Finding your ritual
When I talk about skincare ritual, I don’t mean having cabinets and drawers full of products, spending hours laboring over your appearance, or buying into all of the false promises of the many industries looking to profit off of you (usually by making you feel insecure, small, anxious, inferior, etc.).
For me, rituals are about bringing meaning and attention to everyday mundane moments. They're about connecting body, mind and soul –and connecting my life to a much grander whole.
Rituals are about honoring each season and transition, each beginning and ending. Feeling apart of myself again, rather than always feeling lost and confused about what I need and have to offer. And of course, feeling apart of the natural world, with all of its beauty and intelligence.
The right rituals are NOT about control and rigidity. They shouldn't lead to anxiety or be motions you slog through without joy. They aren’t even about looking good. You can look good and still feel like shit. So what's the point? On the contrary, when you feel amazing, you'll look amazing too.
Most of us, when we feel that we're missing something, turn to the media or marketplace, looking for the next product or service or pill to make us feel better or look better, to tell us what to think and do. When what we're really missing is already right here, within us.
As I practice my own rituals, all of the insecurities I accumulate from media and marketing begin to fall away, allowing me to find a truer self, someone I actually like.
You'll know you're on the right track to finding your rituals when you're calmer and brighter. You'll almost feel your brain waking up and honing in. Those tired, dull places within will start to speak again, to shine. Joy will come in everyday simple moments. And eventually, you'll be able to embrace who you really are and give yourself the support and nourishment you need.
I’m the least likely person to be writing this. Until recently, I washed my face, body and hair with the same bar of soap. I prided myself on using very few products and investing no time in my own wellness. Not only did I give myself very little, but I asked for a lot. I'm the kind of person who can push myself quite far, which is okay every now and then, but day after day, year after year?
Maybe it’s my age (nearing 40) or the inevitable outcome of neglecting my skin, but I began to look so tired and dull, and sad. I starting buying more make-up to look alive at all. My skin was dry, from my scalp down to my feet, and my hands looked like I was almost 60 rather than 40. I responded by throwing random creams and products at my skin, and when they didn’t help much, I thought that only confirmed their uselessness.
Turns out, I had it all wrong. I didn’t really know anything about my skin, the largest organ of my body. I didn’t know about it’s ideal pH level, or about the acid mantle, and I especially didn’t understand the oil production cycles I was disrupting by constantly stripping my skin with soaps.
I didn't understand the value of slowing down, of going soft.
Having no skincare ritual may work fine for people who are young, never wear make-up, live in the wild far from environmental pollution, never feel stressed, never get too much sun, never eat processed food, haven't created little humans who are dependent on them for everything, etc. – which isn't me.
Less can be more, until less just becomes less. Life is about balance. The entire universe we live in is about balance. Our skin and bodies are no different.
When I began to feed my skin nourishing ingredients that actually supported it, everything began to shift. Not only on the surface, but also in my mind and eventually deeper in my soul. I found softness – and slowness. I found my natural self hiding under layers of neglect and rejection, and instead of trying to mold this natural self into something that fit someone else’s standards, I embraced her. My mind cleared. My skin cleared. My soul could finally breathe.
These things are increasingly difficult to find in today’s fast-paced, image-driven, anxiety-crazed world. Which brings us back to the importance of ritual. It’s not something we talk about much nowadays. For many, it brings to mind outdated social or religious ceremonies. But rituals are more than that. In my family, we have a Saturday breakfast ritual involving freshly baked sourdough bread, boiled eggs, lots of fruit and yogurt, coffee and a very slow pace (the latter two for the adults only). My best friend's morning ritual involves swimming in freezing cold waters at the break of dawn. In Sweden, we have the ritual of ‘fika’, or mid-afternoon social coffee break. Many offices prioritize Friday fika or Monday morning breakfast together as a team. And every midsummer eve, we wear crowns of leaves or flowers on our head and dance around a maypole.
These rituals may seem simple, but they have the profound ability to bring connection, stability, anticipation and happiness.
Rituals take many shapes and forms. Science now recognizes them as rational behavior, due to how effective they are. They help define our life experience and even our identity, both individually and collectively. They attune us to what matters. They help us deal with the ups and downs of life by providing some anchors and greatly improving our quality of life. And best of all, self-awareness leads to a greater awareness of others. When we are operating from a place of attention and connection, it extends to those beyond us.
Here at Wyld, we handcraft and wildcraft products to be multi-taskers and life-bringers. They are filled with the pure properties of nature that can heal you – body, mind and soul. We believe in the wondrous capacity of mother Nature to take care of us. The more we learn and apply her wisdom, the more grateful and conscious we become in taking care of her too. To the point where there's no difference at all - taking care of Nature is taking care of ourselves. Her health is our health.
Our rituals may change – and they probably need to from time to time – but it's exciting to discover and develop them, as they help us recognize who we are right now and who we can be.
So let's find yours.