We explored the notion of purpose from various viewpoints in the first ten blog posts in this series. We then started making sense of our purpose in the next seven blog posts. I invite you to now reflect on the sixth aspect in the model of purposeful living– Rituals; the red colour circle in the model. While this is the sixth circle, in real life it can happen anywhere in the nine steps, it’s not necessarily chronological.
This blog-post deals with rituals for our purpose that we have now started to glimpse, based on the processes suggested in the last few blog posts. Rituals helps us to internalise the purpose, remind ourselves that we are in this world for a bigger reason, helps us decide to take some baby steps during the day towards living a purposeful life, energizes us, makes us feel more valuable, helps us to make decisions, solve problems etc.
While different people follow different rituals, let me first share the rituals I use and then I will provide different methods used by others too. These are shared so that you could reflect on what may be most suited for you.
Once the first cut of our purpose is written as per the process suggested in the 14thblog post in this series, a simple first step for me was to read it and reflect on it every morning. This energizes me as it reminds me that I am in this world for a bigger purpose. Thereafter I reflect on baby steps I would take, in at least three different fronts related to my purpose. This includes activities such as exercises to energize my body, mediation to still my mind, a conversation to build a relationship, read something to get a deeper understanding of life, make a financial decision to strengthen my financial independence etc. Thereafter I close my eyes and make a mental depiction of myself successfully taking these baby steps. During the day, I do my best to take these baby steps as planned. I also have a wind-down ritual just before going to sleep. I reflect on the baby steps taken during the day, celebrate successes and give myself some feedback for areas I could have done better. I also give myself a score for the quality of the day using the following criterion;
- One point for reflecting on the purpose in the morning
- One point for making a mental depiction of baby steps I decide to take
- One point for completing any baby steps left behind from the previous day
- Three points for a minimum of three new baby steps for the day
- Two points for looking after the body through exercise, nutrition and rest
- One point for learning something new in relation to my purpose
- One point for teaching others something useful to them
- One point for reflecting on the quality of day before going to sleep.
While the above criterion gives a quantitative indication, I also reflect on the quality of the day from a more subjective, gut feel basis as numbers alone does not provide an accurate indication of the quality of something so embodied, emotional and important. I have been following this ritual for over twenty years now and I feel it has helped me improve my quality of life and the sense of purposefulness.
Others follow rituals that includes reflecting on their purpose during prayer, audio recording the purpose statement and listening to it at specific times, visual journaling purposeful plans for the day, visual journaling at the end of the day as a form of reflection, reciting poems or singing songs composed based on their purpose, creating a shrine to represent the purpose and lighting a candle/oil lamp at specific times, watering a plant that represents their purpose etc.
Since each living being is unique, and our purposes are unique, it is important to find rituals which are unique, relevant and meaningful to us to remind us, energize us and make us act with the intention of being purposeful.
I recommend you attempt to create your own purpose ritual and follow it with an inquiring mind so that you can keep fine-tuning it to make it more and more in sync with what works best for you.
In case you have not established your purpose statement, I suggest you visit the previous blog post try out the processes suggested. Keep building yourself and be fit for purpose so that you can say ‘yes’ to opportunities presented to you. What is important is to be in the process, and be relatively unconcerned about the outcome, which is part of a larger plan that we may not be privy to.
In the next blog post, we will explore the dark green colour circle, ‘responding’, related to concerns regarding responding to opportunities that come our way to ensure we are in sync with our evolving ‘purpose’.
Meanwhile I wish you purposeful living!