Using Rituals To Slow Down In a Fast World [Haven Digest]

What are the characteristics of a ritual? How is it different from a habit or behaviour?

During this year’s Tranquility Theme Kota, we spent time reflecting on these questions.

Simple Forms of Ritual and Repetition

Research shows rituals can alleviate anxiety in specific situations and general day to day life. Some elite athletes and creative professionals talk about the rituals that prepare them for the task at hand.

In this sense, rituals provide a sense of predictability when outcomes are uncertain. Not only do these actions have a calming effect on us in the moment, they also help us connect to something bigger.

Rituals have been defined as a symbolic actions, typically formal and repetitive, with no direct practical purpose. It’s suggested there are three important elements to a ritual: fixed sequential behaviours, symbolic meaning, and lack of obvious usefulness.

The third characteristic might be the most rebellious in a world that demands ever-increasing productive purposes and outcome-driven efficiency. Yet, it’s a vital part of grounding ourselves in an uncertain and anxious world.

Rituals Are Expectant Without Expectation

We talked about simple rituals like an unpressured morning cup of tea. What makes that a ritual rather than simply a behaviour?

It’s in our approach. An intentional action that symbolises something to start the day and might be accompanied by staring out of the window or morning pages.

Repetition in Creativity and Productivity

If productivity is outcome oriented, repetition is about generating consistent results. This kind of repetition can become monotonous and dull. It’s often a quest for consistency and standardised quality.

Repetition in creativity however, is an invitation to go deeper. It takes us to new ways of seeing, experiencing, and playing with the world around us. Learning, engaging with, and growing creative repetition changes how we hold the world.

This is why it’s helpful not to muddy the waters between creativity (bringing something new to life – the organic) with productivity (creating content for established containers – the mechanical).

This is the difference between compulsion and ritual. When we are compelled to act in a certain way (the compulsion to produce/communicate), the timelessness of ritual is replaced by the linearity of “in order to”.

For creativity to breathe, it must be free from all “in order to” and “so that” and free to fail, explore, wonder, and wander. It must be allowed to be bored, to repeat, and to return again and again, to encourage the conditions for new vision and depth.

Do you have any rituals in your week/month/year that help you feel anchored?

Future Happenings

Join us on Monday for our next Live Café session.

Focused time can often feel hard to come by. The Live Cafe Hour is an opportunity to spend 80 minutes “alone together” alongside other members and focus on what matters most.

It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with those important (but non-urgent) activities. Or receive gentle accountability to focus on that thing you’ve been putting off.

Theme Kota | Sunday 1st October 2023 (6pm UK)

As social beings, humans are wired for belonging. But in a judgemental and critical world, it doesn’t always feel safe to be yourself, especially when you don’t seem to see or experience the world in quite the same way as other people.

We will bring our Haven hive mind to these questions:

  • What does belonging mean to you?
  • What tells you it’s safe to “be yourself”?
  • In what ways are you different around people you feel safe with?
  • What characteristics in other people help you feel safe and connected?

Whether you want to get actively involved in the conversation or quietly observe and absorb, you are so welcome to join us.

Catch Up

Theme Kota | In Repetition and Ritual (Tranquility)

What rituals keep you anchored and present in your life?

What are some challenges you encounter when it comes to practising a creative rhythm or ritual?