Define Your Rituals

Pangea founder Joshua Onysko believes in the power of ritual to change our lives. Rituals bring us joy, they allow us to build oxytocin in our lives. They take us closer to who we are meant to be in the world. And they can make the mess of life a lot calmer. Ritual is just more powerful than any resolution could ever be.

What is a ritual? Well, rituals can be anything that you create in your life to bring more health and happiness. Rituals are an invitation to wake up and be present in the moment. They are the way we inhabit our lives with intention. So, maybe you thank the plants and the hands who grew them before you take a bite of your dinner. Maybe you take the time to make gratitude lists every day. You could be engaging in ritual when you make your morning coffee or tea. Perhaps when you travel, you wear a certain scarf and it makes you feel calmer and warmer. Or when you wash your face you take the time to smell the products, to feel the warm water, and to notice that you are caring for yourself.

Joshua has a deep understanding of ritual, he says “it’s the way I function in the world to get things done.” Ritual to him is more than what we do, it’s finding out what we really want beneath the goals we set for ourselves. Then we can set up the actions that will get us there. So we may want to eat differently because we want to live in a world where nature is respected and animals are cared for. Or we may want more peace so we check our anger. Joshua says, “Anything that you are creating to have a more positive life is a ritual.” Anything that you are doing to create a more peaceful, joyous, world is a ritual.

Take skincare as an example. Yes, we can use our skincare routine to look better, and it works, but that only goes so far. We can also realize that what we want is a world where we are caring for ourselves, the environment, and each other, and that when we stop to wash our faces every night, we can do all three. Our ritual of using products that feed our skin, care for the world, and support farmers and producers who do good work is an important one, and one that changes us. It can make us listen to ourselves a little better, communicate more, and take care of what we can in our lives.

That kind of change lasts a lot longer than a resolution ever could. Resolutions fail for a lot of reasons, and by mid-February most of them have evaporated. But the power of ritual to support us in our lives does something different. Kasper ter Kuile, a ritual expert and author of the book The Power of Ritual says it this way: “Rituals are patterned, repeated ways in which we enact the moral emotions of compassion, gratitude, awe, bliss, empathy, and ecstasy.” If we want more of that in our lives, ritual may very well be the way to get there.

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