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Monday, July 16, 2012

Exposing My Secret Rituals

Each morning I perform a few rituals that guarantee my entire day is fulfilling. They energize me to tackle important tasks.  Doing them day after day builds my momentum and what feels insurmountable and uninspiring on Monday is simple to complete by Friday.

Some days I do all of these.  Some of these I do every day.  Some days I only do a couple.

Ritual #1  Get dressed. I don't have to do this - I live in a very private location, my husband goes to work and no one would even notice if I spent all day in my jammies.  I would feel sluggish, though.  Getting dressed makes me feel as though I'm getting ready to DO something.

Ritual #2  No phone calls before noon.  My mind gets a fresh start every day.  I present this canvas for fresh paint each morning.  Phone calls muddy my thinking.  What's going on in everyone else's mind or day will creep into my quiet time and compete with my own thoughts for my focused attention.  I also try to schedule all my appointments in the afternoon.

Ritual #3 Keeping a notepad with me for the next 3 rituals, I write down significant new information and inspiration.  Have you ever had a brilliant idea and then lost it completely in the recesses of your mind for a period of weeks or months - maybe forever?  A journal of these thoughts - kept in any sort of book - can reveal a connection and clear inspiration.  Without a written journal, you can and most likely WILL miss something significant.  It's an pivotal moment to see a recurrent theme where I expected only randomness.  God continues to bring certain topics to my mind over and over in my inspired moments and I can see it much clearer when it's in ink.  I prefer a little 4X6 spiral notebook, but am working through an inventory of composition books I purchased on sale last summer.  Back to school sales are on now, in case you're the thrifty sort.

Ritual #4  Reading, preferably nonfiction.  I like to learn something every day.

Ritual #5  Take coffee, pen and paper to a chair outside on the porch, in the yard or in the woods (or a comfy corner chair inside on bad weather days). Birds, breezes and solitude simultaneously relax and renew my mind and imagination.

Ritual #6  Bible study.  In all honesty, I'm not a frequent studier of my Bible all by itself, but I'm almost always using Bible study guides to explore a book of the Bible or a particular subject.  Right now they are Captivating: Uncovering the Mystery of a Woman's Soul & Judges/Ruth.

What about you?  What are your rituals?

Suggested Read: Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald.


  1. Making coffee, reading 2 Psalms, a chapter of another book of the Bible. Daily devotion from Andrew Murray's Teach Me to Pray. Then the day's reading from Common Prayer. Praying and writing in my journal. Then checking e-mail, breakfast, get ready for work. I'd to fit in a walk, but I don't get up early enough.

  2. Wow, Mollie! You must be an early riser to get all that done! For the first time in almost 2 years I got up at 6:00 today. Daylight savings time messed me up in 2010. I didn't even hit my snooze button this morning.

    Hanging out with other creative people is amazing, but mornings with the Creator In Chief is like having Michelangelo tutor you in Drawing 101.

  3. I have more time for rituals in summer than during the school year. My school year rituals are limited to getting awake and presentable and out of the house by 7:30 a.m....even if it's barely light out.
    Some of my summer rituals are the same as yours. I don't get up early since I'm still recovering from school year. I do get dressed; that's the residual effect of living in a church parsonage for 20 years. The nonfiction book I just finished is Flesh and Blood Jesus by Russ. I wish someone else would read it so we could discuss it. Prayer and Bible reading and on a good morning, a few minutes at the piano playing some worship music.

  4. I find that "presentable" has a different meaning to me than it did 20 years ago. Sometimes I catch my reflection when I'm out and wonder "what was I thinking?" Then I make no eye contact, in case I run into someone I know... I won't be aware that I've been seen in this condition. I've found denial to be an incredible provider of freedom!

    Is that book one that is revealing, thought-provoking, or disturbing? I checked with my library and they don't have a copy. I'll have to see if I can find it for inter-library loan.