There are transition times in our lives. Sometimes, they are gradual changes recognized only much later, Other times, they are clearly marked instances. Last Fall, I was invited to participate in an observation of one such event, a young man's coming of age ceremony. Ceremonies like this were common around the world in indigenous cultures - a symbolic transition to mark the real, often physical, change. They were used to inform the "honoree" of his/her changing role in the society.
Perhaps, this is why they are not common in ours - we have no clearly defined roles. We hold our kids back ... physically, they are adults much younger than the legal definition. How often have you heard, of a young woman, "She is ONLY 16?! I thought she was 21"? Further, when they become adults, we do not have roles for them to fill, besides that of a consumer. We have lost our identities somewhere along the way. It would not be a problem if, as a society, we had roles to support the people who surround us. In indigenous tribes, we might be hunters, healers, basket makers, etc. to support the whole tribe.
My part is this ceremony was not necessarily key to the process, but vital for this young person's growth. I was asked to offer a piece wisdom I have learned during my life. We don't often, in these times, interact with those much older and so we lose their accumulated wisdom. I feel honored to have been asked. I was surprised to be told that this young man considers me a part of his spiritual family. I was bowled over by the recognition that there are people out there who consider me as a vessel for wisdom - we don't always recognize those slow changes in ourselves.
I pondered for weeks about what was the most important piece of wisdom I could share. When put into this context, it seemed important to pass on something that would serve him his whole life. Several other men were also asked to speak. Of course, spirit works in mysterious ways. Each of the four of us, had different insights to pass on. It was a genuine sharing of wisdom within a community, however temporary. I, too, was reminded of a few things - slow down and enjoy the moment.
I offered this ... We create our own reality. And, we must be honest with ourselves and others. The first can be somewhat controversial. I can hear people grumbling already. The fact is that we DO create our reality. Evey thing that happens is a result of the choices we make. Tragic events occur, but if we accept responsibility for ourselves and really look at our actions, with an open-mind and brutal honesty, we will find things that would have changed the result if we had chosen or acted differently. Additionally, we have to be honest with ourselves and each other. Honesty is the measure by which we are judged ... was he honest with me, how honest, does he mean what he says, etc. It is a real tragedy when we see a person who can not even be honest with himself.
Now, several months later, I find myself with one of my own making the transition. I offer you, Big, Little Sister, the same advice. I believe that we have raised you with these beliefs. You are an incredible, young woman. I am often amazed by the things that you do and the way you do them. I am proud of you.
My MooseBoots path has been amazing, thus far. When I look back, I see that I have grown. I am assuming my proper role even as I learn it. I am excited to know that I am growing right along with my family, who shares my path. I recognize that we are always making a transition of one kind or another - life is not static. I welcome you to share some of your own wisdom here for those in a state of transition. Ask your family and friends to come and do the same.