Everybody goes through life transitional events now and then. Life transitional events are happenings in our lives that change us from who we were, to who we become afterwards. Life-changing events can be quite small occurrences like the loss of your first tooth as a child, meeting a new friend, or going to a new school; To more important events like graduating from school or college, to accepting a proposal of marriage, or receiving an unexpected diagnosis, giving birth or experiencing a death in the family. With every life transition, young and old, most cling on to a memory. With each memory, comes specific memorabilia that bring the memories back to your everyday life that deserves a life transition ritual.
For a marriage proposal, it is the place, the circumstance, the ring, and the bride and groom to be. For graduation, it may be a project that acted as the cherry on top of the whipped cream, that completed the requirements for graduation. Even an unlikely diagnosis does have memorabilia; It can be the lab test result or the symptoms that led to the diagnosis. For people who lost somebody, it can be a legacy, a will, or last few words. There is a whole lot of life transition rituals or memorabilia and memories with each life transitional event.
These memories, these life transitional events, involve certain ceremonies or rituals. For example, as kids, we were told that the tooth fairy will reward us with a coin whenever our tooth falls out and we put it under our pillow before we sleep. We carry this ritual as we grow old and pass it on to our offspring. When we finish studying, at our graduation, we swipe our toga tassel from one side to another when we receive our valuable diplomas.
When we propose or receive a proposal there may be special music in the background or special lighting that can trigger a memory later when married and just sitting together at dinner. People tend to reminisce about the dress the bride wore, the venue, the cake, everything is re-lived…reminded in our minds. These are rituals that get us through life transitional situations, good or bad.
Here are four reasons why we should have a life transitional ritual in your life:
1. Staying on track
Rituals for life transitional events help us get through that phase. The change in our lives can bring with it a scar, or a new outlook on life, or it can give us a different perspective. Rituals help us remain calm and focused on what is next. It can help us get through the day, and off to a better tomorrow. Creating life transitional rituals can make a difficult change bearable and these rituals get us through them. The rituals have a beginning and a definite end. So, it is an assurance that once we go through each of the steps of the ritual, we will be okay in the end.
2. Order in life after the change
Rituals, as mentioned above, do have a certain procedure. Like a recipe in cooking a certain dish, rituals need to have all the ingredients and the necessary tools for the outcome to be favorable. For instance, for the coming-out parties of young ladies, they go through with the party preparation; For the ball or the party, preparations are made months before. Everything has to be perfect; From the announcements to the invitations, the venue, the dresses, the color theme, the consort or escort. Everything has to be accounted for. This is why, for these special occasions, people normally hire experienced event coordinators; To ensure the night is everything that they have dreamed of. It would then be expected that this event would be the buzz of the week in social media and coffee catch ups.
3. Gives us Hope
Being able to complete a ritual from start to finish, gives everyone a feeling of relief and fulfillment. It makes us hopeful for the next stage or phase in our lives. It promotes a feeling of hopefulness and looking forward to what lies ahead. Even if the life-changing event is not a favorable one or not as planned, we must always look for the positive and make the most of our situation. Rituals can offer that thread of hope for a rainbow after unfortunate events. For happy life-changing events, it excites us to complete a ritual because we know good things should follow.
Rituals help us to remember. They can take down the memory lane and sometimes, help us analyze our decisions or what led to our current situation. In the event of a life-changing situation, we may be faced with similar decisions and circumstances from our past and re-assessing our options will help give us the best possible judgement for the current situation. It allows us to view from a different perspective – making the transitioning smoother and easier.
Going through life transitional events can either be smooth or tough. Either way, people often find themselves going through a particular ritual in moving forward. Both young and old alike feel more confident in having created rituals for these phases in life. They give us memories, give us hope, a second chance and can help put our mind and soul at ease while going through these life transitional events.
Get in touch with Mary Jo to get advice on any life transition ritual.