Ritual or Routine?

I have a canvas in my studio that I've had for years now. It came to me from a local goodwill. I think it had a large half-finished daffodil painted on it. I brought it home and eventually painted over that.

Actually, I've painted over this one canvas more times than I can count. Then, it became a piece that would occasionally call me over to just add a line here, a color there, or to just look at with wonder. My muse is still speaking through it to me, I guess. That, or it's just become part of my studio practice, a place to ground at occasionally, like an altar of sorts that asks to be touched. There's a spirit to this one, somehow.

Either way, yesterday it stuck a corner out from a stack of canvases, asking to be visited again. So I pulled her out, and instantly she was asking for words this time. Create Ritual.

With those two words I was reminded of the subtle, important difference between ritual and routine... the meaning we attach to our actions. Our attitude, our perspective toward every gesture of our day can become a place of habitual un-presence, dulling our senses, OR a place of BEING with hope, participating in a celebration of life and belonging - choosing to SEE and FEEL a deeper connection.

What power we have in this. What a gift.

Taking a shower can be something we do on automatic, hardly noticing or remembering if we washed our hair or not when we're done... or it can be a sacrament of gratitude for this body, this sensation, this time, this water, running water, this cleansing, this touch, this beginning, this moment. This....

Every act of our day, every piece of ordinary routine is fertile for a ritual of attention only we can create. It takes no more time, just a toggle of an internal connection switch within us. Sometimes I forget that - as much as intention and prayer are a part of my daily practices, I still have to take off my lens cap again and again every single day.

Perhaps you have special rituals that you've become dulled to, that no longer seem to fill you up the same, or maybe it's routines that could use the magic of a little ritual intention. Either way, let's shake it up with a little creativity, huh?

I'll be hanging that painting on my studio wall for awhile.