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 

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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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Dancing your way into personal growth!

Dance has always been one of my passions. It is something that liberates me and celebrates me. Often when I am dancing I wait for the moment when I just feel my heartbeat in sync with the beat of the music playing and I am totally tuned inward. My movements are minimal and my spirit dances. It took me some time to be comfortable with how I want to dance and move in a crowd. I have learned a few dances and each one taught me something about myself. I think you must also know that writing this blog was inspired by watching Dancing with the Stars which I never miss!

The act of dance for me is akin to finding your flow in life, your own creative expression. Dance involves learning technique, surrendering to the flow, tuning into the rhythm. Every one’s body responds to a certain kind of music and beat. Personally, I love dancing to the beat of drums, cymbals and latin dances bring me joy. It takes a while to figure out what you like and what you do not. It is a great way for anyone to build confidence and begin the journey of figuring out who you are. Several movies like Step up, Footloose, Dirty Dancing etc show us how dancing helps channelize our emotions. There is dance for every emotion we feel. Perhaps this is what inspired an entire branch of therapy known an dance/movement therapy which helps reconnect with the language of the body.

ballerina

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Questions you can ask yourself:
1) Have I ever been ridiculed for dancing? If so, can I let it go today and try again?

2) What do I enjoy more- dancing by myself, with a partner or in a group?

3) What type of instrument or music feels good to me?

4) What kind of dance helps you relieve stress and which one exhilarates you?

Each one of us has a dance in us which is beyond any form of dance that one can be trained in. Yes, you can master the techniques of a form and achieve excellence in it however dancing to me is beyond what someone can teach you. It is what flows from your heart. It is the courage you find in yourself to move the way you want to. It is the sheer joy and love out of which you move.

Some dances that I love are bollywood dancing, kathak, salsa, samba, contemporary, bachata, tango and belly dance. Having listed these here, I would also mention that I tend to pick movements from several of these at any given point and make it my own. I have danced alone in a crowd several times only to find others join me a little later. There are always some people who wait for someone else to begin. For me, all of this also tells about how you like to live your life. Not right or wrong..just is.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your dancing shoes or just dance barefoot!