Winding down the day has become a very important part of my life. For those of you who share in my struggle to get to sleep, you may know too the value of finding a way to a more consistent and restorative pattern of sleep. My own evening ritual has come to be a way to let go and enter my sleep intentionally and peacefully.
How do I do that, you may wonder?
At the close of each day. I breathe deep and tell myself that the rest of my to-do list will wait until tomorrow. I take a few moments to think about tomorrow. I look at my list and arrange my priorities, leaving a bit of space for the unexpected of life’s flow to offer me creative encounters with the precious moments that make up our lives.
In my previous blog Morning Rituals to a Peaceful Relationship with ME, I shared how I create peaceful relationship with myself in my morning rituals. This time, I will share my evening rituals that nurture my inner peace and sustain me. In my Reiki Ryoho practice, I am invited to practice Reiki and prayers or meditation morning and night, along with the precepts. Some may wonder why this is necessary, but after years of practice, the depth and groundedness this practice brings has been transformational for me.
As part of this practice, I connect with Reiki through prayer and ask for the energies of the day that are complete and do not need to go with me into the next day to be released. I do a Reiki meditation or technique to clear my energy and let go of the thoughts that governed the day. Tomorrow will be a new day. It makes me feel clean and relaxed.
Whether I journal my gratitude or sit quietly and intentionally offer my gratitude through verbal prayers of thanksgiving, I am struck at the power of this practice to transform my day. Over the years, I have made it a commitment to start my journal time with gratitude. I do not waiver from that regardless how I may feel about my day. What I have learned is that when I focus on what I am truly grateful for, my mind shifts and my memory is that my day was really quite good after all.
When I work with clients or notice what they write in their gratitude part of their session journals, I can frequently tell whether their list of gratitude comes from their head or their heart. Listing what one is grateful for can become a mental exercise that loses its power and effectiveness to transform the heart and one’s life if it only is done as a ‘have to’, ‘should’ or a ‘trendy spiritual practice’ that doesn’t create any personal sense of peace or connection. Do not worry about how long or short it is. What I have come to realize for myself is whether I have honestly moved into the centre of my heart and felt the gratitude from the inside out.
I am amazed at what I am grateful for in each day when I give myself time andspace to be honestly grateful from my heart. I don’t just think about being grateful. I call into felt and full awareness that which I’m grateful for. Sometimes, what I find myself thankful for is a very difficult decision that has taken me outside my comfort zone and into a new experience. Sometimes, I’m grateful for what didn’t work out as much as I am for what did come into fruition.
This process of contemplating my day, clearing my fields and stretching out my body takes time. I myself need at least an hour to get ready to sleep. I have to unwind my body and my mind. I have to put my mind to bed and that means my mind must be willing to relax. What I do to support my mind to relax and be at peace makes all the difference to the quality of my sleep. If I haven’t given myself enough honest time to listen to the core of me, to the real concerns and needs of my heart and being during the day, it will speak to me in the middle of the night or as I seek to drift off, or perhaps even in my dream-time.
During the coming week, I invite you to consider your own evening ritual. How does your time with yourself in the evening create peace with yourself and others? What are the evening rituals that support the best sleep you can have so that you can show up to yourself, your life and your relationships the next day? How meaningful is your evening practice of gratitude to re-frame any day into a decent or even into a great day?
Take time to evaluate your evening rituals and honestly acknowledge what needs to change so you can create more peaceful relationships with yourself and others. Be truthful. The way you enter into your sleep matters. Find one practice, or habit that you are ready to change or tweak to improve the quality of your life, your joyfulness and of course, the peace in your relationships.
Namaste, Shirley Lynn