Creating your own Ritual-fuel your intentionality

Being born in India where Hindus constitutes majority of the population, rituals were a common occurrence around me. I grew up with different ceremonies and rituals being performed at different times of the year. When you grow up with something you don’t always appreciate it and that’s exactly what happened with me. I was fascinated by the meaning and no one provided me with an answer. Curiosity persisted and I read several books, spoke to some wise friends and also followed my own intuition.

A ritual is defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. You may follow the order as passed on by generations and can also create your personal ritual. It is an order that emanates from the center of your being, your heart.

I knew that the presence of all five elements i.e. earth, water, fire, air and ether always brought me a sense of purity, serenity and wholeness. Today I create my own rituals that help me uplift my mood, feel emotionally cleansed, cleansing the area I live in etc.

One of my favorite morning rituals is simply to light an incense stick after my morning meditation and also set an intention that my day be as fragrant as 

Santa Cruz - Montara

Five elements in nature

 

the incense. At times when I feel driven, I also light up candles, place a jar of water next to the candles, bring in a basil leaf(earth element) and play my Tibetan cymbals. I also incorporate dancing when I feel like itJ. This whole ritual which lasts 15-20 minutes helps me reconnect with myself and feel lighter. A very common activity that we perform everyday i.e. taking a shower can be transformed into a ritual by utilizing the power of intention. You may set an intention that every droplet of water takes away all the dirt and enhances the overall health of your body. Like any other thing when this ritual becomes ‘another thing to do’, please stop it and renew it.

Fire, water and earth seem to have some transformative properties which perhaps why major religions choose to bury or cremate bodies of individuals. Air is ever present and provides movement to any other element. I believe that rituals add fuel to setting your intentions in motion. Feel free to use it for weight loss (as mentioned by Marianne Williamson in her book titled A course in Weight Loss), attracting love, enhancing your career etc. Take practices from any religion that appeal to you and make it your own. When you are connected with your heart, I don’t know that you could do any harm or go wrong!

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The Wisdom in Stillness

 

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Folsom 

 

Being still does not mean you are stagnant.

When you are separated from external activity, through an illness, job loss etc, it is not a punishment. Embrace it as a time for renewal and healing.

Winter is nature’s time to lie low and renew. Everyone one of us lives through different seasons in life. All seasons play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of nature.

You will know when life presents you with this ‘still’ and ‘down’ time. Go inward. Spend some time in silence. Retreat into your being. Utilize this time to rest your body. Become a witness to all that you have created without judging yourself or others.

I believe it is for this purpose that several people go on a pilgrimage. You need not always travel to a different destination. You may choose to do so if your heart so desires. Spending time in nature will provide you with the inner stillness and grounding that you need. For some of us, it may present as a time to do some soul searching.

Until you find that ‘stillness’ inside you, you will continue to experience restlessness because your spirit is not at ease. A lot of us need a ‘time out’ from family and friends too. Some of us recognize that we need this time for ourselves but are unable to do so due to familial responsibilities. The more we ignore it, the more pronounced it becomes and then comes a day when circumstances build in a manner that we have no other excuse to reach for. We also find some people who take a break from a successful career to satisfy their soul’s longing and wonder how does one give up a well settled life in search of an unknown. I am reminded of the book ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma as I write this.

Having lived through some such seasons in my own life, I can also say that there are some who choose to fight and fret this period which makes it even more gruesome. Ultimately, such periods are nothing but chances for us to grow on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level.

Not to say that there is anything easy about these stretches.

Similar to most other experiences in life, we can choose how we respond.

Namaste.

And I thought I did a shoddy job..

And I thought I did a shoddy job…

A week back, I was asked to make a presentation on Change management for an ERP initiative in our organization. Being an idealist that I am I did the groundwork to let the audience understand the basis of change, need for change and normal reaction to change which is that of resistance/ fear/ mistrust and the like. Therefore the thrust of my presentation was to be that of an attitude change and the rest to follow.

After an hour of discussion with the two project managers, I was disappointed that they wanted to ignore the fundamental aspect of change and feared making a mention of the word “resistance to change” and thought it was better to present it in more digestible words…the point being do not talk of things in black and white or do not address the core, just be at the periphery and expect that the rest would happen on its own. When I quoted the Manager on his own examples wherein he wanted people to become pro- active than reactive and wanted them to take ownership of issues, he did not want to talk of “attitude” change as that would mean digressing from the main issue. Much surprised as I was, I then asked them what was expected of me during the presentation and they gladly mentioned some formats to be filled by people and some change management workshops which were to concentrate on technical changes not attitudinal aspects.

I made the presentation as they wanted me to and got lot of appreciation for doing half a job. Often I hear these words “we want your 100% inputs”, “you are here for your intellectual capabilities” and when one uses it to make things better, he is not allowed to because the people at the top are not sure of themselves or are so sure of what they want that no other changes can take place to the thoughts they have framed.

Knowing fully well in their hearts( the people at the top) that what the other person is saying is valid, they do not venture in to and realize the facts much later when it turns into a crisis situation.

One more possibility is that may be these people are not used to confrontations and seldom come across someone who does not easily say “ Yes” just because the other person is a Boss or in a position of authority.

We keep talking of “empowerment”, “participative decision making” and the likes wherein the participation is restricted to sharing the decision already made.

That day when according to me I did a shoddy job, I realized that even if you have the best to offer it can be materialized only when there is somebody who can digest it, accept it and then work on it or even let you work on it.

Another lesson that I learnt, one who is passionate about his work should also know how to best package it to suit the situation…it is indeed difficult to practice.