I can’t take credit for the term soft rituals, and I can’t get it out of my mind…
This blog was supposed to be written & posted in January. The irony has not escaped me.
I haven’t been able to post it, because I haven’t been able to live it.
As I work on them, try and honour them and learn to live them – I thought it was time to share them. Let’s gently encourage each other & cheer for each other. I need your help, your ideas and your inspiration. Let’s do this together!
The idea of rituals, habits or resolutions kind of sends shivers up my spine, if I’m being honest. I immediately feel like I am going to fail, or mess up and ultimately be disappointed. I’m not sure I’ve ever set a ‘new year’s resolution’ for these reasons.
When I heard the term soft rituals from a friend (thanks Michelle!) I was drawn to the image it created for me. I often work with families around setting goals and building routines and growing fun traditions – all of these are ‘softer’ terms in my mind compared to resolutions and rituals. In my mind, this new term allows space for trial & error, creativity, change and hope. Although quietly, until now, I have been trying to add these 5 soft rituals to my routine.
Try New Things
I think I’ve hinted at this one in a previous post, but Hot Yoga has been my ‘new thing’ for a few months now. Yours might be running, cycling, gardening, painting or swimming. There are no limits – except the ones we put on ourselves; ‘I’m too old, I’m not creative, I can’t, I don’t know how!’ Reach out to a friend who might share your idea, or be brave and jump right in – what have you got to lose! Rather than limitations, let cheers & positivity lead the way; ‘I’ve got this! It will be fun. Today’s the perfect day to try! I am worth it!’
I know this one might feel out of place – like it jumped out of nowhere – but I’m telling you it works! I have happier kids, more help and save money… and I feel like the last one to catch on! Sometimes my husband and I sit with a coffee, the flyers and our phones to choose meals that match our week of activities, meetings & appointments. Sometimes I sit with our kids at the table and ask them to come up with ideas – once – my son gave each of us pieces of paper with 5 columns to choose meals for the week because he wanted to see if any of them would match up!! (heartwarming, and then I had FOUR possible menus to work from for the next few weeks) It’s efficient, it’s cheaper & it can be fun.
Surround Yourself with Good People
My sister in law is so positive, so kind and so generous! Her energy and willingness to help are unmatched. It’s encouraging, and at times very convicting, and I am grateful for her example. Call a friend for coffee – one that will listen, make you laugh and lighten your load. Invite friends over for dinner who will ignore your mess & accept your chaos. Call a family member who brings back good memories and cares about your details. Reach out, you are not alone, and allow the positive people in your life to cheer you along your journey.
Obviously I’m partial to this one… Please try it!
“The characteristics of play all have to do with motivation and mental attitude, not with the overt form of the behaviour.” (Peter Gray, Psychology Today Post – Nov. 19/08 – author of Freedom to Learn)
Translation – it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, but HOW you are doing it. You could bake, sketch, throw a ball, build Lego, create a robot out of the recycling, make slime or roll down a hill… if you are open, simply to the activity and not the outcome, it’s play. The experience of not being motivated by purpose or product is so freeing. As adults, we can learn by watching our children and we can learn by doing; by joining an adult dance class, or gymnastics class, or swim team, or soccer league or gardening club, or painting/pottery/knitting/curling…. just for fun. This leads to laughter, to smiling, to new connections and new feelings. It invests in you, it honours you, it humbles you and it’s fun!!
Be Kind – To Yourself
At the end of the day, recognize what DID get done. Be grateful for what you DO have. Let go of the details that didn’t get done & the thoughts that don’t make you smile. Breathe deeply & slowly and know that tomorrow is a new day and another chance to try your new soft rituals – if you want. It’s also a new opportunity to set different goals, try a new recipe or start over. Cheer yourself on!!