Same stuck as yesterday. And the day before.
You have all these powerful plans to fix your life, create anew. And you plan on being present in the moment.
Your life will be a TED talk. A bestselling self-help book.
The problem? All your great ideas remain … great ideas. As in your head. And not out in life at large.
What if you heard of a simple practice to transform in-your-mind ideas to in-your-life actuality?
What if you performed a ritual?
No, I don’t mean going into a smoky room with chanting supplicants, bowing down before revered statues or performing some kind of blood sacrifice (ew!)
And no, you don’t need a drum, a lucky charm, or any elaborate costume to wear.
Your ritual can be kept very simple. Just let me explain.
Why Rituals Make Your Life Magical
Rituals make appearances in mainstream movies and TV. The current hit show New Amsterdam, Star Wars, the classic Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, are but a few.
Rituals appear exotic, a complex part of religious cults — for the uninformed or superstituous only.
Yet rituals are part of everyone’s life. You do them everyday. Do you have a set way of making your morning coffee? (Ritual.) A pattern of activities before going to bed? (Another ritual.)
Even writing a “To Do” list is a type of ritual.
A ritual is a physical, outward expression of an inner intention. A tool to concretize the intangible — an idea.
It’s important to have great ideas and optimistic desires for change. But if they remain unfulfilled, they haven’t served their purpose.
They haven’t served you.
Actions speak louder than words. A ritual unites actions and words together and substantiates a belief in you. Repetition ingrains it in body, mind and soul.
A ritual can change your world.
Preparation for Your Ritual
Clear a few moments from your busy schedule. Find a place to be alone and uninterrupted.
Consider what you want to release and transform in your life. Be clear about what you are calling in.
Write down your intention on a piece of paper. Write in the present tense, stating your objective in clear language.
Keep it simple, with no frills — no explanations, defenses or rationalizations.
For instance: “I release my self-criticism and acknowledge my magnificence.”
“I want to stop being so critical of myself because my family always put me down and it really upsets me and I want to have everyone love me like they all love Melissa and I also want to be a superstar.”
Too many threads! Keep it simple.
Next, repeat your intention aloud until it feels comfortable. Edit if needed, until it becomes a statement of recognition — as compared to a future wish.
Your focus is now, the event is already happening, your desire is occurring as you speak.
Watch your negative, non-loving thoughts come up — they see you are serious about change. They hate that! When fears and negative programming jump up and shout, they aim to disrupt your new plans.
Know that you’re on the right track.
Return to your intention. See it manifest before all your eyes — the pair that takes in the world and the inner eye of intuition.
Envision your intention with your heart. Your mind and body will follow.
Preparation for the ritual is a ritual in and of itself. But you’re going to take it a step further and choose any — or all — of the easy-peasy rituals below.
Return to focus. Return to your intention.
Love yourself. Have fun.
1. Drink Water, Make Magic
Sound pretty simple?
However, in your ritual, you are going to drink water with focus and intention.
Water is our common denominator. The average adult is composed of 50–65% water. We entered this world from a womb of water. We need water to survive life on this planet.
There is a depth to water that goes beyond it being a mere liquid. In Chinese Taoism, water is one of the five elements in a paradigm constructed over 8,000 years ago.
The five elements correspond to different aspects of the natural world and the body. The Water element embraces our lineage and our survival. Our bones, teeth, ears (our hearing), all fall within this amazing element of Water.
To create your ritual, pour yourself a glass of water. It can be room temperature, or warm or chilled — your choice. A clear container is best.
You may want to add something to the water — a sprig of mint, a bit of lemon, a drop of (safe to ingest) essential oil. Mint or citrus is nice.
See “Preparation for any ritual”, above. Hold your written intention and read it aloud, imbuing the water with your desire.
Sit down and drink the water, sip by sip. Allow your intention to flow into your bones, filling your heart. Create a clear visualization.
As your mind wanders (and it will), feel your intention in your bones, your body’s structure. Be grateful for your ancestry. Forgive those who may have hurt you. Forgive yourself.
Listen to the silence, being aware of the occasional noise you may hear.
Recognize your humanity, the shared existence we humans are graced to have on this planet.
Drink your water. Allow your intention to come into your life. Be excited about the benefits that will follow you.
Throughout your day (or the next), drink a good amount of water all day, mindfully recalling your intention as you do so.
2. Create a Sigil (your personal symbol)
A sigil is a symbol which you inscribe with meaning and magic. If you like to doodle or create art, this is a fun exercise.
Write your intention on a piece of paper, as described above. Let’s say the sentence you write is: I relinquish heartache and attract love.
Take out all the vowels and the sentence becomes: RLNQSHRTCHNDTTRCTTRLV
Here’s the fun, creative part! Start doodling. Mix up the letters, put them in circles, spirals, designs, etc. Intertwine them in all shapes and forms.
Play — artistically — with your intention.
Look at your creation and then simplify it further. Distill the intention into a symbol that you can recognize as your intention.
Draw your finished sigil on a piece of paper or an index card. Display it in a place where you’ll see it often. Consider the window above the kitchen sink, next to your bathroom mirror, your bed stand.
This is for you. It’s your sigil, signaling your intention.
