simplifying and the art of ritual…

 

I realised today that I have taken on too many commitments for the end of the week and I am going to have to try to rearrange some for another day.  We are out tomorrow night with friends, then having some friends around for supper on Saturday and at the moment I am scheduled to go out on Friday afternoon for my birthday treat –  afternoon tea with my friend and neighbour.

 

I am sure I will struggle to get the house prepared and will be running short of time.  I desperately need to have my hair cut and I had wanted to treat myself to a massage.  Added to which every time I look out of the window – any window I see many jobs to do in the garden.

 

I mention the above as I am now reading Chapter 2 entitled ‘In praise of minimalism’ from the book I mentioned ‘L’art de la Simplicite’

subtitle – Time: waste less, make the most of more.

In this chapter it talks about simplifying your life and embracing every moment including time to do nothing.  If I had time to do nothing I would have heaps of time to get everything done…wouldn’t I?

 

Simplify your domestic tasks and find time to develop your creativity, pamper your body and sharpen your mental faculties.

This is most definitely one of my goals – how to achieve this is perhaps the one big question in my life.

 

I do love domesticity even the tasks some people may think of as mundane – washing dishes, ironing clothes and putting everything back in place neat and orderly.  To do this with everything though I find difficult and tasks start to pile up over the week.

 

Reading on the book talks about repetitive, everyday tasks and developing simple actions as rituals.  I must confess I have never thought about eating or cleaning as a ritual but it has caught my attention.  Rituals, it says, can bring comfort – they should be a source of extreme satisfaction.  She then suggests some rituals such as the ‘writing ritual’, the ‘bath ritual’, the ‘shopping ritual’, and the ‘flower ritual’.

 

She suggests you think about your own personal rituals and what they bring to your life.

 

I was surprised to find I have quite a few rituals already-

The morning ritual

A morning ritual of showering and getting ready for work but not on my days off.  (Just to clarify on this – I do shower but I may have pottered around the house for an hour in my dressing gown beforehand!).  On my working days it means I am ready to start the day at a reasonable hour and could answer the door to anyone from 8am onwards not looking too scary!  Not so on my days off.

The going to bed ritual

I have a ritual for going to bed – I will always remove the dirt and grime of the day from my face with a cleanser then use washing cream to freshen my skin and put on plenty of night cream – I need it –  but I never make it to bed at the same time each night.

The breakfast ritual

I have a ritual for breakfast – I usually eat the same food – Yoghurt, sometimes with fruit followed by muesli and soya milk – I am not sure this is a great ritual and would like to vary my diet more. It is however a breakfast that keeps me going all morning if I do not get a break.

The pedicure ritual

I pamper my feet at least once a week with a soak, a bit of a massage with oils, plenty of creams and potions and a pedicure although I never get as far as painting my nails.  I have ugly feet so try to make them look better by treating them well.  So I think I can include this as a ritual and one that actually helps me to feel better about my feet – they are probably the softest most cared for part of my body!!

The shopping ritual

I have a shopping ritual but it hardly ever occurs on the same day.  I like going round to Sainsbury’s one night after work and sitting for 10 minutes in their café having my hot chocolate treat before having a wander round the clothes, the housewares, the magazines and even the plants.  Then I will go hunting for grocery bargains and lastly choosing from all the fresh veg.  The downside of this ritual is the temptation!

 

The writing ritual

The book mentions writing as a ritual – I did write a lot more in my journal but since I have been blogging I find this is infrequent now and this is a shame as rereading my journals reminds me of my life’s journey and all those little things I might have forgotten if I had not written them down.

The coffee and a chat ritual

I also have a ritual of popping round to my neighbour’s house on a Friday afternoon to share our weekly news and have a cuppa – lovely.

The fallen spiritual ritual

I used to have a ritual of going to church – latterly the Quakers but I rarely go now.  Of all the things I would like to do going back to the Quakers would be way up the list.

 

It is apparent now I have catalogued my rituals – well the ones I can think of tonight – that I need to look at doing them more regularly in some cases and fine tuning them a little more in others so that they are what a ritual should really be – a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order – and where I can take simple pleasure from these tasks.

There are other rituals I would like to develop – perhaps buying flowers every week for the house – maybe even growing cutting flowers, reading a book, sketching or painting daily, taking a daily photograph, crafting …I could go on but I have to be realistic.  This exercise has shown me I can perhaps fit in a few more rituals to my daily life if like the book suggests I manage to simplify my domestic tasks to allow time for creative ones.

Do you have rituals in your life?

