Prepare for Battle

Brushing-teeth

BBDO, the ad agency, published a piece of research called “The Ritual Masters” which identified a set of daily rituals that provide humans with structure in our day.

Rituals are transformational.  They move us from one phase of existence to another.  Marriage is a ritual that moves us from a state of being single, to a state of being a couple.  In our daily lives our rituals may not mark such significant transitions, but daily rituals remain very important.  Perhaps more important than the big, infrequent ones, the rites of passage.  Where would we be without small daily rituals?

The first ritual we perform every day they call “Preparing for Battle”.  It is the process of transforming ourselves from a dream/sleep state into an energised, active, waking state, ready to go out and take on the world.  Dreaming and Sleeping are states which allow the id to project itself, to wander in the world of the possible, to imagine and fantasise.  Our inner child can play the game of “what if”.

When we wake we must rapidly move the id closer to the ego, and engage with the cold hard real world of facts, hard surfaces, life commitments, taxes, bills to pay, places to go before I sleep.  The morning ritual is a group of activities we perform which wake us up and ground the id.

The most common  task is brushing teeth, performed by 82% of people around the world.  Brushing of teeth could be the most unifying act performed by humans of all races, ages and status all round the world.  If you want to identify with everyone, talk about the experience of brushing teeth.

Next most common, in diminishing order of importance are taking a shower or bath (74%), having something to eat/drink (74%), talking   to a family member/partner (54%), checking e-mail (54%),   shaving (male – 53%), putting on makeup (female – 47%), watching TV/listening to   radio (45%) and reading a newspaper (38%). Notice anything missing?  Well, they forgot to mention getting dressed!

If you examine all the possible combinations for putting on the average 9 clothing & jewellery items, the permutations are enormous.  The human brain cannot handle the stress of making decisions every morning, so we follow a routine.  Same sock on same foot.   Same leg goes into the same side (left or right) every morning.  Dressing is like a well rehearsed dance, same moves every time.

Many of the actions we take every morning are almost automated they are so routine.

Breakfast is the most boring meal of the day.  Look at the foods we eat.  Oatmeal, maize, bran, toast, eggs, simple foods, basic foods, unchallenging foods.  Who prepares and eats a roast chicken dinner or a vindaloo curry for breakfast?  (Last nights leftovers excepted)

So every morning we gird our loins, like putting on a suit of armour to do battle with the big bad world.  When you open your door and step out of your house you need to be ready for business!  But sometimes, when you are riding on the bus, you may slip back a little into that cosy warm womblike dream state, for just a few minutes more.

A day in the life:  by John Lennon & Paul McCartney

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
If he was from the House of Lords.

I saw a film today, oh boy
The English Army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
but I just had to look
Having read the book
I’d love to turn you on

Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
and somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I read the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
I’d love to turn you on

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