How might intentionally identifying ritual increase your gratitude?
I am keenly aware of rituals during this season of change, they seem to be surrounding me - perhaps because I am inviting them.
Passing the "all you can drink" milk booth at the State Fair, I remember the annual late August ritual as a child of being given the choice of one food purchase at the state fair and always choosing the same thing - to drink as much milk as I wanted for 5 cents.
On my morning walk, I nod in recognition to the young mothers who meet each morning, with the steaming cups of coffee, as they wait for the school bus with their young children.
I pay attention for the sound of the cow trailer that will come any day now to move our beautiful cows out of their summer pasture.
My heart swells with love as important people in my life shop for wedding dresses.
And I listen, as I remember the generations who came before me and preface for those will come after, to the sound of the shofar. Tekiah! Come!
It is a choice to notice the shapes of actions that mark time, that separate the mundane from the profound, that elevate individual actions into sacred connections.
How might paying attention to ritual increase your sense of gratitude? Your sense of being alive?
Consider these steps...
Create enough space to notice in the first place. It is easy to get swept away in busyness. Those with young children barely have adequate time to sleep and take a shower, work can seem never ending, and many of us habitually move from one thing to the next on the to-do list. Check! Check! Check! As though life was a to-do list. Stop. Breathe. Pull back and up and create space to notice what is happening around you. What are the rituals that are swirling right in front of you? Notice.
Stay present. Take the time to "sit" with what you notice. Stay present, breathe it in, swim in in. Name it. Feel it. Stretch out the space.
Acknowledge gratitude through an action. Let the ribbons of gratitude awakened by the ritual pull you towards action - silently thanking the coffee bean pickers, the packers, the truck drivers, the coffee shop that are all necessary before you have the pleasure of sipping your first cup of coffee each morning; placing your hand on your heart to acknowledge the miracle of being alive when the rabbi speaks about L'dor V'dor (generation to generation), write a healthy check to your favorite organization to acknowledge gratitude for making it successfully around the sun one more time.
Expand your noticing even further, into a virtuous cycle. Create space, stay present, notice, acknowledge gratitude. Over and over.
Notice what this does for your sense of gratitude. And then, in turn, notice what a sense of gratitude does to enrich your life. Just notice.
Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.