Quieting My Heart

A friend recently sent me the link to this article about why sensitive people need rituals. While I've never personally identified as an HSP, there are many things about this article that do click for me. And inspire me to think more deeply about my own rituals.

I've been a creature of habit my entire life.

I remember, even as a small child, organizing my room, my books, my clothes in certain patterns. Sometimes by color, sometimes by type, but always in a way that felt ordered. I created altars on bookcases and bathrooms shelves, and took special care to surround myself with music and images that evoke specific feelings (particularly of safety and peace) in me.

As I grew, my habits and patterns felt less about keeping me safe and more about some mild obsession with order and control. An obsession which moved from mild to severe while I was in college, sometimes causing me to avoid social situations or to invite friends into my space. My need for control and order flooded every aspect of my life, and my thoughts on ritual as "habits" become confused with ritual as enforced control.

As I left college and bounced between one bad relationship to another, I quickly learned exactly how little control I have, particularly on things outside of me. The things I called rituals in the past became memories of control, allowing me to replace my failing grasp on control with the slightest moments of grounding.

These new rituals, moments of bliss and quiet in the throng of survival, move me toward my true self. Whether it is lighting a candle while taking a shower, or listening to a song that brings my heart joy, these acts give me a moment to take a deep breath, engage my body, and connect to greater strength.

These days, my daily habits and personal rituals are focused more on quieting my spinning mind and finding sanity in the whirlwind. Sometimes it is burning palo santo before I sit down to write. Sometimes it is boxing when I need a break from the hard stories. Sometimes it is just taking a walk, with a mug of tea, and listening to the birds wake up.

But rituals give me courage when I feel small, and quiet when the world feels too loud. Through daily rituals, I have moments of clarity and peace I can count on in the rest of the whirlwind.

How do you use daily rituals in your own life?