Reboot Ritual

5 May 2019

"Back to Life; Back to Reality!" so sings 'Soul II Soul'. We all need little conscious rituals that bring us back to the moment – usually back to external consciousness as a release from the busyness of the mind. It's about mindfulness.

I wonder what the best 'Reboot Ritual' would be for you? It would need to be something you can do easily, and have ready access to, like making a cuppa.

For me, it's washing my hands. My dad, me - myself, and one of my sons have all experienced a germ phobia at various times in our lives. Fascinating to think that it may be hereditary. Washing one's hands is pretty essential in such circumstances! It's also very 'conscious'! I wondered, "Could we turn this vulnerability habit into a strength?"

As an aside, I thought you could share a moment of mirth with me. When I was very young (8), the phobia was so strong that when we were on holiday, I wouldn't even go in the Sea without my sandals on; I wouldn't eat a sweet unless it was wrapped – so I could unwrap it without touching it. When it came time to leave the Guest house, I was nowhere to be found. When I finally appeared, Mum and Dad asked me where I had been.

"I have been washing my hands," I said.

"Where?" they said.

"In the Gentlemen's," I answered.

"Where in the Gentlemen's?"

"In the little basins, on the wall," I innocently replied.

It wasn't until I was over 40 that they saw fit to tell me I'd been washing the germs off in the urinals throughout the duration of our two-week holiday!

Bottom line: I survived!

From Pontius Pilate to Lady Jane Grey, and even to Lady Macbeth, the concept of washing one's hands is one of washing away the past (especially guilt) to move on to the future. It is a rite of passage. Whilst my three examples are sad, the act can, in fact, be very positive.

For me, then, it is an opportunity to come back to a present external sensory awareness where I consciously close the chapter that has gone before and open myself afresh to what is to come. It is a physical ritual pressing of the pause button where I notice the temperature of the water, the movement of the water and the invigorating sensation of this as it flows over my skin, the scent and texture of the soap, the colours of the bubbles and retraction of the light on the water, the enthusiastic cadence of the cascade as it rushes out of the faucet, and the delicious sounds of the waste water giggling and gurgling down the plughole.

With this act, I give myself permission to, "Be Here Now!" and to let go of what has been before as I welcome the future. It reboots my overloaded mind, will, and emotions – and lets me start again.

What is, or will be, your own mindfulness reboot ritual?


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