Finding your true north in a crowded world

Ritual is the passage way of the soul into the infinite.   Algernon Blackwood

In our society many of the old rituals have lost much of their power. New ones have not yet arisen.    R.D. Laing

Each year it’s the same. The new year rolls around and the tabloids and media are brimming with the latest trends, top ten things to help you get fit, be happier, smarter, more likeable. What we really need is less input. What we really need is less information, fewer overwhelming statistics, fewer fads to follow, superfoods to eat or workouts to try. What we really need is some simple rituals.

Rituals? I don’t mean dancing around naked under a full moon. Though you could if you were inclined. I refer to small practices that hold meaning for us. Small truths we can return to daily, weekly or when needed to replenish us. Practices or customs that allow us to step away from the constant focus on the physical and material. Everyday rituals act as compass points that bring us back to ourselves, not our personas as mother, executive, fitness fanatic. But truths that help us shrug off all the labels and hats we wear and remind us of who we are under the layers of societal silt. Small, everyday rituals allow us to settle into our skin and know who we are.

I have written before about the void a lack of religion has created in our daily lives. Many of us would not recognise or admit this. But I believe the constant seeking, looking for more, trying to have more, be more, do more is a result of a shift in our society away from community, ritual and ceremony. If you aren’t particularly interested in returning to dogma inspired worship you can enrich life with some everyday rituals.

Ritual is not to be confused with routine. We have routines that help stave off chaos: we rise and eat breakfast at the same time each day, we catch the bus from the nearest bus stop, and we go to the gym or yoga on certain days of the week. Routines keep us on track and make us feel in control. Routines provide structure and order and allow everything to run like clockwork. Routine is good; it reduces decision-making and ensures things get done. It can also strangle and constrain. Rituals, while also offering a stabilising anchor in the craziness of an overcrowded life, are gentler, less rigid and bring a sense of mystery and, dare I say, magic to life.

Ritual strengthens me spiritually. You may prefer to think of ritual as providing a sense of belonging and stabilisation. Ritual brings the beauty of life back into focus. Ritual reconnects us with the natural world, the inner world and rewards us in ways status, money and the latest HIIT workout cannot. In essence, ritual provides time out from daily routine, it helps us re-evaluate our path and provides us with ways to author our own lives.

Certainly some rituals may become habits and thus thought of as routines but the distinction is always there. Rising early to watch the sunrise could become a habit but the ritual comes from being present and enjoying the sights, sounds and the emotion of the moment. Soaking in a bubble bath each Friday could become a routine but the ritual comes with the intention for the week’s worries and stress to recede as the bubbles pop. Other everyday rituals might include investing in our loved ones by setting the table, serving a meal without television, phones or distractions but a focus on conversation and listening. Lighting a candle on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing. These small practices enrich us.

Like many, I suffer when my inner world is ignored. I love tarot, astrology and psychic stuff. I am also a realist. I work in the mainstream, need to address people in a range of settings so I understand and respect conventional societal norms and boundaries. I don’t have the luxury of casting off and living atop a mountain to brew my potions and commune with the elements daily, though I am invested in developing spiritually because it makes me whole points me toward my true north. With this in mind I’ll share a couple of rituals I have been practicing in the following posts that aren’t too ‘woo woo’ or freaky that help create balance in a crowded, information driven world.  Do you have some you could share?

A year of inspiration. Inspired by: Sunday Telegraph January 7, 2018

8 thoughts on “Finding your true north in a crowded world

  1. You have often said that you and I are of similar stock Shannyn and you are so right . I have rituals every day , like yourself . If for some reason ‘routines’ get in the way , I feel cheated, I get snappy and resentful. I truly feel I deserve my tiny, daily , rituals because they give me immense pleasure. and that makes me a better person , doesn’t it ?
    Early morning walk …( spring and summer really early) it has to be a ritual, never a routine .
    Early morning write…(sometimes a journal , somtimes stories , poems , somtimes goggle-de- gook ( I’m sure that spelling is completely wrong and that’s only if the word exists in the first place . I tend to make them up as I go along 🤣)
    Morning Yoga and meditation ….can you see a theme here ?
    Morning ?
    But you’d be wrong .
    Evening bubble bath with a good novel and to settle into the evening , with a glass of something red , a host of candles to set an atmosphere.
    These are my rituals, look forward to hearing about yours .

    • Oh yes. ❤️We share many of the same rituals Cherry.💖 How wonderful. I really do feel deprived if I miss my morning walks.
      Why is it that candles make something ordinary extraordinary and add that mystical, ritual feel? I light candles too.🛁
      I agree, these small things make us better people, they fill us up and therefore we should insist on them.😊
      I reckon making up words is perfectly acceptable. In this day and age they are bound to catch on 🖋✏️📝.
      Let’s see if I can make writing posts more of a ritual that’s performed regularly this year. 😂😂😂
      Love to you.

  2. I’m the same as you I believe in fate and everything happening for a reason but I also believe in that you make what is your life and it is also in your own hands, very good blog post to read 🙂

  3. I like noticing a new flower bud in the garden and in the evening my ritual is to praise the black cockatoos that fly and screech in the trees. Another ritual I have is when driving my car I deliberately turn off the radio and enjoy the silence along the way – not always easy when my thoughts are buzzing about.
    A beautiful blog post – love the phrase “societal silts”

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