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Routines and Rituals

I am a simple person. I take things at face value without reading into them or searching for hidden meanings. If I have doubts about what someone means, I ask for clarification. Simply put (😊), I mean exactly what I say, and while I expect the same from others, I understand that words have impact and misunderstandings happen. I know that sometimes things should be said differently. It’s the same with actions; just like words, the same actions can take on a completely different meaning for each of us.  That sounds strange; how the heck do we all survive and navigate this? It’s complicated!

I am talking about the difference between routines and rituals. The lowest common denominator for both is the same- doing something the same way on a regular basis. Your morning routine is the perfect example: every morning is very likely similar to everyone else’s. There may be some small differences, but for the most part, we all wake up, take care of hygiene, drink and/or eat something, get dressed and start our days. The order may be different, the choices of products, food, etc. may be different, but for the most part, we all follow a similar routine and are often on auto pilot! It’s routine!

Admiral William H. McRaven in a Commencement Day address told the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin if they wanted to change the world, they should make their bed. Making your bed is probably part of most people’s morning routine. His reasoning was that if you made that bed, you have a sense of accomplishment; with that you can complete another task, and by the end of the day, all those little things add up. Making your bed suddenly becomes a ritual. That is the difference between a routine and a ritual: a ritual has meaning and purpose behind it. It’s intentional.

At the end of every day, I go the cigar lounge. I light up a cigar, pour a drink and have awesome conversations with friends and strangers alike. It’s routine. My ritual is embedded in that routine. I thoughtfully select my cigar, and based on the type, decide how to cut it. Next, I toast the cigar, blow out the smoke, take a puff, finish lighting it and start to enjoy it. That’s my ritual; it’s intentional, thoughtful, and I am present during it. To the casual observer, the end result is the same: me, on a chair with a cigar and drink in hand, enjoying the conversations. To me, the ritual is what makes it special; it signifies the end of my day and lets me decompress. It’s how I celebrate my day and transition into evening activities.

 “If you want your day to be organized, develop a routine.  If you want your day to be meaningful, create rituals.” – Buddha Groove

What rituals do you have? I would love to hear about them

Have a great weekend.