Rites of Passage

A Full-Blown Rite of Passage

Tomorrow I take my 24 year-old daughter to NYC where she will begin life, post-grad school completion, as a full-fledged, independent adult.  She will move into her first apartment, as well as, for the first time, not be attending school since beginning kindergarten.

This is a full-blown rite of passage.  It strikes me that, beyond growing up, we undergo many rites of passage.  There are the ones we are conditioned to expect, which some of us never experience, like getting married and having children; and others we are perhaps conditioned not to expect but nonetheless happen anyway, like losing a job, divorcing, becoming handicapped, becoming successful, completing changing your worldview.

Major Maturational Leaps

I was reminded this week in my work with clients how helpful it is to identify life crises as rites of passage and then explore understanding the characteristics of  a rite of passage.  This allows much more realistic yet expansive capacity to then adjust one’s expectations. 

Rites of passage represent major maturational leaps, and, as such, require restructuring dreams, conditioning, and courses of action.  Rites of passage take us into the stages of grief as well, which are denial, bargaining, anger, hopelessness and acceptance. 

How to Successfully Transition

This is, in fact, the therapeutic and developmental bridge which  allows us to successfully transition from one "world" we inhabit to the next, becoming a more whole, developed person through the transition.  On that note, I have a few suggestions for you to explore:

1.  Assume, as if it were an experiment, that whatever you presently find most challenging in your life is a rite of passage.  Describe the challenge in those terms.

2.  Imagine you can successfully change to meet the challenge.  See yourself as different, and describe that person in as much detail as you possibly can.

3.  Now imagine you can see the new world in which you as that new person can exist to resolve the challenge in a way that promotes wholeness.  Draw a picture or diagram of that new world and place yourself in it.

Review how you have completed  these steps, and record your insights afterward.  How are you moved to commit to initiating these changes?

Opportunities for Healing and Spiritual Completion

Rites of passage are how we organically progress.  They offer catalytical healing opportunities and spiritual completion for greater acceptance and empowerment.   

It is interesting, finally, to note that this time of year, traditionally the start of a new school year, is commonly viewed as a rite of passage.  I guess we none of us ever really leave the spirit and deeper directives of this "school" after all.