self-compassion through ritualistic living

September 3, 2018

"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

– James Baldwin

 

 


So here's the thing: it's going to happen anyway. 'It' being the exact thing you manifest through your collective thoughts and actions. It will continue to happen over and over again until you bear the lesson that it carries.


The everyday choices we make, both big and small, contribute to the crafting of our current reality.  Some things navigate through our experience slowly without us noticing, and others call out to us constantly in different ways; sometimes we respond and sometimes we suppress, it's natural either way. But the truth is that regardless of whether or not we are in alignment, we have the choice to manifest our own intentions, or subconsciously attract whatever we aimlessly devote our focus to.

 

Manifestation operates in our life however we choose to allow, and if we don't assert our own purpose then our energy will decide for us. Ease comes when we accept that our experiences will mirror back to us what we need to work on in order to thrive in the best versions of ourselves. In most instances, we tend to maneuver our way around the things that are reflected back to us out of fear because when we pay close enough attention, what we find is typically uncomfortable to face.

 

 

 

If we want to shift out of the restrictions that we have been societally encouraged to self-impose, we have to admit that we exist in a space where there is work to be done. We have to commit to unlearning the practices that lead to habitual missteps in order to create space for our own personal ascension. To put it lightly, "the work" is all things. It is hard, and soft, and heavy, and light, and the only way through it is to meet yourself with compassion. 


Now, compassion is a loaded word that is defined by Merriam-Webster as "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." However, in the case of self-care, the "other" is actually the less realized version of our self, the version that often needs a gentle nudge in the direction of a higher vibration. Exercising compassion is done through following that nudge and through the commitment to creating a space for one's self that feels safe enough to do the real work. 

 

One way to implement compassion into our regular routines is through the decision to be more ritualistic than routined. Rituals prioritize thriving while routines center the experience of someone trying to sustain their current lived experiences, and the issue that arises when we choose routine is subconscious resistance. The popular understanding of sustainability is mythical because it suggests that we can control the pace of our lives through scheduling and organizing and syncing our electronics, which is allusive at best. But making the choice to ritualize our experiences creates room for exploration of whatever comes. 

 

 


Some rituals that I would suggest, that have helped me immensely in being able to choose flow over force, are meditation, yoga, journaling, and critical reading. Meditation is a ritual that allows me an opportunity for quietude, which always leads me to my inner-guide which utilizes stillness to strengthen our connection. Yoga is especially critical for me as a ritual that is practiced regularly because it pulls me out of my head and pushes me into my body, reminding me that life is to be felt - not just thought about. Journaling is another additive to my wellness practice as it creates space for me to develop trust with myself through vulnerable, honest, and raw release. Finally, critical reading is a ritual that prioritizes my need for creativity, and encourages me to follow my own curiosity about the messages between-the-lines. Not all habitudes adapted by others will work when addressing what we want to include as our own rituals - but the aforementioned list is a great starting point. 

 

It is important to note, again, that the reason for ritual is not to fight against the parts of life that wear on us, but instead to meet the hard parts with a softness that is both protective and progressive. 

 

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