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20 thoughts on “simplifying and the art of ritual…

  1. I love the ideas of rituals. I over commit and often end up slightly frazzled. But there’s nothing like a bung knee to slow things down.

    My morning ritual is similar to yours. I have the same breakfast Monday to Friday and then my weekend breakfast which I also have when not working. Like you I shower and dress immediately on waking on a work day. I actually stay in my PJs much longer. Often for hours and hours. Definitely a habit I need to break and take up the weekday ritual.

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  2. I have a bit of a ritual of reading before bed or when I wake up in a morning. I find that if I try to read during the day there are too many distractions and I can’t concentrate. I don’t do this on work days though, as I don’t have the time or am too tired in the evening.

    Like you, I have a ritual breakfast of virtually the same thing every day, but a much less healthy option of tea and crumpets, pikelets or potato cakes.

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  3. I really like your blog – I’m reading the same book! And I think we live in the same area – I’m in Skelmanthorpe – just thought I’d say hello! Karen

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    • Hi neighbour – always nice to hear from a fellow Northerner! Welcome to my blog – I think maybe you are a reader rather than a blog as I cannot see you have a link to a blog. Did you get your copy of the same book from the Library in town? Let me know how you are finding the content. I keep dibbing in and out – not unusual for me though always have a stack of books on the go.

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      • You’re right, I’m just a reader, no blog of my own, but over time spotted locations and references I recognised and thought you must be local! I bought a copy of that book in The Works at Meadowhall for £2.00. I agree, some of it is repetitive and a lot of it just plain commonsense, but there are some good ideas mixed in! I know what you mean about over-committing oneself too…

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  4. I may have supplicated this as the comment disappeared. When we bought the house four and a half years ago we planned simplicity into it. The garden has raised sleeper boarders, the petrol strimmer makes short work of the edges. We got rid of all the paths so the petrol lawnmower can make light of the large lawn. The back large shrub bed has bark as a weed suppressant and all the plants are rimmed each autumn to keep them in place. The house was simplified too. The same flooring easy care laminate flooring cover the entire downstairs and its dry mopped most days which takes all of 5 minutes! We built lots of storage into the house, garage and workshop. Everything we buy has to have a purpose or multiple use. The only thing that takes up more of my time is ‘growing our own’ between May and September but it provides our food and saves us money. Our clothing policy is one item bought, one item donated to charity.

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  5. I love the sound of your Sainsbury’s shop. A far cry from mine as I try to occupy the children, remember a billion things and decide what we’re going to eat (i obviously am rubbish at meal planning). I think I am going to read the book you mention. I love simplicity. The idea of rituals is a nice way of making the more mundane things important. Thank you for sharing.

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    • I have been there – with the children. I actually look forward to my shopping visits but always worry in case I am tempted – magazines are my downfall – I have started to log them individually now so I can see how much I spend on them over the year and shock myself into withdrawal!

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      • Good plan 🙂 I’ve been doing similar with sweets and treats and I am quite stunned by how much I spend on sugary stuff (hot chocolate here, minstrels there, etc). Nothing like a reality check to make you face up to your habits!

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  6. I like domestic life, too, and I don’t begrudge time spent grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning or gardening “For it is life, the very life of life!” 🙂 I don’t really slow down to create rituals, though, and I should. I do like to have slack mornings when I’m not working and I stay in my pajamas as long as possible (but I draw the line at not being properly dressed for lunch, even when I’m by myself!)

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  7. I like the idea of ritual and I think I may have adopted some of this thinking myself as a mindfulness practice, but the thing that often calls to me is the Benedictine hours structure – the doing things – work/prayer etc in a format, so much time manual working, so much time contemplating, so much time learning/reading – I tend to suffer from getting too preoccupied with one thing then other stuff mounts up, so the idea of a proper structure to do some of each does appeal.(Not that I’ve ever really managed to adapt that to my life!) 🙂

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    • That sounds just like me – I throw myself into something and then everything else suffers. I have often thought after reading various articles on Convents that the life they lead has a certain appeal to me and probably what you see in the Benedictine hours – that repetitive structure to a day which mirrors the natural structure of a day following a strict pattern of sunrise and sunset. Somehow with the trappings of modern life we have left all this behind and in some cities it is a 24/7 world with no structure.

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  8. You have many lovely rituals. It must have been interesting for your to document them. I used to write in a journal but like you, blogging seems to fill at least a part of that. I have hot tea every evening, and that is definitely a lovely ritual. I often wish I were more disciplined then I am. I like the idea of mindfulness mediation every day but somehow never stick with it. Lots to ponder. Great post.

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