I sit with nothing but silence around me. Cross-legged on the floor, I close my eyes and try to focus on the furthest sound I can hear. Nothing. There’s just the machine hum of the air conditioner above me. The thoughts in my mind feel more like a conversation, what feels like hundreds of different topics, ideas, to-do lists…God there is so much to do. Let’s try this again.
The silence envelopes me for some minutes before I open my eyes again. I see my reflection in the mirror opposite me and there, like every morning for as long as I can remember, I start my morning rituals. It’s nothing special – cleanse, moisturise, massage, spray etc. I’m not one to care about lavish self-care, but routine is something that balances me.
When we use the word ritual, it’s usually associated with religious actions, but it can also be any set of fixed actions done regularly right? For me there is a series of things that I do every morning that ensures I start of my day off ‘my way’ and likewise somethings I do before I go to bed. It’s the power that comes with creating your own safe space where you can have those moments to just breathe and be present.
I’ve realised that even though I’ve moved to a very small town in Somalia and it’s forced me to live as basic as possible, my rituals are the same. I gotta admit I think that’s the one thing that’s keeping me afloat mentally. I have a sense of home in the little things I do for myself, so although I’m naturally introverted and for the first time I’m feeling what loneliness is, I still have the solace that I find in my little comforts.
It’s the smell of tea masala as I make a cuppa. Wiping a micellar-drenched cotton pad over my face. The sound of my families voices over the phone. Re-reading books because the characters are familiar. It’s the incense you light just because it reminds you of a particular day or writing stories and poetry that only you will read. It’s your favourite blanket, and your summertime fragrance. My grandmother’s necklace or just playing that one Yellowcard song because it reminds you of that one person.
I’m beginning to realise that there is this calm within me in those short moments. A sacred space filled with peace and safety. That breath you take before the madness, the place you sink into in all the silence…that feeling is home. I’m discovering that I was always looking for something that has inherently always been a part of me.