Jenn Simons is a wellness advocate. On one hand, she runs woowoo_ritualgoods with her partner Sara, encouraging well-being and spirituality. On the other hand, she also works for a financial literacy organization, promoting financial wellness in the workplace. She's a mom and raises two amazing humans.
1) Tell us about your favorite rituals.
I light a candle and write in my journal. I also have a very specific hair care ritual that forces me to spend more time in the bath. It's a great way to show myself some love so that my own cup is filled. And then I can make sure everyone else is taken care of. Annually, I look forward to going through our Family Grateful Jar, a depository of notes created whenever we notice something truly awesome. That was just an idea I got off Pinterest!
2) How do your rituals fit into your morning or night routines? How much time do you allocate for them?
I have a daily morning journal session with my coffee. (This used to be followed by meditation and my daily tarot card pulls.) And then followed by sitting quietly with my son — usually we're the only two awake at this time. We chat about the random stuff that pops into our head. Being let in to the mind of a teenager is a privilege... they have so many feelings! It's usually about an hour before everyone else is awake and I have to start putting breakfast together.
At night, I spend time tucking in my daughter who has trouble falling asleep. We sit together and discuss how she's feeling at the end of the day, try to pick out three things to be grateful for. Then, we play the same two songs every night that tell her everything I wish for her: Have it All by Jason Mraz and Bedtime Prayer by The Wishing Jar. And then she drifts off on her own. This can be anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour.
3) How long have you been following these rituals?
Before the quarantine, for about a year now I have this very grounding practice of sitting with my journal and coffee upon waking, and have thirty minutes of meditation with my crystals and palo santo. The pandemic totally disrupted my daily morning meditation ritual, what with the kids and my husband always being around and our sleep and waking schedules being completely turned on their heads. Being such an empath, I couldn't quiet my mind enough to meditate at all even when I could manage to be alone and quiet.
Zarah Hernaez, a mental health advocate I met at work, suggested praying the rosary. It is something we don't really do in my household regularly; I have so many issues with the guilt associated with Catholicism. She explained that saying the rosary is very meditative and helps rest the mind with the repetitive nature and multi sensory experience.
Saying the rosary every evening for a week with candles lit and facing my little personal altar really helped me get on an even keel mentally so I could establish a new normal within the quarantine period. I am not the hugest fan of change, and this was a big one!
4) Who or what influenced you to follow them?
Wow so many people! Zarah Jernaez, my friend Chesa Zimmer and then my mom forced me to journal when I was a child (I fought her on it, really hard – but now i cant live without it!), Lia Bernardo, Rhiannon Hailey, Neael Donald Walsch, Jim Paredes, Michelle Calazanz, my theta healer.
5) What tools, items or products do you use in doing your rituals?
I have my rosary, my crystals, palo santo, a candle, my journal, keen.com, the intuitive Rhiannon Hailey, the woowoo_ritualgoods playlist on Spotify and the Everyday Rosary playlist also on Spotify because I had forgotten how to do it!
6) Do you dedicate a special space in your room where you do your rituals? Tell us more about this space.
Post-quarantine, I created a new area by my desk between my bed and the window with my Buddha collection and a beautiful figurine of Mother Mary on display, flanked by two candles. Setting it all up is part of getting myself ready for the rituals.
7) How did these rituals help you on a daily basis?
They calm my mind and relax the minds of those around me that I'm responsible for. Everyone is kinder to each other after they show themselves some love.
8) Do you find yourself following your rituals even while traveling?
Yes, especially the journaling. It's harder to do the rituals when routines are disrupted but there's always time to unload thoughts onto paper, even if it's a napkin at a coffee shop or my pen and paper planner.
9) Do you use a particular mantra as part of a ritual?
Yes! It changes often but my current favorite mantra is aham brahmasmi which is like I am one with my soul/the absolute/Godself.
10) Have you ever stopped following a ritual? If so, what is it and why?
As described, this pandemic totally disrupted my ritual life! I have grown out of a lot of rituals, like making the sign of the cross after prayers and during Mass. I also used to do elaborate ceremonies for new moons and full moons to plant intention and release things that no longer serve me.
The backbone of these were my journaling that allow me insight into my feelings, which is like talking to myself. Very illuminating!! But right now, with all of us having been sent to our rooms indefinitely, this time to myself just doesn't exist so I had to let go!
Portrait photos by Jenn Simons. Jenn is on Instagram as @jennbuddha. You can also follow woowoo_ritualgoods, spiritual housekeeping for the mumus in your life, on Instagram at @woowoo_ritualgoods.