At our house, we have a ritual that we practice almost every morning.
It started with a pack of ‘Inner Beauty’ cards, that a friend gave me many years ago. They are kept in a small wooden box. I used to select one or more every now and then, or use them with groups or friends, but then my partner and I began to create a ritual with them. We chose three.
Three inner qualities. Every day.
One of us fans out the cards and the other selects the first card and then after the ‘card holder’ selects the middle card, chooses a third. The next day we swap roles.
Then we contemplate the cards and develop our own definitions for each and a sense of the overall meaning. Whichever of us chose two cards begins the conversation, then the other contributes another perspective.
The words dance and play together, and our definitions reflect what we are picking up from our own lives and the world. One quality will keep re-appearing with surprising regularity so it seems that we need to focus on ‘self-respect’, ‘generosity’ or ‘objectivity’ for a while.
Our definitions range from the precise to the poetic. Today, I’d seen a quote from Parker J Palmer on a tweet from the Center for Courage and Renewal, reminding me of the first of his five practices for healing the heart of democracy: ‘that we are all in this together’, so those words resonated when openness appeared as the first card.
I liked my partner’s characterisation of humour as ‘lightly connecting a number of things in a surprising or unlikely way that humanises, ignites and defuses’ and gratitude as ‘thankfulness for life and our particular blessings whether they’re delightful or difficult.’ He connected it with a quote from Marcus Aurelius we had read a couple of days ago: ‘The soul can preserve its own clear sky and calm voyage by not assessing pain as an evil’.
This ritual has become a way of welcoming and cultivating serendipity, resilience, and an appreciation of the vast range of positive qualities we can cultivate even in the most challenging of times.
As you can see from the images, I’ve doctored the cards a little (this version was published by Brahma Kumaris). While I didn’t feel obedience or discipline, for example, were qualities I wanted to focus on, I created openness and discernment. I had to spell humour in the Australian/British way. And so on. There are lots of similar packs and you could of course, make your own.
Maybe you’ve got a daily practice to welcome serendipity too…