So, we all have particular activities that we just have to do in order to be presentable in society. We may have placed expectations on ourselves or have others place them on us, but, face it. There are issues of hygiene that just need to be tended to.
And some of these activities can become ritual and thoughtless. Take shaving, for example. What does it take to shave?
Some sort of implement, perhaps a foil or rotor electric shaver, or something altogether disposable like a blade razor or cartridge system. Those things average about $3.00 a cartridge and they actually damage facial and neck skin.
I’ve decided to take a proactive role in my shaving regimen. No longer simply hacking up my neckline, I’ve taken to using a weighted double edge safety razor (the kind your dad probably used when he was younger – before Gillette and Schick decided to see who could put a man on the moon, I mean put 10 blades on a cartridge), shave brush and gel.
Part of my reason is financial. With as infrequently as I shave (2-3 times a week), I don’t need a $3.00 cartridge that will last me 2 weeks. I can get 1-2 weeks out of a dime razor blade. And I am. Sure, the overhead cost was the brush and Parker 22R Razor I’m using. But convenience has a cost.
So, I’m spending 10 cents every week or 2 (and I have 100 blades) why? Because I’m no longer rushing through this activity. I’m taking my time (went from 5 minutes to about 20) and doing it with intentionality. Why?
It’s a spiritual exercise. I have been challenging about 30 clients each week (Spirituality and Life Skills groups on Fridays) to take some time for themselves and think about themselves and their lifes’ trajectories. And to process where they are psychologically in the moment. Many say that they do not have time to enjoy solitude, so I challenge them to be creative in seeking the opportunities. My new time is that 20 minutes or so while shaving.
Solitude is key. Music (without lyrics) may be an option. I listen to some classical music while engaging my heart and soul in this practice. I may reflect on my day at work on where I was able to bring hope or life to someone in my path. Or I may reflect where I missed an opportunity to speak the truth that someone needed to hear.
Regardless, in our hyperconnected world, there is barely time enough for the essentials, let alone for some good, old-fashioned, introspection.
If you had the opportunity to “get away” in your own house, mentally, while engaging in a ritual behavior like shaving, showering, brushing your teeth (or hair), where would you start? Remember, the brain really cannot engage in this type of activity if not a minimum of at least 20 minutes.
Once you find a 20-30 minute activity, where do you think your brain will go? Can you avoid thinking about your “to-do” list or “someone’s-gotta-get-the-kids-to-whatever-activity-is-next”? How will you maintain this practice on a regular basis?