Habits are like two sides of a coin. On one side we curse bad habits which can bind us to potentially enslaving addictions, activities or consumables. On the flip side our good habits appear to be a blessing, allowing us to effortlessly perform thousands of boringly repetitive tasks.
Every day we shower, dress, eat and complete other routine tasks on autopilot. Even driving becomes an unconscious habit. How many times have you arrived at a familiar destination without even remembering the details of the drive? These types of habits are great, right? …Or are they?
When our behavior patterns become so ingrained that they are nearly involuntary we are actually giving away the joy of being present. Living life with intention brings meaning to day to day tasks, transforming our routines into rituals.
“Any ordinary occurrence can become sacred when the act is planned for, participated in with purpose and then reminisced,“states human development scholar Barbara Fiese. Thus we can create our own rituals implementing these three parts:
These steps can be applied to eating a meal, interacting with a child, cleaning house, prayer and scripture study, church worship, making love and ultimately everything we do.
First, as we prepare for an experience we can set an intention of what we desire to have happen – whether it’s strengthening a relationship, coming one step closer to achieving a goal or getting the best deal on a new purchase. Intention sets energy in motion to bring you what you desire.
Next, being fully present participants allows us to reap the fruits of our daily routines. As we clean our house with mindfulness we can transform the mundane into marvelous, being filled with gratitude for our possessions. When we eat slowly with intention savoring every bite we can delight in the deliciousness of our food, allowing better digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
While we shop with awareness, not only may we discover bargains and treasures, we also might discern someone who needs a smile, a kind act or a helping hand along the way.
Finally, as we reminisce our subconscious can bring to mind something that we may have forgotten or failed to originally noticed. When we reflect on the day we can learn to see God’s guiding hand and influence.
Routine or ritual? Sacred or superficial? The choice is yours.