The final daily ritual we engage in is what I call “Securing the Castle”
Some people think of this as locking up for the night, making sure the house does not burn down, by making the fire safe etc.
For me it is far more than that. I rise early and have a set routine to follow to make my train on time. My wife, Louise, is the one who puts the spark guard on the fire, turns off computers, makes sure the doors are locked and so on. For me it is a process of leaving packed bags by the door, laying out clothes for the next day, setting up the coffee machine, making lunch, charging the phone/alarm etc.
Sequence matters the least for this ritual because this is a time to let go: less than 50% of people have a sequence to end their day.
The important part of this ritual is to free the mind of concerns so that you can relax into a deep sleep. If you forget a step it will niggle away at your mind and prevent you from relaxing. You end up having those awful dreams such as the one where you find yourself in school in your underwear, or you arrive at an exam and realise you haven’t studied for the paper.
A Locked House: by W.D. Snodgrass
As we drove back, crossing the hill,
The house still
Hidden in the trees, I always thought—
A fool’s fear—that it might have caught
Fire, someone could have broken in.
As if things must have been
Too good here. Still, we always found
It locked tight, safe and sound.
I mentioned that, once, as a joke;
No doubt we spoke
Of the absurdity
To fear some dour god’s jealousy
Of our good fortune. From the farm
Next door, our neighbors saw no harm
Came to the things we cared for here.
What did we have to fear?
Maybe I should have thought: all
Such things rot, fall—
Barns, houses, furniture.
We two are stronger than we were
Apart; we’ve grown
Together. Everything we own
Can burn; we know what counts—some such
Idea. We said as much.
We’d watched friends driven to betray;
Felt that love drained away
Some self they need.
We’d said love, like a growth, can feed
On hate we turn in and disguise;
We warned ourselves. That you might despise
Me—hate all we both loved best—
None of us ever guessed.
The house still stands, locked, as it stood
Untouched a good
Two years after you went.
Some things passed in the settlement;
Some things slipped away. Enough’s left
That I come back sometimes. The theft
And vandalism were our own.
Maybe we should have known.