Frugal Abundance: Daily Rituals add Luxury to Life for Free

Sunday Morning

What is a Ritual and Why is it Important?

A personal ritual is anything that you do just for yourself that makes you slow down or stop completely and come back to your centered self. It can be done alone, as a couple, as a parent and child, as a family, or as a community. It can be daily, weekly, or seasonal. It is generally free or very inexpensive. That is why it is frugal. Money may not be distributed equally, but time is. Taking your first cup of coffee outside in good weather to drink slowly in the backyard while you watch the birds is a ritual.  Baking bread, getting your nails done or doing them yourself, walking to the park with your toddler, or having a drink with your pals every Friday at the same time can all be rituals if you do these things mindfully and allow the break in the frantic pace of life, with all the attendant obligations.

Rituals Should be Enjoyable

Whatever rituals you have incorporated into your life, they should be things that you truly love. Your rituals may even look like work to other people that do not have the same temperament as you do. One person may relish a five mile run, another a slow “getting ready” with time to do hair and make-up. A third person may rock out with loud music. The only two questions are “do you love it?” and “does doing it break the time sickness and bring you back to you?”

Rituals can Create Connection

The couple who takes breakfast together each day, or the family that has a traditional Sunday dinner are on to something really important. When we rush through our days without breathing we lose each other. Stopping and taking the time to do something together on a regular basis that involves giving each other our time and attention is really one of the only ways to enjoy true intimacy. The form of the ritual is completely up to you and your companions. The fact that it happens and happens regularly is what counts.

If You are Forcibly Frugal, Rituals can Help You Reclaim Your Life

In this economic climate, there are many people who feel displaced. Losing a comfortable economic place in the world can be very disorienting. But, one thing you still have and still control is time and your relationship to time. Being poor is hard work, and by definition keeps you from the type of comfort that money can buy. But—you still have twenty-four hours to fill. You still eat something every day, and likely have coffee in the morning, even if it is now made at home. If you can slow down enough to change your mind set you will notice that the sun is shining on the tree outside your window just so, and that you are still truly alive. You are still you. As long as you are alive your circumstances may change. In the meantime, what small thing can you do each day that will make you smile?

When I went through my own crash in late 2007 and early 2008 I though the world was ending. But, each day, no matter how bad it had been, I would pour a glass of (cheap) red wine and stop doing anything else. Sometimes we would sit outside and listen to the boom box. Other times it was a fire in the woodstove and curling up in my chair. It could just as well have been tea instead of wine. The important thing was the turning off of the day in favor of complete relaxation. The total cost of this exercise was near zero. You could do the same thing and if you do you will soon feel the results in the form of greater happiness and less stress. This is your life, no matter what.


4 Responses

  1. My personal ritual? Going out on the deck as the sun is rising over the mountains. Doing a sun salutation. Stretching every muscle. Saying a prayer of thanks to Mother Nature. Then, sitting on my deck and drinking my coffee. Nirvana!

  2. I need to obtain a personal ritual. I just realized that I don’t have one. I can tell you that it will involve the outdoors.

  3. Beautiful post! 🙂 I think taking time to enjoy the moment and relax is crucial. Basically, stop and smell the flowers once in a while!

    And you are so right, a lot of these things can be done for free!! My husband and I have a ritual of enjoying a glass of home-made wine on our patio, after dinner in the summer time. 🙂

  4. For those of us that need to find that “place” for whatever reason THANK YOU for speaking the words. I recently started blogging as therapy and ironically the latest post is about that time in the garden. I would love for you to read it. This made my day to hear someone else confirm. Kathy

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