Random information: my husband likes long hair, and I prefer my hair shorter, and so we compromise, I get to dye it if I grow it out. Okay, it's kind of an in joke, he would let me do whatever I like, though he will definitely complain louder the shorter my hair gets. I don't like the longer hair, mainly because it is a hassle. I love that when I have short hair I can pretty much towel it off and it is dry, I don't have to 'do' anything with it, it doesn't get in my face (or give me a headache when I put it up). I do miss having the ability to fidget with it, or to try fancy things (for me fancy is braiding it!) when it is short, but if it were just me I'd keep it short. However I know hubby loves it long, so right now it's just past my shoulders. I'm thinking about dying it blue!
But back to the topic at hand, one of the things that I groan at with longer hair is that it takes more time every day to maintain. Brushing, washing, drying...I have to schedule my bathing around how long it will take my hair to dry. So I must shower at least 2 hours before I want to sleep, preferably more. Yes, I do own a hairdryer, but I hate using it and only do when it is absolutely necessary. And just the process of washing it takes longer. And I noticed, while I was washing up one day, that I sometimes sort of dread shower time, because it feels like such a monotony.
Which gave me a moment of weirdness. I view bathing as one of the best ways to prep for ritual. A ritual bath really does put me in the right headspace, as well as getting rid of random stuff from regular life that may be going around in my head. I am also a big fan of baths in general, and anytime I find myself feeling really ragged or off balance, I turn to a soak in the tub to restore my equilibrium. Even showering (though not as good in my book as a bath) can be a big aid. A really hot shower is my go-to for headaches that just won't go away.
So why is it that the shower isn't looked upon more as a daily personal ritual? I have done some work with daily showering before, and it is definitely something I would like to work more with. I have read a lot of lovely bath and shower cleansing visualizations, and don't see why they should be reserved for just ritual prep.
Every day we pick up junk from the world around us: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We know that it is important to wash off the dirt, so why not take that time where we are already focused on cleansing to really give the rest of our self the same service.
Water is definitely where I turn for cleansing. One of the first things I do when I come home after being out of the house is wash my hands. Sometimes I know I have touched things that might be physically dirty (especially at the grocery store or thrift stores), but even when I haven't I still feel like I need to run them under water and wash away anything I might have come into contact with. I wash my face upon rising and before I go to bed, in as icy cold water as I can get to come out of the tap. In the morning it definitely invigorates me and gets me going, but at night it serves to wash away the cares of the day and go to sleep with a clean slate.
When we stand under the water in the shower, we can easily envision any negativity that might be clinging to us being sucked down the drain. Take that time to go over your day, and think about what happened to you. If you got into a fight with someone at work, or got cut off and yelled at by some random person while driving, think about it and focus on how it makes you feel. Be with those feelings for a moment, and try to see where on your body they are clinging. And then let them be washed away by the water. If they are particularly stubborn, you can scrub them away as you soap up.
Another thing I like to do is to charge my soap (and shampoo/conditioner). Whatever I feel I may need in the next day, or just blessings I might want in my life. While holding the soap in your hands, focus on the energy you want to bring into your life. Or you can use the soap as a form of shielding (which I do a lot, especially when I know I am going to be in a lot of public places the next day), infusing it with a protective energy. As you wash, feel the energy soaking into your body, and covering every inch of you.
Finally, take a moment to just stand under the water and breath. Sometimes I like to duck my head under the shower and let it fall on me like rain. Sometimes I prefer to have it hit the back of my neck. Take several deep breaths and let yourself really be in this moment of stillness and relaxation. I am a big fan of stillness, sometimes it seems like my life is just busy moment after busy moment (and how frustrating is that when you look back at your 'busy' day and realize you did a lot of movement but didn't get a lot done!). Taking some time every day to just enjoy the moment can be very rejuvenating.