My ritual morning cuppa
There’s a certain morning ritual that I have performed ever since I was 16 years old. This is the age when coffee and I started our long and friendly relationship.
I enrolled in a summer high school class which started at 7am. Everyone knows that teenagers are not biologically designed for early mornings. I was in shock when that first alarm went off. Making and drinking a cuppa soon became the ritual that got me going each day. It still does.
A couple of years ago Daniel and I traveled all around the eastern half of Australia with our camper trailer. One of the first things I packed for our odyssey was a store of Lavazza coffee and our plunger coffee pot. It was vital that my morning ritual remain undisturbed.
However, most of the other daily and weekly rituals of our normal life on Mitchells Island suddenly evanesced as our wheels hit the asphalt.
There was no 7:30 am meandering out to the Yoga Shed for practice. No breakfast promptly at 9 am. No sitting down at my computer to answer emails and to connect with the wide world. No Tuesday and Wednesday yoga classes to teach. And sadly, no Thursday evening choir practice. Gone were our Saturday morning Waterbird Cafe breakfasts and doing the Good Weekend Magazine quiz in the company of friends.
Of course, breaking routines is the stuff of holidays and adventure. In the absence of the old rituals, Daniel and I introduced some new ones. On this long trip, we had ample time for connection and intimacy. We made time to connect each day. Not necessarily sexual, sometimes a massage, sometimes a ‘heart share’, sometimes just five minutes of appreciating each other.
More than ever, I’ve come to realise the loveliness of rituals.
Life is chaotic at times. Rituals can be like coat hangers to help organise the messiness of everyday life.
Once rituals are in place, you don’t have to make a choice about what you need to do. Ordinarily, I get up in the morning, share a coffee in bed with Daniel and then it’s 7:30 and I’m on my yoga mat. I didn’t make myself do that. By now it’s ingrained.
Rituals revive mundane activities
A ritual can also be a mindfulness anchor. Instead of eating breakfast in a perfunctory way, I make this daily ritual a practice of enjoying my food mindfully. Slowly savouring each mouthful with an attitude of gratitude.
If you do home yoga practice, you might consider making it into more of a ritual. Burn a candle or some sage.Take five minutes to centre yourself at the beginning and set an intention, a prayer. Do your practice regularly in the same space to build up more energy. And remember to bury your phone somewhere far, far away!
Here’s how my housemate and friend, Heather describes the importance of our rituals in her Shedders blog:
As rituals connect us to ourselves, they also connect us to each other. The simplest way for my communities to prosper is to create rituals where we can put our opportunities to get together on auto-pilot. We don’t have to think, plan, phone around, negotiate.
The wise and heartfelt Australian cartoonist, Michael Leunig, teases it out a bit more. He describes the significance of ritual in his book, A Common Prayer:
Each time it occurs, something important is revitalised and strengthened. The garden is watered.
This is my experience. That first sip of my morning coffee, every session on the yoga mat, each meal eaten mindfully is another chance to take pause and experience the fragrance of life.