THE IMPORTANCE OF RITES OF PASSAGE AT MIDLIFE

June 1, 2020

As I walk around the neighborhood lately, I notice yard signs just about everywhere announcing that someone in that house has proudly graduated, whether it be from 8th grade, high school, or law school. It struck me how important it is to us to honor and celebrate these transitions even though it couldn’t happen in person this year.

What is it about celebrating the transitions in our lives that helps us move through them?

We have maintained ceremonies and rituals like baptisms, bar/bat mitzvahs, debutante balls, quinceneras, school graduations, weddings, retirement parties and funerals for the many stages of life – yet why is there a glaring omission of celebrating the transition into midlife?

Part of the reason is that up until recently, the middle of life hit much earlier because we weren’t expected to live past 50 years old. Since the 1900’s, life expectancy has increased from 47 to nearly 80 years. That adds on a good 30 years of living that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated– instead of the common assumption that we all fall apart as we approach 50, with the expected “midlife crisis” and then further decline, despair and death to follow.

What a loss it would be if all of the wisdom, passion and influence that those of us over 50 have garnered were not unleashed into the world!

And what a shame it is that we haven’t really found a common way to celebrate this important passage and to honor the amazing women we become as we move into the later years of life.
I have found a wonderful resource to fill this gap and guide you through rites of passage that inspire and awaken you into the adventures and insights ahead of you.

Journey through the Eight Gates of Wisdom

In her book, “The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom”, cultural anthropologist and award-winning author Angeles Arrien introduces the Eight Gates of Initiation– a rich rite of passage journey designed to help you accept the shift from a life of ambition to meaning that occurs at midlife.
At each gate, you are guided to let go of the familiar and step into the unknown and celebrate deeper access to your soul’s higher values. The author beautifully weaves together images, poetry, metaphors and other forms of symbolic language to allow you to awaken and expand valuable relationships, reclaim creative talents that have fallen to the wayside, and own your beauty and wisdom to create a fulfilling life for years to come.

I have taught several in-person courses based on this book and have enjoyed the connection that is created when women see the commonality in their journeys.

I find the book gives the structure and rituals necessary for midlife women to sort out and withdrawal from a former self and re-enter celebrating their new status as a wise woman with pride – knowing that they are creating their unique mark on the world and continuing to enjoy and enhance their lives.
I’m thrilled to announce that I will be leading two online Ignited Women Book Club: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom sections this summer and you are invited to join!

During this weekly course, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your true beliefs and desires about identity, relationships, creativity and satisfaction as described in “The Second Half of Life” book. One of the metaphorical gates is presented in each weekly class, followed by discussion, written reflections, guided visualizations, and rituals that explore and reveal the meaning of each gate in your life.

I’d love to have you join us! I know the power of a group of women sharing and healing together. I also know the power of this book to lead us step by step to a more empowered and authentic existence in the second half of life.

If this opportunity interests you- even if you are reading this after the summer, please email me at beth@ignitedwomen.net and I’ll share with you any future offerings of this wonderfully enriching program.

The time commitment is minimal (about 2 hours per week), the topic is rich and significant for you, and the sisterhood we create together is inspiring. ✨

Make the commitment to be more authentic and engaged with your life by giving yourself this opportunity for self-reflection and celebration of who you are. Let the practices and tools presented in this class set the structure for deep healing and opening. 🌻

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