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Journal

Observance: Daily Rituals, Rhythms and Finding Happiness in the Monotonous

by Sophie van der Drift

4 months ago


Observance
/əbˈzəːv(ə)ns/
noun
1. The practice of observing the requirements of law, morality, or ritual.
2. The action of watching or noticing something.
3. Respect; deference.

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After a demanding few months, the Easter long weekend is a welcome break. A spiritual time for some, and opportunity to pause for others, we see this brief moment of downtime as a time to practice our own interpretation of 'observance'.

What does observance mean to you?
What are your rituals for rest?
How will you practice introspection?

For us, this means relishing in Melbourne's warm weather by the Peninsula with family, reading and catching up on sleep. And, of course, some soul-soothing chocolate.

With Easter and the marvel of consecutive public holidays but a fleeting moment, we turn to our favourite sources for slow living inspiration to guide us into the return to work.

We explore how we can integrate observance and its embodiment of ritual, introspection and respect into our everyday life… 

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Consistency

 

The concept of Sadhana, or a daily ritual, was first introduced to us in the writings of Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place. Here Jacqui quotes author Maya Triwari, ‘The goal of sadhana is to enable you to recover your natural rhythms and realign your inner life and daily habits with the cycles of the universe. When you begin to live and move with the rhythms of nature, your mind becomes more lucid and more peaceful and your health improves.’ 

There has been much discussion on the morning routines or ‘sacred’ routines of the highly successful and the esoteric alike, with the mere mortals amongst us seeking guidance on how to outperform every day or achieve enlightenment (can we have both?). We’ve seen well documented the virtues of routine in relation to heuristics, efficiency and productivity.

Should we loosen the regime? 

 

Whilst routines and parameters work for some, Brooke McAlary of the Slow Home Podcast offers another perspective…  Rhythm not routine. As shared on Slow Your Home

“Rhythm moves you. You dance to it, find your groove, let go a little, enjoy the moment and see where it takes you.

Routine? Not so much.

You march to routine. It’s a steady metronome keeping time. And if you sway, if you linger, if you move out of order or fail to complete a step, then you fail. You’re out of time. You’re lagging behind.

Rhythm allows change and flexibility for different seasons in life. Which is why I love the approach of rhythm so much more than routine.”

Brooke goes on to explain that daily sequences, rhythms or rituals (in their many iterations) should include tasks that bring happiness amongst the deadlines, alarm clocks and rush to work. What will set you on the right path for the day? A walk? Waking fifteen minutes earlier to drink a tea in solitude? Meditation?

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Seek happiness in the monotonous

 

Whilst the demands of daily life may fluctuate, there will always be consistencies and commitments. Work. Commute. Making lunch. Just as Brooke McAlary suggests we integrate small but satisfying elements into our daily rhythm, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits implores us to remember the joy in these repetitive actions.

He explains, ‘Focus on the joy of the ritual. This is something a lot of people overlook. They focus on getting the habit done, which makes it feel like a chore. Instead, I recommend trying to be present and really focus on how the act of doing the ritual feels, what about it brings you joy, how it’s a gift. This shifts the ritual completely.’

How you find focus on or evoke this joy is up to you. It could be investing in a loose leaf tea and hand crafted ceramics for your morning cup of tea. Wrapping in a linen robe after bathing before moisturising with a quality body cream. Or it may simply mean mindfulness and paying full attention to the task ahead, be it making lunch or drafting emails. How can these small (and often tiresome) jobs be undertaken with a different outlook?

 

So, how will you be returning to and embracing the commitments of everyday life? Do you have any tips you would like to share with us? Leave your thoughts in the comment feed below.  

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