Making the Time: Embracing Daily Micro Rituals
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders”. - Lao Tzu
OMSA Founder Valerie Ho shares her mindful micro rituals that will help you find spaciousness in your day.
As a person who applauds productivity, I fight the urge to have moments in the day where I allow myself to be idle. Moments of pause in the day feel rare. If this resonates with you, you are not alone!
For most of you in your busy days, the idea of being able to make time seems luxurious. This article will go into some practices that have really helped me find spaciousness in my day, no matter how packed my schedule may be. For me, these small moments of consciously living in the present are the truest form of self-care.
How do we find the time?
In a modern environment that is always demanding our attention, the odds are stacked against us. Our notifications ping constantly, breaking news feels inescapable, and our social media feeds are persistently stealing away our attention. How can we give our mind the peace and quiet it needs?
Throughout the past year (and a half, but who’s counting), the pace of cadence has slowed for most, giving us more time to incorporate self-care into our daily lives. But as things reopen and we resume our pre-Covid social lives, can we hold on to this precious time? How can we continue with the mindful living and self-care that has served us through the ups and downs of the last year?
Taking time vs making time
Consider the difference between “taking time” and “making time”.
“Taking time”, such as scheduling in 30 minutes for self-care always seems an indulgence. For me, it’s hard to wake up early to journal or do an online yoga class if I’m not pushed. Even if I were to schedule deliberate time in the middle of the day for self-care, if I don’t feel inspired in the moment, I would skip the practice altogether.
“Making time” on the other hand feels less daunting. We can make time in small moments of the day doing everyday routine tasks. We can do this in the elevator, when washing our hands or waiting for the light to turn green before crossing the street.
Micro Rituals of Making Time
On elevator rides, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and connect back into your body. How do you feel in this moment? What is going on inside? You can even choose to tap into a short visualisation: imagine that you are expanding your light and aura, as you ascend each floor to your destination.
When washing your hands, focus on the task fully. Notice all of the various sensations: the fragrance of the soap, the water on your hands, the feeling of cleanness on your skin. I also like to imagine washing away any negative emotions, or any energy that I have picked up that isn’t my own. You can even try some deep breathing, as well as a few positive affirmations as you look up at your reflection in the mirror.
When you are at traffic lights waiting for the light to turn green, instead of reaching for your phone, try some grounding techniques. First feel your feet on the ground and imagine roots reaching down from your feet into the earth. Notice how that makes you feel anchored and supported. Next, look up to take in your surroundings. Find 5 things that you can see, hear, smell or feel. It might be the colour of the leaves on the trees, the sound of birds singing, or the smell of fresh rain on the pavements. Stay with this until the light goes green and you are ready to move on.
Remember, time is yours
In these moments of presence, I am reminded that time is elastic. Time is really what you make of it. When you turn off and go into autopilot, the whole day can pass by in a blink of an eye. When you pay close attention to what is present, in that moment, time expands in front of you - suspended and infinite.