. I broke the habit.
If we notice ourselves retreating into unconscious habits that no longer serve us or align with our core values, we need to challenge ourselves to break out of them.
(Sidenote: in times of great stress, don’t worry about it, get yourself feeling stronger then tackle those habits.)
Ask yourself, what habits do you unconsciously do throughout the day? Make a check list and test yourself. Do you need that coffee and cigarette when you get up in the morning? If it’s a habit, challenge yourself, especially in these times.
Ask yourself “will my inner structure fall apart if I leave this outer structure?”
See if the sky falls down. My guess is, it won’t.
Our inner and outer worlds
Habits or rituals keep our persona and internal psychology in order. When there’s turmoil on the outside we retreat into the sanctity of our habits and rituals. They’re a coping mechanism that can serve us, but can also restrict us so watch out.
When I used to work with young people, I noticed that, in the beginning when they came to live with me, their room would be a total mess, you couldn’t see the floor it was so littered with debris. Pizza boxes, clothes, empty cans. I’m talking messy.
What I began to realise was that this was a physical reflection of their emotional inner turmoil. Within the space of a few months their rooms would transform into these zen-like spaces as their inner worlds balanced and evened out.
My advice for any parents with children going through the horrors of puberty is: watch for the signs because you can spot inner turmoil in the outside spaces. Especially in our children’s bedrooms.
The state our of homes can also be a powerful way to see, within ourselves, how exhausted we are. The outer worlds reflect the inner worlds.
If we can’t bring ourselves to clear up our personal spaces, letting them fall into mess, chaos and disrepair, watch out for our own emotional state. It’s all a reflection. Use our habits and rituals as another measure of our sense of how well we feel, how safe we feel and how worthy we feel.
If we master our physical world, we also master our inner world. And vice versa. That’s the secret folks.
Rum at dusk
Another way to architect a ritual is to tap into our self core values and the programming that controls us.
If I’ve had six bottles of liquor in my life time that’s probably an overexaggerating. Half a glass of wine and I’m drunk, no kidding. You can see, I’m no big drinker.
But I had a thought at a café recently “hey, I live in one of the best wine-producing countries in the world, why the hell am I ordering a soft drink?” Good question Soren.
It’s all to do with the programming that I’ve been under the spell of since I was a child. Backstory: my father was a raving alcoholic and, when my mother remarried, she married another raging alcoholic. Put it this way, my relationship with alcohol has never exactly been relaxed.
For children of alcoholics there’s usually two paths. We become alcoholics ourselves, or we avoid it entirely. I chose the latter but at this café I thought, “hey it’s not fair”. So, I decided to break that fear-based programming.
I asked myself, what would I really love as I enjoy my ritual of celebrating dusk every day? Coffee is out. Water is boring. Ok, what about Rum? Bingo.
For me it’s all about the taste. To find the best Rum I spent a several weeks researching and talking to people. I even read blogs about the all the finest Rums in the world until, finally, I stumbled upon the perfect one.
Like candy, caramel, vanilla and citrus fruit in one smooth mouthful. Whoaa.
Now, every evening, I celebrate dusk with some Rum in a shot glass and enjoy the tranquillity.
It’s a ritual that gives me so much pleasure, putting me in a state of mind where I can reflect; self-evaluating my actions in the day, rather than self-criticising. And this is what rituals provide us with. The space to self-reflect.
So, throw out your hollow rituals. Cast off the guilt of self-indulgence and find rituals which engage your playfulness. Something that we really crave and look forward to.
Enjoy your rituals, that’s the whole purpose of them. And when one ritual has served its cause, simply let it go and implement another one. And rest assure: Rum wasn’t built in one day.
Personally? I recommend celebrating dusk.
There’s a certain magic in the air, always will be and always have been, reconnecting with the core in ourselves, ancient times, when we took the time and dusk like rituals became the thing that kept the tribe together, the birth place of shared myths, storytelling, feeling safe and reconecting with the rhythm of a day and the rhythm of the planet.
©2021Soren Dreier – Services