Whether we realize it or not our daily rituals are important moments that define who we are. They set the tone for how we live, create and rejuvenate. I learned this many years ago as a young single mama and I’ve been paying even more attention lately as I choose to live a more sustainable and mindful life.
As a young parent of two children, my morning ritual began when I woke at dawn to sip a cup of coffee and sit in silence with my smooth journal and a fine point pencil. I allowed my mind to escape from the responsibilities of the upcoming day as I journaled and wrote poetry. This space of solitude and peace gave me the presence of mind and energy to deal with my kid’s morning rituals of not “letting go of the Eggo”, spilling the last bit of milk, losing their favorite soccer cleats and letting me know last minute about the bake sale (A bake sale? Today? Really?) The days when I overslept or didn’t have time for my morning solitude always felt discombobulated because I hadn’t set my headspace in the right place.
“Brush your teeth please!”
“Brush my what?”
“I can’t find my hamster.”
And so now and again the morning would spin in a chaotic direction because I was missing the meditative benefits of my morning ritual. But the best days (most days) all began right after my morning quiet time. I’d brew the kids each a warm cup of chai tea to drink as part of their morning ritual. My calm start to the day brought structure and order into theirs. And while there were still daily mishaps and challenges they were more easily dealt with when bookended by daily ritual. I still look back on those warm chai mornings with a grateful heart that I managed to raise two creative boisterous kids and we all survived! And by the way, yes, we found the hamster!
Now that my kids are grown I’ve added other rituals to my mornings and evenings. One of the most important additions is a spiritual connection with nature. I make a point every day to get outside for a walk with my old lady chocolate lab. We stop to touch the bark of the cedars and feel the spring of moss under our paws. We listen to the squirrels and woodpeckers chattering and tapping for nuts and grubs. It’s often the best part of our day. It also reminds me to be mindful of how mother earth must be loved and cared for.
This new daily nature ritual has also extended into the products I choose for my home. I’m finding that I want warm natural furniture and hand-tossed pottery. I slow cook stews in cast iron pots and spend hours in my organic garden. I strive every day to give much thought to what footprint I’m leaving behind.
Most recently I’ve changed my morning and evening hygiene rituals with sustainable bamboo toothbrushes. This small change has made me even more mindful of my natural surroundings. It may seem like a little thing but it sets the tone when I rise to shine and when I go to sleep. It’s a daily act of commitment to the environment that reminds me that I can make a difference every day. And while I can’t promise our WooBamboo kid’s brushes will tame your energetic munchkins it is definitely an easy way to teach them how little daily rituals can have a big impact on the earth.