Why is Rites of Passage important?



Transitions are hard.

I would leave it at that, but this idea is so foreign that it needs more explanation.  We all go through so many life phases changes; the most obvious one is adolescence to adulthood, but there is also the movement in and out of relationships, into and out of careers, parenting and empty-nesting, retirement, moving locations, grieving a huge loss (of a person or way of life).  The maxim, “the only constant is change” gets tossed around as if we can somehow just manage it.  But, gosh darn it, it’s hard!

Humans are pretty amazing, we find our way in moving through these changes.  We feel these challenges deep inside us, on a soul level. We may find ourselves on this unavoidable path of change craving ways to mark it.  Lacking options, we find ourselves turning to anger and aggression to others, alcohol or drug use, high speed and reckless driving, hiding in a dark room watching Netflix for as many hours of the day as possible, meeting and trusting untrustworthy strangers to guide us toward something, inflicting some form of pain just to feel something, judging others, attempting suicide etc.  We want, so badly, the outside world to reflect the big changes happening on the inside.  Unfortunately, we turn to these things mostly because we have lack readily available ways create meaningful experiences that acknowledge our life changes. 

What we are really seeking are ways for these shifts to be acknowledged by those around us; and even more, we want the ordeal of the situation to reveal to us what we are truly capable of, we want to reveal who we are, to give us purpose for continuing on.   It is the job of those who have been through these passages to help others through their unique passage, to encourage their knowing of themselves and abilities to make it through even the most challenging of times, toward a continually growing whole sense of Self.  This is important for the development of a person, the creation of a community, and the evolution of the world.  When sitting with change, we have an opportunity to be ushered into a new life in a healthy way.