Rites of passage can be so transformative that they mark your life into ‘before and after.’ At one time in our societies (many are still alive by the way) these “rites of passage” were noted and celebrated.
Theologians and sociologists alike have long criticized modern society for being short on cultural rituals marking the transitions of life – a boy’s passage to manhood and a woman’s passage to womanhood were traditionally marked by a clear event, such as the inheritance of tools, knowledge or rights were noted, anticipated and celebrated special ceremony.
This concept both personal and societal has grown ambiguous in our culture.
Transitions are unavoidable and often difficult even when they are positive moments like birth, graduation, or marriage. Rituals provide a way for us to comprehend, reflect, vision, celebrate/grieve and process the shifts or transitions in our life.
In many cultures a method for gaining insight into oneself was the vision quest. A person would go on such a quest in times of crisis or as a rite of passage into adulthood, or simply out of a desire for self-discovery. Siddhartha himself set out on just such a quest as a reaction to his life of disillusion installed by his father.
So why should we not install and participate in small rituals, moments and/or rites of passage?
We can and we should.
Today try creating and performing personally expressive rituals for yourself. Nothing big or major, just move freely into a small task to lose yourself unto. No, this is not some big life achievement moment, but it’s the first step towards being able to see and take charge of marking and honoring larger transitions. The special moments in your life that you find significant, in ways you find personally meaningful. Rituals are tools that give you the freedom to take responsibility for the direction and purpose of your choices, your mindset, your life.
So let us dissolve the barriers between our present situation and the ideal one. Approach each day as a celebration of your achievements and a step towards your possibilities. When life gives you a milestone, a mark or point of passing, honor it, recognize the steps taken and journey made.
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. – James Taylor
Peace and Love, Jim