Last year Freya bought a house about twenty minutes drive from where she used to live. While she loved her new home, she missed her frequent visits to a local store, where she bought organic teas, spices and oils. Until recently Freya also visited Auntie, who lived in a residential home near the store, so the trip conveniently combined two visits. Freya thought deeply about a lot of things but the twice monthly visit just seemed like a practical solution to her new life.

After her Auntie died, Freya’s visits to the store became even less frequent – and something surfaced in her awareness. Though Freya was often busy, sometimes feeling bound by obligation, visiting Auntie was more important to her than she realized - more important than the supplies from the store nearby.

On sunny days, Freya would take Auntie outside in her wheelchair, to see the flowers and people walking by. Sometimes the sight and sound of children brought a flush to Auntie’s cheeks. Freya would rub home made lavender lotion on Auntie’s hands and elbows. The employees at the home were pleasant people. But the place was full with elderly people sitting, waiting to be fed, changed and to die. Who had time for the tenderness of touch – especially for something like a massage? Touch is vital to neurological development in babies, yet in old age the tactile relationship with other humans can be left out as a luxury. Auntie appreciated even the touch of having a blanket being tucked around her, to protect her from the breeze.

Freya and Auntie shared a ritual with the lavender the blanket, the elevator ride down to the grounds – and the varieties of chocolate they consumed, sitting in the sunshine. Rituals are programmed behaviors, deeply rooted in the core values of what’s important to people. They are learned by repetition - a form of hypnosis.

Within 20 minutes, she’d fall asleep under the bright sky and the visit ended. Auntie was back upstairs awake, and in the dining room just before lunch. She rarely spoke, but when Freya kissed her goodbye on the forehead, Auntie’s eyes brightened instantly. “Ok, see you next time”, she’d say smiling – another important ritual.

Freya recently started buying lavender from a different store near her new home. A little melancholy she reflected, “Making a trip to the other store is less important to me now.” With Auntie gone, the trip had become an actual inconvenience. She was becoming aware that it was the relationship and bonding that was more special to her, even as Auntie became less responsive, her eyes seemed to ask for the chocolate ritual, gradually consuming fewer pieces, and the visits shorter. The store was replaceable – the ritual with Auntie was not. Freya had a higher purpose than fitting two errands into one journey.

As you go about your routines during the next few days, you might be curious to know more about what your actions and rituals, reveal about your core values. Perhaps during a trip to the grocery store, taking a class, or doing laundry – whatever it is, you’ll probably discover that what you do, involves a whom. What is the higher purpose of your practical solutions?

Author's Bio: 

Lifestyle Strategies for lasting change including Gastric Band Hypnosis, Anxiety, Stop Smoking Now and Peak Performance in Business. More than twenty years of goal setting and goal getting for lasting results, which began working with brain injured clients in California. Clients on both sides of the globe - US to UK - have benefitted by achieving desired results. A down to earth compassionate and at times humorous approach delivering dynamic group and individual sessions.

Teaching/Coaching: Interpersonal Communication; designed and facilitated public speaking, interviewing, conflict resolution, career search, negotiation and cross cultural communication. Education Management; business process and change; community liaison for development between city and county government personnel and faculty, from administrative to University President level.

Steering Group Chair, The Highlife Centre Coventry a non-profit enterprise organization; writes for Mosaic Lifestyle magazine and for online magazines.

Certified: Hypnosis; Master Practitioner Neuro Linguistic Programming