The one very striking and pervasive element of Balinese culture is its ever present commitment to rituals, both daily, seasonal, and yearly.
The culture is so enriched with the foundations of these rituals, they keep them connected to the spirit world, to their communities and to their own individual soul’s journey and evolution. There appears to be no concept of "can't be bothered" with ceremonies and daily offerings. The fixture of these rituals ensures the energetic flow and connection to spirit stays alight.
So observing this at play has me thinking about what type of rituals we can find in our own lives to underpin and support our experience of wellness. Bali for me is a place I come to put a spotlight on self care, I have the time and practical support available for a luscious long daily yoga practice, I eat organic clean food, I resist alcohol (mostly) and I pamper myself with massages, facials and colonic irrigation treatments. Of course being surrounded by the level of awareness of health in a place like Ubud enables me to really easily practice these important ways of living that nourish me. However, I recognise that in the reality of daily life that this kind of focus is not always available, or at least access to it feels clouded with all the other activity that requires attention in an urban life. And most certainly a month in Bali is not always an option to restore balance (but in future posts I will explain how we make this happen for us).
So exactly what kind of rituals am I talking about?
Rituals that are imbued with the intention on self love. I'm sure you have things you do that just make you feel good, we all do. Stumped? Below for you are some ideas you can use starting now, to get some balance and self care happening in your life.
Meditate. A morning or evening time for contemplation or meditation, if you are new to meditation a great way to aid this is to listen to a guided meditation. As little as 10 minutes a day, can create noticeable shifts in your overall wellbeing, especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression.
Become a lover of tea. Buy yourself a special tea pot, and cup and consciously brew and consume a pot of lovely loose leaf (preferably herbal) tea. Put down the phone, ipad and computer if you can and experience the sensations of the taste, your surrounds...this moment.
Journal. Spend some time journaling, you may even wish to write a few words each day around the concept of gratitude
Get outside. Take yourself outdoors, look at the horizon if you can and just take a few moments to experience the elements of the earth that we are so often insulated from, this could take the form of a walk, time in the garden, a nearby park or a trip to the beach. Our connection to nature can help us to feel into our eternal selves.
Salute the sun. Daily yoga sun salutes, If you don't already know this powerful devotional and energising practice, there is so much available online to help you learn it , I really encourage this practice to help ground your energy and tune into your body. You don’t have to do a fancy long yoga practice or even go to a class, you can do this on your own. If you want to learn sun salutes really well, head to an Ashtanga Mysore class, and you will learn in no better way, one on one with your teacher.
Exersise. Move your body in a way that you enjoy, is convenient for you, and in a way in which you can make it happen. If that means put your favourite song on loud and cutting the rug at home for a good heart opening dance - do it! If you have kids, even better dance with them, they love to dance with their parents.
Nourish yourself. Make food choices that support and nourish your body, if you find yourself constantly seeking food that is less than beneficial to you, see this as a chance to look at the deeper emotions behind your choices. If you need help to connect with your emotions around food Kinesiology is a very helpful modality.
Do lunch. Schedule in time for connection to your peeps, who ever it is that energises and uplifts you, schedule in a lunch or dinner date - and stick to it.
I'm going to say it again. Yoga. If you are not quite up for the daily sun salutes (or more) then look around until you have a connection with a yoga class and teacher that resonates with you. A weekly yoga or even meditation class that serves as your reflective and self love time away from your daily demands can be a sanity saver.
Cleanse your aura and bathe like a roman. Take a healing epsom salt bath. Go all out, or as simple as you like with this. Candles, essential oils, and relaxing music are all ways to make the experience more relaxing and healing. Resist the urge to take your phone in with you and trawl Instagram or Facebook, allow yourself to become deeply present to your body, breath and emotions.
Switch off socially. Take a weekly social media fast. Rest your brain from the daily feeds and take the day off from social media, and if you can, also give email a break. Use this time to experience the world first hand, pick up a book, play with your kids, make love…. you choose.
Get a treatment. Book in a special self care treatment that is non negotiable, if budget is a concern their are some fantastic student clinics available at a low price, full of eager (and supervised) students keen to use their healing skills. Massage, Reiki, Kinesiology (of course you can come see me or skype with me for that one!)
Get out of the grid. For many of us, our lives are lived in a certain geographical radius, when we loop in the same movement patterns we can also become a little stuck. So take yourself for the country drive, or if you live in the country, get on the train head to the city or some place you’ve not been before. A change of scene can help us perceive our lives in from a different perspective, and can help us get “out of our heads”. (See holidays below)
Respect the cycle. For the ladies. The female monthly cycle can be a time to honour your divine feminine essence. Instead of viewing it as we can often do as an inconvenience, perhaps celebrate it as a sign of your womanhood, and as an invitation to release with it any emotional holdings you may wish to clear along with the release that comes with your cycle.
Honour the season. Acknowledge the seasons in a way that is meaningful to you. Perhaps this is a time that you sit and set some intentions for the season ahead, socially, professionally, spiritually or otherwise. By recognising in some form of meditation or similar the symbolism of the season, we connect with our eternal essence, we are of nature also.
Getaway. Book a weekend away each season to a destination that serves up the season best. Regularly booking in a getaway out of town can shift your perspective, awaken your senses with new sights, people, even tastes. You may even chance upon a destination that feels more like home to you than where you live...it can open up possibilities.
Cleanse your body. Perhaps a seasonal juice cleanse or fast, followed up with a series of colonic hydration sessions. If you're not quite up to facing the colonics, then a simple juice fast will give your digestive system a well earned rest.
Holiday. Schedule time for rest and downtime. Holidays and time away from work are crucial to regenerating your vital energy, resting your brain, your body and providing space to just BE. If you are the type of person who gets sick 2 days into your holidays, then cultivating the above daily, weekly and monthly rituals in your life, may aid you to live in a more sustainable way of living that stops the holiday collapse from happening. If you can’t even think about what would happen at the office if you were to go on a holiday, chances are you really need the break! Book it in.
Book a retreat. A structured retreat away from daily life is a great way to switch off from the world, its a little different to a holiday, as there can also be a fair degree of stress on holidays too! Did we book the right resort, where can I get my laundry done (etc). There are so many retreat options available, both local and overseas. It doesn't have to be yoga or meditation, it could be health detox, a silent retreat, an artists retreat, or any number of specialised offerings. Retreats are special in that they give you the chance to spend time away from not only daily life, but also the social constructs in which we are engaged in daily - a silent retreat is gold. In time I will be developing my own retreat offering in Bali - so watch this space for more details! If you don’t have the budget for the retreat, you could create your own “retreat” at home, schedule in some nourishing activities (a walk, bath, yoga class, manicure) over a weekend, and make the weekend all about you! Let others who you are living with this is your intention in advance so you can get their support.
Make a vision board. By setting some time aside each new year and think about what your intentions and goals for the year are you are more likely to achieve them. Create a vision board around it, put it somewhere you will see it daily, and watch the magic of your subconscious and the universe conspire to make it a reality. I deeply believe in the practice of vision boards!
So there is just a start on a list of some rituals and practices you can put into place to keep things in balance. I would love to hear from you, what kind of rituals are in your life that keep you grounded and in balance? Leave a comment below to share.