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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.