What we do, especially when we´re not thinking, defines us. Our daily rituals tell stories about who we are beneath the idea we make of ourselves. They may be illusive, invisible, dismissed as insignificant nervous twitches but they shape us in ways big events (whatever that means) will never do.
Mine are precious and I´m fully aware of them which is another way of saying “I know myself”. A bit.
- The first thing I do when I wake up is drinking a bottle of water I keep by my bedside while at home or travelling. I cannot fall asleep without that bottle at hand´s reach.
- The second thing is opening the windows – to let the air of the new day come in and the air of the old day come out – while breathing deeply.
- Then I light an incense stick and say Thank You.
4. I cannot write properly without lighting a candle, taking off my shoes and every ring, earring and necklace I may be wearing. Same thing applies to the classical cup of coffee – I need,at least, one to get me going. According to my phantasy, I also have a mint cigar on one of my hands but health stops me from making it happen. So glamorous and energizing, I know, but harmful.
5. I thank my teachers and guides, internally & in silence, before dancing. May that be in a private training/choreographing session, during a workshop or a show. Gratitude for the ones who taught me and the ones who keep guiding me is always present.
6. I go to the gym regularly – 3 times a week – and, if I cannot do it, I´ll go for a run. This is not only a professional requirement – dancers have to keep fit – but a way to clean my head, meditate, stop thinking about personal and professional issues. And yet a LOT happens while you´re not thinking. A lot of the writing is done when you´re not writing; a lot of the dancing is born when you´re still.
7. Every time I eat an extraordinary meal in a restaurant, I offer a personal compliment to the cook who prepared it. I invade the restaurant´s kitchen, under the embarassed gaze of whoever is accompanying me, and tell her/him how much I enjoyed their work. The same applies to other services. Whenever I feel someone did an awesome job, I feel the obligation to tell it so to the person in question.
8. I reserve time to read and I carry a book, or more, in my purse. You will always find books spread all over my place – in the bathroom, in the room, in the office, on the stairs, on the floor, perhaps hanging from the ceiling. Whenever I´m not working, interacting with people or doing the chores “real” life forces me to do, I´m reading.
Again, a professional requirement. I´m not a professional writer but I write blog posts, articles for magazines and books. That means I have to read, read, read. It´s a compulsion, an obligation and another way of escaping reality.
9. In order to keep my mental sanity, I go to the cinema one time per week. Or I try, at least. It´s not always possible, due to my schedule, but I do my best to get into that dark room, with a bag of popcorn in hands, with religious periodicity.
10. When I love someone, I say it out loud. Not to myself or to a mountain but to the person in question. That applies to friends, family and the man in my life.There´s nothing braver, or more important, than vulnerability. Saying what you feel, particularly when what you feel is beautiful, means no regrets. It´s worth it, baby!
11. I play with animals and children regularly. When arriving to a place – any place, any circumstance -, I´ll look for animals, then children. In this order. Adults, with a few exceptions, don´t captivate me. Naturally, you´ll find me on the floor rolling with a dog, or a group of kids, instead of exchanging empty talk with a bunch of boring adults.
12. I pamper myself with regular Venus Time: meditation time, long bubble baths – with salts, oils, candles and a good book on the side -, massages, dips into the ocean, a facial here and there. Taking care of my body is another way of taking care of my soul – another professional requirement which also happens to be a pleasure.
13. When I sit at a table to have a meal – and I always sit, I cannot eat standing or on the go – I take off my shoes. Don´t ask me why but the food doesn´t taste the same if I have my shoes on (weirdo alert!).
14. I thank every person who interacts with me. For obvious reasons – for doing good things and being decent humans -and for less than obvious reasons – for showing me goodness through evilness. In my world, everyone and everything is bound to be thanked for something. I´m often taken as stupid or plain crazy – “why is she thanking me after I screwed her?!” – but I don´t care. I´ll do anything in order to keep my soul intact.
P.S: How do I find time to keep these, and other unmentioned, rituals?
Well, I skip the bullshit, fake people and situations; I don´t waste time on superficial stuff; I focus on what matters.