Infusing magic with a daily ritual.

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Implementing your own ritual, to my mind, involves careful thought and deliberation.

Listen to me read the below here:

 

I wake in the very early hours, anywhere between 2:30AM and 4AM. The sky is black as pitch. The house is silent but for the sounds of my pack breathing.

What differentiates habit or routine for me from the notion of a ritual is the deliberation and mindfulness of the latter. A ritual is infused by the intention behind every motion of the ritual. This morning ritual represents for me my own coming into being; it is when I am the least ill and the most myself.

books on a bed

I wash up. I prepare a cup of coffee and a glass of water. I slip on satin ballet slippers and pad into my studio, which also has a bed—the bed does double duty for guests and for myself when I’m too tired to sit upright.

For the mornings I have in bed three key items: my planner; my journal, currently a Midori Traveler’s Notebook; and a Moleskine sketchbook for client work and my #drawtheday practice. While I drink my coffee, I review the day and sketch out plans for what needs to be done. I journal. If I’m too foggy-headed to do either, I meditate upon the lunar phase we’re in, which is inspired by my participation in Ezzie Spencer’s Lunar Abundance practice. Hummingbirds may visit in the darkness; mourning doves may coo.

smudging with sage

When I’m properly awake I’ll make the morning more official by smudging the space with a bit of white sage and speaking a few blessings aloud. I pull an oracle or Tarot card, or two or three, depending on how I’m feeling. The card pictured is from Inner Hue’s Connected and Free: The Alchemist’s Oracle, though I also enjoy The Wild Unknown and a deck made by The Little Sage. The card sets the stage for how I might think about the day. Journaling helps to clear those cobwebs.

loudspeaker-card

I take my morning medications, which are partially housed in this yellow case. At the moment I take upwards of twenty medications, which can feel bleak; but to consider it a part of the ritual infuses them with what they are: objects meant to help me heal.

medication pill case

Recently I’ve been doing client-commissioned illustrations, as well as a daily painting/drawing that I share on Instagram called #drawtheday. I do that in the stillness, as well; a few of those paintings and drawings are available as prints in the Print Shop.

sketchbook with watercolor of feather

Depending on the day I’ll have a variety of tasks. The mornings–the magic hours–I reserve for the most sacred of those tasks. Often, that will involve writing. I’m currently working on a collection of essays about schizophrenia.

Implementing your own ritual, to my mind, involves careful thought and deliberation. You might ask yourself the following questions:

  • What sensations and stimuli please my senses?
  • What order of activity feels best in my body?
  • What time of day is most sacred to me?
  • What is the purpose of my ritual? What does it represent?
  • What significant objects might I include?
  • What significant actions might I involve?

green-filo

Because I do so much creative work in the mornings, it’s essential to me that I have ways of lighting up that work. These days, I’m preparing to launch (on Thursday, February 26) a small-but-powerful program called Where’s the Electricity?; the content is based on a self-developed methodology I’ve used for over five years in order to not only get myself out of creative ruts, but to begin new work as well. It’s not a plug-and-play system, because I don’t believe that creativity and artistry work that way. Instead, the workbook and audio allow you to discover, and then feed off of, your own obsessions and themes, leading you to the wellspring from which you can create your best work.

where's the electricity styled

Find out more about Where’s the Electricity? here.

Here, then, is my morning ritual. May you find your own rituals with which to bring powerful elegance to your days.

Should you have found me through the Rituals series, I’m Esmé Weijun Wang. I’m a writer, artist, and advocate for mental health issues as well as  for those building a creative legacy. Find my newest project, Where’s the Electricity?, here, as well as snapshots and scans of my art and photography on Instagram. Rawness of Remembering, to be released this spring, is a multimedia program about resilience-building via journaling through difficult times.

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  • Loved this glimpse into your morning rituals as well as your thoughts on ritual vs rhythm/routine—thank you for sharing!

    Unrelated, I was a loyal Moleskine user for years for my journal keeping and received a Midori in October. Very much in love with it. Is that red Filofax I spy under your pill container? Love it, the color and the message too!

    • I’d always seen Midoris floating around, but for some reason never really took to the idea of one until recently–now I’m in love! (So happy to hear that you use one for journaling.) For my own journal-keeping, Moleskines never caught my fancy much due to the paper quality; there was something about the combination of thinness and lack of texture that bothered me, although I suppose I could have used sketchbook Moleskines instead. And yes, that is a Filofax! For all of my online notions, I am highly, highly devoted to paper goods. Do you use a Filofax? & what for, if so?

      • I have a Filofax, received one as a gift, but am unsure how to put it to use! I use Mon Journal for a planner so I’m unsure what to do with the Filofax and yet I feel guilty for not using it! Dilemmas, dilemmas…

        Also, you are spot on re: Moleskine paper. Finding the Midori refills to be of a much better quality—I’ve even unearthed my fountain pen to use again!

        • Did you learn about Mon Journal from me? I seem to be spreading the Mon Journal love around the Internet… 😉 I used to try and use the Filofax as a planner, but they’re so cumbersome that I now use them as a handbook/bible of sort: one for my business and one for the rest of my life. I print out a lot of documents and resources for the Filofaxes.

          • Maybe? I purchased it almost a year ago but didn’t use it as I was bullet journaling (this was getting increasingly difficult as my plate filled and it didn’t allow for longterm planning). I started using it with the Midori and almost 7 months in, it’s a good fit 🙂

  • Love this so much Esme: “At the moment I take upwards of twenty medications, which can feel bleak; but to consider it a part of the ritual infuses them with what they are: objects meant to help me heal.”

    I’m also living with a chronic illness and constantly forget to take my one pill. This is a great way to infuse meaning into it. Girl you totally get it, why this is important, why ritual is not just a new age word for habit. ❤!

    • Hey lady–I’m so happy to have been invited to be a part of this. & the way of thinking about medications is a very new one for me. I hadn’t even thought of it as a ritual until I was putting this together for your event. So much has shifted since Redfox, eh? ♡

  • I start my day in a similar way. I keep my iPhone near my bedside with a journal and a cup of tea. Then, I move to my desk where my filofax and my computer await.

  • Thank you for this beautiful post, Esmé. I’m planning to transcribe the second paragraph into my journal, although the bit about this being the time when I am the least ill is not true in my case. It’s lovely to think of you beginning each day in such a sacred way. I especially love the line “Hummingbirds may visit in the darkness”. Among my most treasured memories are the glimpses I caught of these exquisite creatures on my one and only journey outside Australia. We have many amazing birds and animals here, but not hummingbirds. After reading this post, I’m going to imagine them visiting me in the darkness. Just because I can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there, right?

    • Oh! Sniff. I love those last few lines. Thank you for sharing this with me. & I love the thought of part of it living in your journal. I’ll think of you the next time a hummingbird comes to call. ♡ x E

  • I recently found your wonderful site through Little Red Tarot and am already such a fan!
    Do you ever write about your favorite art supplies? If I haven’t just missed that post somewhere, would you mind sharing? I’m also a photographer & watercolor painter. I’ve been perplexed about ink choices and pens though.

    • I use very basic art supplies! I draw with a mechanical pencil and paint with one of those little plastic boxes of watercolors with little rectangular blocks of color inside. The fanciest thing I use, which IS fancy indeed, is Arches watercolor paper. I’m glad you like the site; come back; thank you for visiting! x