I focus on staying present. I am doing yoga.
“I am here,” I say. “I am here in this body, in this moment.”
“I am me,” I say. “I am me in this body.”
“I am this body,” I say. “I live here on earth in this body.”
“I am here,” I say. “I am me.”
As I move and breathe, I bring my attention back again and again to the moment, to being present in my body. I thank myself for giving myself this healing time and I thank the universe for providing the paths I took to get to this moment of this day. I take each moment as sacred, as ritual.
I take a moment to write down my thoughts of awareness of being, of being in my body, of being in the moment of doing yoga somewhere in the world, a small speck of awareness in the universe, one small speck of knowing that I am alive, intent on being fully present in my body.
Sometimes I am pretty aware of being present in my body, but most often I am not. Most often I am somewhere else, my body along for the ride. But in this moment, I am aware that my body is my natural environment, my beingness resides in it and depends on it, needs it, trusts it. I am in the moment, present and enjoying the rituals of doing yoga, of breathing, and of being consciously aware.
After I do yoga, I carry the wood from the woodpile. I build a fire and light it, another ritual. I am aware that this is a ritual performed by millions of others. Since fire became a part of human life this ritual has been important. As I carry out the steps of making my fire, I am aware that I am partaking in an ancient practice of firemaking for the same reasons that eons of people have made fires. I do not cook over my fire, but I seek warmth. I am part of an ancient ritual today as I make my fire. I honor the ritual and I honor myself in the process of partaking in this ritual. I honor all who have done this before me.
I take time to notice that I am present. I am me. I am in my body, present in this moment doing this ritual. In the next moment the fire is burning well. I can turn to other things now, back to my writing, back to preparing for other rituals that come throughout the day, if I care to see them as such.
I remind myself to slow down and take the time to feel myself in my body often throughout the day, present in the moment and in my awareness of being, as often as possible. I remind myself to remain aware that my daily activities and chores are part of my ritual life too.
I remind myself to invent new rituals as I go along, making life sacred, simply because it is and it deserves to be lived in sacred fashion. I deserve it, the earth deserves it, all creatures—man included—deserve the honor of sacred ritual. If we all slowed down and made our personal lives sacred rituals, if we all invented our own personal rituals—honoring and thanking ourselves, our bodies, others in our lives, the universe—perhaps we’d end up with enough pauses full of calmness and peace to temper the otherwise busy and fast-paced world we live in.
When we slow down enough we realize we don’t really need that fast-paced world. We discover we don’t really want to live like that. When we slow down we discover that we, by our very animal nature, are more connected to the earth and the sacred ritual of a simple life than we realized. When we slow down we walk and breathe the pulse of the earth and it calms us and nurtures us beyond anything else we might have available.
We desire our vacations by the ocean, a lake, in the calmness of the mountains or meadows because we are animals who crave nature’s slow pace and the beat of our heart knows this. By establishing our personal rituals we automatically slow to the beat of our heart, and automatically our perception of our personal place in the world shifts too. We actually become one with nature, connected and aware of being in the moment, in our bodies, in the right place: in total beingness.
No matter what is going on around us or inside us, when we slow everything down and take a sacred moment we are at peace. Even if only for a moment, it is enough.
Tomorrow I will build a different fire, but the ritual, the process, will have the same ancient energy in it. Whether I focus on the ritual of it or not, whether I am as aware as I am today, I will still be tapping into the energy of ancient ritual. I know this energy of infinity, as ancient as the tapping of my own heartbeat. It is as ancient as the tapping of your own heartbeat, one pulse, beating for eternity. The ritual is already present. We just have to make ourselves available to it and tap into it.
As humans we have so much available to us. Our creative energy begs us to pause and pay attention to its insistence that we are not so modern as we might believe. We are ancient energy and we know instinctively how to connect with it and what to do with it.
Find sacred ritual in life, in nature, in self. Be in the moment. Be present in the body self. Breathe with awareness. That too is ritual. Be thankful to the self and the universe and then pause and listen to its reply. In the calm beat of your own heart you will hear its resonant beat.
Present in the moment, in calmness, in beingness,