Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Where I Sit ~ Self-Nourishing Rituals


I'm someone who loves self-nourishing rituals —regular, predictable activities that nourish me, body, mind and spirit.

These sorts of rituals (ceremonial acts) involve tender enactments—things we choose to do regularly to soothe our body; slow our mind, enabling us to focus on the present moment; engage our senses, allowing us to luxuriate in "me time."

The key to a ritual such as this is how the steps or key ingredients are performed in exactly the same way each time. This provides the comfort of "sameness" — the relaxing feeling of what to expect while knowing that nothing else needs be done other than to sit back and enjoy. As a result, we experinece the pure pleasure of savoring the moment for what it is—a moment in time where we can truly BE.

For me (no matter where I am) a nightly bathing ritual is paramount to my well-being. The simple ritual I have created is something I look forward to. It is a reward at the end of a busy day. And I enact this ritual whenever I need to, especially if stress sets in, or I am not feeling well. I set the stage with my reading glasses, the book of the day, a favorite bath or shower gel, and, of course, peace and quiet. This bath ritual takes at least 15 - 30 minutes. I may even drain and fill the tub so the water stays the perfect temperature. I forget the world outside the bathroom door and slide into a world of comfort.

Do you have a self-nourishing ritual? Anything—done regularly, to specification—that enables you to simply let go?

If you don't, you can begin to create one for yourself right now.

1. Identify what it is that truly gives you comfort.
2. What materials or props will you need?
3. What time frame do you have to work with?

Give yourself permission to be creative and devise a wonderfully delicious way to to enjoy YOU. Let your body purr with contentment; let your mind be at ease.

Whatever self-nourishing activity you create, do it regularly with the same intent, preparation, tools and setting. This predictable pattern, in time, will move your body toward equanimity—and all of you toward wholeness. You may actually begin to remember how it feels to be completely peaceful and free. As memory stirs, you will be moved to create the ritual again and again, until it becomes a "normal" part of your day and you cannot imagine your life without it.

That's precisely how I feel about my bath ritual. And I can hardly wait to move into our "new" cottage next week. It comes complete with a turn-of-the-century claw foot bathtub. Heaven on earth ...

I'd love to hear about your self-nourishing rituals ... Do tell.


(Image courtesy of www.guspa.com)

16 comments:

Susanne said...

Ohhh, love my bath! I have one of those old-fashioned tubs, deep and narrow and so deliciously wonderful! Only problem is the edges are rolled and slippery and narrow, so my cats can't sit beside me, which seems to be important to them for some cat reason. One sits on the bathmat and howls mournfully, the other balances precariously on the edge of the tub to play with the soap bubbles and has been known to fall in. Nothing like having a cat fall in your bath water to pretty much ruin a perfectly good relaxing moment.

maxine said...

For me, it is knitting. I do it voraciously, and at every opportunity. I don't wait for the end of the day to catch a serene stitch or two. When I am in a long *bux drive thru line, I knit a row or two...when files are uploading or otherwist processing at work, I knit...While at the cafe dor tea or dinner, I knit...but the best knitting time is at 5 am when the house is still silent and I can stitch a few rows before my morning yoga...

Carolynn said...

Oh yes, I'm big on baths, too. In fact, I indulged myself twice with warm bubble baths, this past weekend.

ingrid said...

Dear Jan, baths, yes! And walks. And I'm finding that writing letters to a special friend often really helps me feel centered, giving me a sense of balance and belonging. Different from journaling, somehow- it's a recalling of details and delights...or even the sharing of puzzlements. I guess connecting is self-nourishing! Love, Ingrid

Jenn said...

this is beautiful, Jan! ;) wow, I think I am doing well when I enjoy one on Sundays and even then sometimes forget,.. I do love it though! ;) My self-nourishment essentials are getting a bit low lately,.. however.. I must say that my favorite ritual which I will not give up is Journaling! I find that every day it is one of the first things I do. I also enjoy my herbal teas, not daily but frequently and in the mornings. These are the things I tend to protect most of all. I am building from there ;) hugs, Jenn
p.s. congrats on your new cottage news and the claw foot bathtub! how fun! I enjoyed that once on vacation and it was so fun! I even took a pic.. hehe ;)

Jan said...

Susanne,
Your bath ritual sounds quite nourishing. Cats do love to sit on the edge of the tub, don't they? They must be as intrigued by water as we are. Enjoy and be well!

Maxine,
Knitting sounds like a very nourishing ritual. I imagine it is very meditative and the repetitive motion could definitely lull one into peace of mind. Savor the moments.

Jan said...

Carolynn,
Bubbles or without bubbles? Glad you were able to indulge twice. Twice is very nice. :-) For me, to climb into the tub to indulge in the middle of the day is true decadence. :-)

Ingrid,
Walking — a very nice choice on so many levels. Body, mind and spirit or certainly nourished. And, oh, yes, letter writing (rather than journaling) does provide an opportunity for soulful "me time," and for making sense out of our lives with a dear one as witness. xo

Jenn,
May all the things you mention continue to bring your heart ease. Teas are so nice, journaling too, and naps. Oh, yes. Naps!

Sharon said...

I have rediscovered the joy of a hot bath. The bathroom with the bathtub has been freed up with my son's return to school, and what a luxury it is to have a long, leisurely bath at the end of the day.

Jan said...

Sharon,
It IS a luxury and I so glad your son's departure has brought this one big blessing! Enjoy the moments....

Carolynn said...

Oh, Bubbles. Absolutely!

One Woman's Journey said...

Oh yes, what would I do without this relaxing bath at the end of a busy day. Warm water and filled with scented Lavender oil. Sometimes a candle burning. When it is finished - I am so relaxed I almost go down the drain!!!
Sometimes before bed I add a cup of hot choclate.

hkk said...

nice post

Jan said...

One Woman,
By the tone of your comment, this is a VERY immportant self-nourishing ritual for you. So glad! The chocolate is a nice final touch.May you enjoy and be happy!

Hkk,
Thank you, may you be well!

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

I don't know what I really have any self-nourishing rituals at this time, although at one time, a nightly bath was a true delight for me.

Perhaps my yoga classes are self-nourishing rituals in a manner. Rolling out my mat, sitting and breathing in preparation for the work ahead. With my monkey mind chattering away with thoughts of work (which I've just left before coming to class), I ask myself "Where am I?" and I answer "I am here." I am here, I am on my mat, I am not at work, I have nothing to do now but to breathe and to practice my yoga. That is all. Nothing to do, and nothing to undo. My yoga practice does nourish me.

Kel said...

I love self-nourishing rituals
right when the world is making me feel like I don't deserve them I know that is the time when Ineed to practice them the most

scented bubble baths - tick
brewing a pot of fragrant tea - tick
and something i am long overdue for, a massage . . .

thanks for the reminder

Jan said...

Rose,
I would definitely say yoga is one of your self-nourishing rituals. (It was one of mine too, until some injuries set in...) So glad you have an all-round practice that serves you so well!

Kel,
I appreciate what you say about deservedness. We do struggle with this, don't we? But I love the connection you make here that when that little niggling voice begins, that is precisely the time to dive into ritual! Wonderfully said.