If you want to doodle your sigil during the day, go ahead. Each time you draw and reflect on your sigil, you implement your intention into your heart and physical space.
3. Light a Candle … and Your Wish Comes True
Get a new, unlit candle. Consider choosing a color to match your intention. Green can be for new beginnings, red or purple for matters of the heart, white to clear our past sorrows.
There are no rigid rules, ever, in a ritual. Go with your feelings and your intent.
Make it up!
You’ll want the candle to burn down most of the way, so size matters. A small taper is a good choice. Too big a candle will take too long (we’re doing the “ridiculously simple rituals” here!)
Write down your intention on a piece of paper. Or draw your sigil, if you’ve finished Ritual #2.
Light your candle and say your intention out loud.
Sit a few minutes in silence and watch the candle burn. Clear your mind (as you would in a meditation) and silently repeat your intention mantra.
You can let the candle burn as you do an activity in your house — making food, eating food, cleaning the kitchen. You can read a book, write in your journal.
Do whatever activity you choose mindfully. Watch where your mind goes, focus on the task at hand. Repeat your intention — silently or out loud — as you work, read, or write.
For safety reasons, don’t leave the candle unattended. Stay with it, as you are staying with your intention.
When the candle burns down — and this may take a few days, no need to rush! — dispose of the remains.
Allow the intention to come into your life. Recognize that you are worthy of love and manifestation. Better yet, see it unfold in your life.
4. Tie Knots of Intention
Find some string, yarn or wrapping paper ribbon. Cut seven pieces, a few inches long. This corresponds to one for each day of of the week.
Or cut up any number, that appeals to you — preferably under ten.
Find a small bag. Could be a paper bag, or a bag that once held a special, tiny gift (such as jewelry).
Pick a time of day that you can commit to for a week. (Or any set number of days — remember rituals are flexible). Upon arising, before going to sleep.
Hold the ritual in the same place.
If you are traveling and not staying consecutive days in one area, find some consistency of location and time. You could hold the ritual next to your suitcase, for example.
Be creative. Spontaneously creative.
Once again, write down your intention in clear, lucid language.
Declare it aloud.
Take one piece of string or ribbon and knot it, sealing your intention. If there are several aspects to your declaration, then knot the string a few times.
Let’s say your intention is: I release my past feelings of failure and acknowledge my success in my next career move. (Name it, if there is a specific goal you want).
Tie the knot twice, one to release the idea of failure that you made up or took on. (Remember there are no mistakes, but rather opportunities for growth.)
The next knot affirms your empowerment, as you create anew.
Add in one for good luck, if you want! The ritual’s format requires intention only, not a strict adherence to someone else’s prescribed behavior.
After the set number of days, when the strings have all been knotted, dispose of them. You can either burn them, bury them, or (if they’re biodegradable) release them to the winds or water.
5. Anoint Yourself!
Find an essential oil, whatever scent appeals to you. Lavender is calming and readily accessible, for example.
Write out your intention or your sigil. Declare it aloud.
Open the cap of the essential oil bottle and breathe its luscious fragrance. Feel the energy of the plant going straight into your body.
Essential oils are powerful medicines, supporting psychological and physiological healing.
Focus on your intention. Pour one drop on your index finger, being careful to avoid touching the bottle dropper itself. You don’t want the oils on your hand to contaminate the essential oil itself.
Silently repeat your intention or say it aloud.
Take the finger with the essential oil and gently place it on your “third eye”, midway between your eyebrows. (See Buddha photo, on the left.)
Make sure the essential oil doesn’t get in your eyes (which shouldn’t happen if you used a single drop).
Hold your finger on your third eye, consciously sending energy inward for at least a minute. Ask for insight, the ability to “see “ with your heart as you apply gentle pressure.
Repeat the process with the “X” point on the palms of your hands (see photo above, on the right). It is approximately located where the ring finger rests on the palm.
This is powerful point in spiritual iconography and is depicted on saints, Jesus Christ, gods and goddesses. Remember Star Wars, “May the Force Be with you”?
In Chinese medicine, this is an important acupuncture point. It belongs to the Pericardium or Heart Protector meridian. It’s good to hold when you’re feeling the need for emotional protection as you create your new heart desires.
Note: if by any chance your skin reacts to the essential oil, apply some carrier oil. This could be coconut, almond, olive — whatever you have on hand. Or you could use the carrier oil with the essential oil from the start.
As you go about your day, reflect on the power of these points. Smell the essential oil. Repeat your intention.
If you’re going to bed, then ask to have your intention strengthened and illuminated by your dreams.
Create magic — whether walking or sleeping!
All Forms of Desire and Healing are Your Rituals
Make up your own ritual. Keep it simple.
You can take any daily activity and imbue it with meaning.
For instance, if you garden, as you clear out your planting area, pick up sticks. Break them — snapping away a bad habit, an unhealthy relationship, negative thinking.
If you’re filing papers, do it mindfully, feeling that you are organizing your life at the same time.
Washing dishes? Wash away cares.
Any task or activity done mindfully will reinforce your intention. An outward expression of what you want to create in your life.
Have fun with it, create your meaning- and relish having a great life, filled with magic!