Rituals and Routines

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about daily rituals.  Not simply the routines that ground us every day, but the rituals that are part routine, but also part magic.  A ritual that helps to set the mood for whatever your daily ambition might be.  I find much power and necessity in routines, especially with my children.  I find that if I can have 20-30 minutes each morning before the boys wake up to make their breakfast and set it out on the table while savoring my first half a cup of coffee, then I am my better self when I greet them good morning.  This is a morning routine that makes my life run more smoothly.  

Rituals are a little more complex.  And, thus, harder to follow in a season of life defined by young children where things like sleep patterns and food preferences can change daily.  Carving out and sticking to a personal ritual, however, can help to set the mood and mental space for creative work.  

I have often struggled between the things that I think I should be doing with my time versus the things I want to be doing such as cooking, recipe developing, writing, and reading.  I have worked hard over the past few months to establish a daily ritual which will help me to adjust from the bustle of a morning with Rigby to a quiet space for creating during his nap time.  The transition is nearly impossible if there is not something that helps to establish the break between picking up wooden blocks, wiping spills, and dusting off dirty feet and sitting down to create.  I was giving myself a pass for not using the quiet hours to be creative as there truly is a season for everything.  But, since I have set up my week day life to have some daily creative space, I have felt more grounded and alive.  It is not flawless and I am sure the ritual will evolve a hundred times during the course of this year, but for now, it is working.

My current ritual involves two parts.  The first is a run or walk after walking Jack to school.  Running, in particular, is the best dose of therapy for me.  It usually doesn't matter what type of morning we had or how much sleep I happened to clock the night before, the sheer power of a run just grounds me in the now and clears my head for today rather than the what-ifs of yesterday or the how-tos of tomorrow.  My run sets the groundwork for the rest of my day.  

The second part of my ritual is sitting down at the computer at the same time each day.  I have chosen noon until 1pm as my time for creative writing.  If I have more time in front of the screen, then I will read articles or other blogs or catch up on email, but that 12:00 hour is a scared writing hour.  I set the mood for the writing ritual by serving myself a coffee and part of my lunch, then I tuck away at our desk with head down to write.  Like running, writing has such a therapeutic quality to me.

Now, if only we could establish a peaceful nighttime ritual which would allow all four of us to transition peacefully from our day into our nighttime selves.  A ritual to help the boys, particularly Rigby, settle into a dreamy sleep, and also help David and I switch gears into our nighttime.  These boundaries have been so muddled lately that it is hard to feel settled enough in the evening to relax into grown-up time.  Any good tips?  I'd be so appreciative!