The Ready Room: Ready Rituals

I left my house recently to go to the gym.  In the car, backing out of the driveway, I realized I had left my cell phone inside.  I stopped, went back and got my cell phone.  I’ve done that at work before, too.  Two miles down the road on my way home, I realize that I’ve left my cell phone on my desk at work.  I turn around and go back for it.

When I leave in the morning, being ready for the day includes not only feeling fairly well, having eaten breakfast, bathed, dressed and brushed my teeth, but I must also have had some quiet time for myself, packed my lunch, and have in hand my lunch box, my satchel, my keys, a bottle of water and a thermos of coffee.

Could I enter into my day without any one or more of these items?  Yes, I could, but these are tangible things that I do, gather, collect and prepare in order to get myself ready for a day working with teenagers.   The contents of my preparation are not so important as that I have a ritual of preparation that I go through each day.  That ritual helps me, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually feel ready–or ready enough–to strike out in the dark for a day of work, of creativity, of problem solving, of listening, of teaching, of tending, and of reflecting on it all.

When I look at my own ritual of preparation, I see these things:  time, nourishment of body, nourishment of mind, nourishment of spirit, gathering of tools, checking the tools, and leave taking.  The content of those things can and have changed over the years, but they help me enter into what I do each day.  Interestingly, on a Saturday or Sunday when I don’t have to enter into a day’s worth of work, my ritual is less distinct and sometimes almost non-existent.  My ritual of preparation really is important to helping me go forth into my day with meaning and is commensurate to the level of work I engage.

What are your rituals of preparation?  Perhaps you can answer that right away, and perhaps you think you don’t have any at all.  Ponder how you prepare yourself for the day, and own your ritual of readiness.

Bob Patrick

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