Knowledge is the beginning of practice; doing is the completion of knowing.Wang Yangming
Within the human experience is an evolutionarily engrained need for a rite of passage, all shaped within cultural norms and societal values.
For example, we celebrate coming of age through life experiences such as graduations and milestone birthdays.
Cultural rituals changed throughout time and across geographic space; for example, in Zambia, boys becoming men are sent on a camping trip, and it is part of ritual for them to be scared by an elder with a scary mask while they are out in the wilderness alone to fend for themselves.
Cultural rituals have been created not only to celebrate and commemorate the passing of time, but also to welcome new members into groups (e.g., hazing rituals in fraternities).
A rite of passage also exists in places we don’t intentionally look; and if we did, we’d find that we’d not only come to terms with how life unfolds, but also to embrace what comes our way.
When we consider trauma, we don’t necessarily consider those experiences as a rite of passage. They leave indelible marks at best, leaves us crippled at worst. But understand, nevertheless, that experiences – especially those we consider traumatic, are rites of passage. And should we choose to digest these experiences in such a way (many times with professional counselors), we’d begin to hop on a different timeline and live an alternate version of life than the one we create unintentionally.
It’s time to live on purpose. Which means, we can consciously choose to reflect on life to see which rites of passage we’ve crossed, and assess with turn at the fork of the road we’d like to walk down next.
It will do you well to look for such experiences in:
- Repeating patterns in relationships, and
- Pet peeves.
When we see repeating patterns in relationships, life is trying to tell us that we’ve already earned the right to cross over beyond what we used to be to where we graduate to; for example, if you notice that you seem to choose partners who are emotionally absent, life is showing you there is something for you to heal and cross the threshold.
Noticing our pet peeves is another opportunity to see where we can choose to “graduate,” so to speak. It was once a major pet peeve for me to be driving on the highway, only to see that there is someone in the left lane driving the speed limit. After introspection, I realized that it bothered me to see a slower driver in the left lane because I immediately assumed that they were disrespectful of other drivers (in the States, the left lane is the passing lane; and when one driver decides to drive in the left lane going slower than the speed limit, it creates a ton of traffic); I also learned that there were parts of myself that needed to heal from cultural conditioning (i.e., I need to be respectful to others even if it means I’m disrespecting myself).
There is a two-step process to authenticate and affirm your rite of passage once you’ve consciously chosen to acknowledge that repeating patterns or pet-peeves are the Universe’s way of showing you where to evolve:
- Set the intention to ask this question of yourself whenever you find yourself at this crossroad: how do I want to better myself through consciously making different choices about myself and the people around me?
- Set reminders to keep you accountable: how do I want to show up today?
Let me know where this step in your journey takes you next!
Live with intention. Inspire with love.