Cultivating Your Inner Sanctuary: A Guide to Person Rituals for Mental Wellbeing
In the last post, I shared potential benefits of incorporating rituals into your life, whether for honoring, celebrating, or mourning.
Here are some considerations to guide you in creating your own personal ritual:
Set Your Intention:
Begin by clarifying the purpose or intention of your ritual. What do you hope to achieve or symbolize through this ritual? Why does creating this ritual feel important to you? What are you hoping to connect with further through this ritual: yourself, your community, your ancestors, nature? Your intention will serve as the foundation for the entire process.
Choose a Meaningful Time, Place and Structure:
Select a specific time and place for your ritual that holds personal significance. Consider factors such as privacy, comfort, and the connection between the location and your intention. Decide on the sequence of actions or steps you will take. Consider including elements like opening and closing statements, meditation, or specific actions to represent your intention.
Prepare Mentally, Emotionally and Physically to be Present:
Take time to center yourself and clear your mind before the ritual. Many rituals start with a cleansing or grounding act to clear negative energy or distractions. This could be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, lighting incense, or practicing mindfulness or meditation to create a focused and receptive state of mind. What does it look like to be physically present in your body during this ritual? Does engaging the senses, such as through scent or touch, make this a more embodied practice for you?
Engage in Symbolic Action:
Symbolic actions can help convey complex or intangible ideas, emotions, or beliefs in a tangible and concrete way. For example, if your intention is to let go of the past, you might symbolize this by releasing a bird, burning a written statement, or placing a stone in a river. What symbols ground you in your personal or cultural beliefs?
Reflect and Contemplate:
Spend time in reflection or meditation to connect with your intention on a deeper level. Consider the significance of your actions and how they relate to your life or goals.
Closing the Ritual:
Bring the ritual to a close with a closing statement or action that signifies the end of the ceremony. This can help you transition back to everyday life. You may use this as an opportunity to express gratitude for the opportunity to create this ritual, or to acknowledge the origins of the practices you’re engaging in.
Adapt and Evolve:
Over time, you may find that your rituals evolve or change to reflect your shifting intentions or personal growth. Be open to adapting your rituals as needed.
Remember that rituals are deeply personal and can take many forms. The key is to create a ritual that resonates with you and aligns with your intention, fostering a sense of meaning, connection, and personal growth in your life. When planning rituals for processing intense emotions, consider working with a therapist to design your ritual and have a place to process the painful emotions that may come up. Therapy can be a great space for further support, processing transition, identity, grief, and meaningful life practices.
References and Further Resources:
Collett, K. (n.d.). Using rituals in your grief journey. Sage Therapy Blog.
The Artists’ Grief Deck: https://griefdeck.com/