When you think of ritual, what comes to your mind? Funerals? Weddings? Religious ceremonies? Yes, rituals are integral parts of religious services but the ritual isn’t always about religion. Ritual is so much more! I love this definition: “Rituals are actions that support the deepening of our spiritual and emotional connections. They bring extra brightness and fulfillment into our lives.” In addition to traditional rituals, everyone has the ability to create practices that they can personalize to the uniqueness of their own lifestyle and relationships. Some people pray together silently or aloud. Others sing, dance, or play instruments. Rituals can take many forms. For me, a ritual is about connection, sweetness, and vitality into my partnership with my horses.
Being with horses is ritualistic and every aspect of my time with them is part of my daily spiritual practice. My morning practices set the tone for my day. They are about setting my intentions for the day, getting grounded, and bringing peace and presence into my day, which rolls over into my everyday life. I start by making the horse’s morning mashes. It makes me feel good knowing that I am giving them the best quality alfalfa/timothy noxious weed-free hay cubes with 100% bioavailable vitamins, digestive support, and organic carrots—exactly how I choose to take care of myself. As I wait for their mashes to soak, I prepare my daily habit of chai tea. I love the smell of spices in my kitchen as the tea steeps. As I walk out my door, I hear the happy neighs of my horses and see their beautiful faces. Their ears are pricked forward greeting me with enthusiastic smiles. I smile back, breathe, and feel myself get centered and grounded for the day.
My everyday practices with my horses connect me to my soul by quieting my mind. Horses bring me into the present moment and ultimately connect me to the Divine. Horses are my inner voice of love—self-love, compassion, and empathy all come from this place. When I drift from this place of being present, that is when my ego takes over and usually ruins my day by allowing fear to kick in. My daily practices and rituals not only connect me to nature but also connects me to my inner nature.
I believe when I am with my horses it is from a place of reverence. This place of reverence increases my capacity for connection and alignment with my soul. When I am aligned with my soul, I am happier, healthier, and I live more on purpose. The more I can step away from my outer life to create my ‘soul space,’ the more I feel and hear my intuition. Isn’t that what we are all craving? To feel peaceful, fully alive, and connected?
Through the practice of ritual, I am grounded and able to create balance in my life. When I don’t take the time for my daily rituals, I feel more anxious and I am less productive during the day. The time I take for my practices yields far greater results than the time I waste from not being grounded. Ritual has the ability to elevate my everyday manure cleaning into contemplative practice.
My friend from Wild Souls Yoga explained it best, “Humans naturally seek connection. Humans are actually wired for connection – to each other, to nature, to ourselves, and to a Higher Power. The Inside, the down deep, the wise inner voice—this is where our soul lives—our human point of contact with the Divine, and ultimately with all of Life. This ‘deep down’ place is not a physical place, but rather a place of awareness, openness, and interconnectedness. When we lack this connection, we live life from an ungrounded, unbalanced state, which gives rise to all the modern ailments which afflict us.”
All aspects of ritual are essential to fulfilling relationships with our horses and the people in our lives. Contentment and peace are a result of ritual. Take the time to notice your everyday activities and start being more aware and intentional as you do them. This will strengthen your appreciation, relationships, and everyday moments that we take for granted. Stop going through the motions of life stagnant and asleep. Wake up! Integrate a daily morning practice or ritual and watch your life become more fulfilling and your afflictions will quietly start to disappear.
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