On Ritual and a Single-Task Cup of Coffee

“A Flower with Many Layers” – Creativity Journey Drawing 9/40

Several days ago, I discussed my daily plan for the “creativity journey” I’d just embarked upon. One of the processes I mentioned was “a single-task” cup of coffee. By “single-task,” I mean that it’s about focusing on just one activity at a time – drinking a cup of coffee without adding distractions. Not playing a game or surfing the net or reading a book at the same time. Just drinking the coffee.

I left out some details, though. The truth is, my coffee is made in an espresso machine – more water than a true espresso, but still quite strong – and I add whole milk, usually foamed, and sometimes even cinnamon and or some whipped cream. The whipped cream is store bought in a can and I am pretty sure contains sugar and maybe some other (strange sounding) ingredients, too.

I didn’t want to mention that at first because I didn’t want anyone’s go-to thoughts to be centered on dietary choices. And, yeah, maybe some of you are thinking, “Wow, she’s not [insert dietary protocol here] so I don’t really trust whatever else she has to say,” or maybe that’s just me imagining something far from reality. Either way, I was afraid of being judged for my choices.

Leaving out those details made the process sound generic, though, and I don’t think it’s supposed to be. In her YouTube on the subject, Gabby Bernstein suggested setting up a daily ritual, and I think this is important, too.

As a child, I attended the Catholic church. Our church was quite ornate. Many complicated details, from the wooden pews to the beautifully painted (and gilded, if I remember correctly) ceiling to the patterned carpeting to the stained glass windows to the elaborate altar, were melded together for overall effect. For me, there was a lot of beauty to be found. Entering this space for weekly Mass was a ritual in itself – one of many in the Catholic faith.

Several years later, I moved to New York City. Although I was fortunate to be staying with a kind and generous person – a friend of a friend of a friend, I was in a lot of fear. I was in need of more permanent housing and a job and although I had some money, I knew it wouldn’t be enough for very long.

One day while walking and exploring, I happened upon a church somewhere in the East Village. Russian Orthodox, I think, so similar to but not Catholic. It was open and I went inside. I don’t remember the interior very well, except that it was also quite ornate, probably even more so than the church of my youth. I went to light some candles in prayer for some recently departed relatives. (The candles turned out to actually be those little battery operated tea lights – disappointing, yet understandable.)

Then I went and sat on a pew and prayed for myself. That things would work out, that I would be OK. I can’t remember for sure, but I think it must have comforted me, at least a little. (Spoiler alert: Things did work out. In retrospect, it’s pretty amazing how smoothly they played out after that.)

A daily ritual doesn’t have to include such grand settings, of course. Neither does it have to be centered around coffee. It’s about setting up a routine in the best sense of the word, one that is intertwined with beauty and/or pleasure and/or joy (or at least some level of contentment). It has an aspect of creating comfort. It’s also about starting the day in a way that says, “I’m here for another day on this earth and I really appreciate that.”

When I sat down to write this, I meant it to be a post about how judgment really works. Maybe I’ll use that idea for a future post, maybe not. For now I think I will allow it to be what it’s become – a reminder of the beauty found in ritual. To be honest, sorting out what to write has given me a fresh and improved perspective on my morning cup of coffee. And for that, I am grateful.

If you have a morning ritual you’d like to share, I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Wishing everyone a glorious day,


Published by lalalamonique

Artist and fabric designer living in the beautiful Adirondacks of NY State.

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