Among the many newsletters I subscribe to, one of the more interesting is produced by Death to Stock Photo, which bills itself as, ‘A photo & inspiration haven for creatives crushing their path.’ I’ve subscribed since the site offered only weekly assortments of stunning photographs, which I use for story inspiration or simply to satisfy my eyes.

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However, now the DTSP site is a destination – music, art, thoughtful quotes, etc. I subscribed to a daily writing prompt because some days, I need all the help I can get to focus or expand my consciousness.

This one – about Rituals – really made me pause and think.

Most mornings, I hop out of bed to do a quick yoga workout, then Hub and I have breakfast and read the paper (to ourselves and bits to each other) while we sip our coffee. It’s a calm way to start the day.

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We’re such creatures of habit, which could be good or bad. Food, alcohol, sex, mind-altering substances, shopping – they can all become addictions, when taken to excess.

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Have you ever reached a destination, opened the car door and had to shake your head because you didn’t remember how you got there? Or, like me, run upstairs for something and stood in the hallway going, ‘what am I here for?’ Totally mindless, a creature of habit, automaton. Yikes.

We can joke about brain cramps and senior moments (watch that, young ‘un), but it is our rituals and personal habits that shape our days.

Remember learning how to drive when you were younger? The ringing ears, sweaty palms and tight chest? If you actually thought of all the steps you have to take to navigate from point A to point B in a metal, glass and plastic vehicle, you’d be paralyzed with indecision.  So the ritual of automatically being able to drive is a good one.

When rituals negatively affect our ability to be spontaneous – as in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or other neurological/psychological issues – we may get stopped in our tracks by the repetition of acts that are either familiar or bring us comfort.

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Think about it. Are there ways you can change some of your rituals, if not for improvement purposes, then to add some zest to your life? Taste a new food, talk to someone you don’t know, pick up a book by an unfamiliar author.

It’s in the discovering – the ‘ah’ moments – that we shift our perspective and, perhaps, find fresh inspiration. Surprise yourself today!