I love rituals.
Before I fill up the bathtub I like to straighten and arrange all of the items that I will need in a particular order, often placing all the things in the same location each time. I tidy up the room, add something with a nice smell (like a scented wax warmer or essential oil diffuser), and like to have visual clutter minimized. The ritual is setting the stage for a relaxing bath.
Getting ready for work is a routine that helps me stay productive. Every morning I run through my tasks like a checklist. I get up very early and give myself plenty of time to get ready for work. The list is already in the most efficient order. My goal is to be economical with my time but I really don’t want to rush.
I don’t like feeling rushed. It has been my experience that the days I rush I forget things. Being in a hurry stops you from enjoying the life in front of you. The moment you start to rush you stop living in the present and your mindfulness dissolves.
Before packing up my things I sit in front of my laptop and check my calendar to help make sure I know the important details of my day. I allow myself to walk back through the house to make sure I’ve done everything and turned things off. I take the time to stop and go through my mental checklists before I walk out the door.
These rituals and routines are comforting and they keep me calm, clear-headed, and productive. I give myself enough time to work mindfulness into my morning and it becomes a part of everything I do. Starting my day off right, with a good mental foundation.
Knowing what is coming I feel prepared to take on the world but the real battle doesn’t even start until a surprise happens.
Being flexible isn’t always easy. It’s hard to do because we love routine and knowing what to expect. These things are comforting and reliable when everything else may seem chaotic.
I try to always buffer in time for the inevitable surprises and mentally make a note that “anything could happen”. If I get too attached to my plan for the day and something changes last minute I feel agitated.
We must learn to flex our inflexible muscles and let go of attachments and expectations – otherwise, we will be upset when things change. Learning to stay calm in these moments, when something unexpected intrudes into your well thought out plan, may be hard work but it will benefit you in the long run.
When you feel that spark, adrenaline pulsing through you, take a time out. Breathe, close your eyes and count, go for a walk, find a way to stay in the present or take a break until you are back in your right mind.
Thinking clearly becomes impossible when the mind is racing. Bad decisions are born from unclear heads. Take the time you need to clean your mind. Don’t let anyone rush you when you need to think.
Flex your inflexible muscles, face your fears, don’t let life’s surprises get you down.