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Rituals Big and Small

When nothing's coming, when it feels like its all been spent, when it seems like nothing can get you through the day, we have our rituals.

I am not a religious person. I have, however, been coming more around to the idea that irrational things can determine our behavior. When generating ideas, the harder one searches, the worse they usually are. Often, the best ideas spring from a moment of connecting two dots or from out of seemingly nowhere.

Call it the muse, call it God, call it brains being complex as all shit.

One way I've found to be great at bypassing my own personal overthinky nature is...

dunnananaaaah! RITUAL!

 Uh, not quite like this. Not necessarly.

Uh, not quite like this. Not necessarly.

...as you probably got from the title and blurb.

Shush, let me have my moment.

Rituals have played an important role throughout human history. Not only are they religious or spiritual, but they work as a way of focusing, transcending, of bonding with a community.

Rituals can be big, like a catholic priest conducting a mass, or small, something like making peppermint tea for yourself first thing in the morning.

There's something about the act of doing in an intentional manner that I find therapeutic. As you probably know, I am a man of many insecurities, existential crises, internal dramas, and doubts. This is all great at making me a three dimensional person with life experiences to create things with, but these particular mental disturbances have a tendency to get in the way of me doing my work.

Like how I was having a hard time figuring out what to do for some blog posts today.

I start every day with the same morning ritual: three pages of stream of consciousness scribbles followed by (an attempted) twenty minutes of zen meditation. These activities make me feel centered, ready for the day ahead.

Often, though, the effect of these is not exactly day-long lasting. I've devised several quicker, smaller rituals that I can do throughout the day when I feel myself doing nasty things to other parts of myself in my own brain. I do consider sitting and reading to be a ritual, depending on the book. I consider taking a minute to breathe as deeply as I can a ritual as well. See? Small stuff. Freewriting in a journal - a small ritual. Exercise even, going for a walk. What matters in all of these is the intentionality, the knowing that I'm trying to center myself in these activities.

Some people might consider a lot of the things I do "routines" rather than "rituals," and that would probably be more accurate. Accuracy isn't what I'm after. The fact that the word "ritual" carries so much more weight for me is exactly why I prefer to mentally categorize certain activities with that word.

Whether it be chanting around a campfire, kneeling at a pew, or taking the time to shine your shoes, rituals have a pronounced effect on the human spirit.

My name is Drew Petriello, and I approve this use of rituals.

Woot.

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