Sunday, January 16, 2011

Coming Of Age

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.


  1. Wonderful post, Deus Ex Machina...I will sleep on this and share tomorrow ;)

  2. Julie, thank you. I look forward to reading what you have to share.

  3. This is so true, here in blighty we too have created several generations of 'kidults'. The formalized end to childhood wouldn't have appeared in every culture if it didn't have value as social glue. What do we have instead?

    The habit of defining ourselves by our consumption and identification with 'brands', which seems to be at the heart of the malaise that affects our societies. People who self-identify as consumers and work at jobs that have no visible output, performing tasks that have no visible end point, are fundamentally going to be unfulfilled. What's on offer to fill the void? More consumption, hey I'm just a (insert brand name here) kind of guy.

    it's not working out very well is it.

  4. SBW, it is insidious. How did we get this far? If guess the more important question is ... how do we find real meaning in life to fill the void and fix this? That is our challenge.

  5. I am so pleased that I have come to know you and your family through the marvel of internet, and that I have been witness to some of your Moose Boots journey. As you said, life is not static, and trying to remain in one place during our journey through this life is not only virtually impossible, it is actually detrimental to our well being. It is only through growth and movement forward that we can continue to evolve.. a continuous shedding of things that are no longer needed or serving a purpose. This is not to say that they were not once useful, but as we grow through our different stages, we need to recognize that we will reach the next step, were we can release old beliefs/friendships/hurts, etc. everything that was a part of the process to reach that next stage. I always tell my kids that nothing stays the same forever, no matter how good or how bad it is.

    Finding our real meaning in life....My family has heard me say more than once, "The Beatles were right. All you need is love". At our family Christmas gathering, we were playing a game, and one of the questions was what is more important for world peace and happiness? Is it love, wealth or health. Many said health, but I argued for love...When one loves unconditionally, the whole world opens up. It becomes easy, and in for me, second nature for the next step - to live in service to everyone and every thing. When we can set our ego aside and treat everyone and everything with reverence, respect and love, the world becomes a much nicer place in which to live.

    The wisdom I would share is that no matter the challenge, we can all choose to set aside any preconceived assumptions, and to think instead from our hearts. Sometimes, it seems that there is so much to risk, so much at stake, but as I learned this year, if you take that leap of faith, do it with utter heart-felt conviction, it is rewarding beyond any expectations. We always have choice - we can manifest anything we choose to, or can choose to continue on as it has always been. Life is too short to not take those chances, those leaps of faith.

  6. Julie, thank you for your heart-felt words. We are likewise honored to get to know you and your family. It was amazing watching Yvonne's recovery and being able to offer what support I could.

    I find that what you have said has been re-inforced for me many times over the last few months. Acting from the heart can be very difficult for many of us in today's world. Leaps of faith are far more difficult ... I have taken a few and it does always work out better, but it can be a little un-nerving.

    These are wise words, indeed. Thank you again.

  7. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad, I read your post!! :3

  8. Keet, thank you. Now, read all of this shared wisdom. Then, listen with your heart.

  9. Oh yeah, BY THE WAY. Dad, you won SECOND PLACE on my weekly WHAT IS THIS A PICTURE OF! Because you insisted on giving SO MUCH information that you gave a piece of WRONG INFORMATION. Therefore you are actually a loser. BUT you got everything else right, so you get second place. The End. My longest comment ever? I thought so, too!


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