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8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer
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Rites of passages have been around since the early humans formed tribes. They’ve been ways for us to tell stories and initiate youth into adulthood, ascended adulthood, and beyond.

Some rites of passages were, and still are, intense. Some involve a quest. Some are about celebrating life, some are about honoring the dead. Some have been going on for centuries, and some are just starting now, as humanity realizes the need for the gifts of these experiences. Ultimately, a common pattern I see with many of them comes down to instilling these 8 gifts into a person’s life.

1. Discovering who we really are

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    A modern-day rite of passage that many high school students today are experimenting with is a gap year—an extended period of time to travel, work, and experience life outside of the traditional academic system. Some of the primary benefits the students gain from taking a gap year include realizing what they really love (before they jump into any major and start studying), being more adaptable to a variety of cultures, learning new languages faster, making amazing friends, and experiencing lots of adventures. Imagine how big of a difference it can make if you already know what you want to master in your life before you dive into a structured path of study. It’d surely save you lots of time and money.

    2. Discovering what we’re made of

    Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

      Me after a somersault, dodging a gladiator at the finish line of a Spartan Beast Race, 2013.

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      In the Amazon of Brazil, there is a tribe called the Sateré-Mawé. If you’ve ever heard of a rite of passage where boys wear a huge glove filled with angry bullet ants for 10 minutes, this is a Sateré-Mawé tradition. It initiates boys into men as their endurance is tested to see how much pain they can tolerate. This is definitely an extreme example of a rite of passage for discovering what we’re made of, and if you notice parallels in the other rites of passage, you’ll often notice a trend of breaking through limiting beliefs and showing youth that they are capable and stronger than they think.

      The benefit of experiencing and enduring pain is knowing that we can move through it. Now, I’m not recommending or suggesting anybody stick their hand in a glove filled with bullet ants, but we can definitely realize that we’re much more than we thought when we experience and move through physical challenges—be it a Spartan Race, triathlon, a mountain backpacking journey, or going through an intensive group experience like what Garret J. White has created with Wake Up Warrior.

      One powerful mental challenge I set for myself a few years ago was a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. To meditate 14 hours a day, not speak to anyone, and be in silence was really challenging by day 2 and 3, but afterward there was a profound peace where I learned to be even more comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the silence or noise around me.

      3. Discovering our purpose in life

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        Perhaps one of the strongest long-time rites of passage that have supported many people for thousands of years to discover purpose in their lives is the Native American Vision Quest. The Vision Quest has four primary elements to it: solitude, immersion in nature, fasting, and community. People to this day still embark on Vision Quests and speak of how they enter a sacred space and time, where the questions that call to them often are, “Who am I? What do I have to give? How can I heal my wounds?”

        Living in a state of consciousness, like the merging of the dream world and waking world, many people throughout time return from these experiences with powerful insights about who they are, what they are called to do and contribute in their lifetime, and, ultimately, they return with a more open heart, bringing their unique gifts with enthusiasm to their family, friends, and community.

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        4. Developing life skills

        Rites Of Passages Tony Robbins

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          When met with challenges during these rites of passage, people are required to access many different resources within themselves, like courage, creativity, innovation, and relationship-building skills. Take the modern-day rite of passage Claire Potter challenged her son to. He was coming close to his 13th birthday and wanted more freedom. As a test to expand his identity into adolescence, Claire sent him out on 10 challenges that included performing a 13-bar blues piece in public, taking the train alone, and cooking a three-course family dinner from scratch. Not as intense as some of the more ancient rites of passage, but these challenges empowered Claire’s son with confidence and an expanded sense of resourcefulness in life.

          Today, we have the fortune of going to immersive seminars, like those of Tony Robbins. At his Unleash The Power Within event, one of the breakthrough rituals everyone is invited to participate in is the fire walk. For hours before the legendary fire walk, Tony guides the audience in mastering their mindset and conditioning their bodymind to be in a state of peak performance and fearlessness—the state needed to walk on 2100-degree Fahrenheit coals and walk off without the slightest blister. At the event, I learned many powerful life lessons, 10 of which I shared in a previous Lifehack post.

          5. Honoring our family lineage

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            In most ancient rites of passage, the whole family and community came together to participate in the boy or girl’s experience. The elders led the experiences from the wisdom that was passed down to them from their ancestors. The fathers, mothers, and older siblings would prepare and initiate the participant from childhood to adulthood. Throughout the entire process was honor for one’s family lineage and community. The boy or girl would come back to the community as a new, evolved human being with a new role and responsibility to greater contribute to the community.

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            In today’s western world, there’s been a disconnection with honoring our family lineages. Most people don’t even know who their great grandfathers and grandmothers were and what they did. We have made our elders into folders, putting them into a sort of solitary confinement we call “seniors’ homes,” rarely visiting. The gift of re-incorporating rites of passage in today’s world will bring the tremendous amount of wisdom our elders have to today’s younger generations.

            6. Expanding our sense of identity

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              Photo Source: An exercise from UPW with Tony Robbins used to expand one’s identity

              With the transition and transformation through the rite of passage, one takes on a new, expanded sense of identity. They realize they are more than who they thought they were. They now have a greater sense of responsibility to contribute to the community, and with that comes a greater joy to be of service.

              I remember a time where I secretly signed my dad up for a Spartan Beast race. At the time, he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery, and before that he was, to say the least, in a funk. I knew the cancer was a wake-up call in his life for him to reorganize and become a greater version of himself, and I knew he had been habitually eating a poor diet with no exercise. So, I inspired him to do a Spartan race. I told him it would be about 3 miles. This one was 13 miles with over 25 obstacles along the way. At the time, the most my dad had run in his life was 5 miles.

              When it came to race day, he saw what lay ahead of him. Anger, stress, and anxiety took over as he was concerned with whether he could make it through with his state of health. And guess what? He did. In fact, he finished 12th place in his age division. This was such an extraordinary accomplishment for him that when he crossed the finish line filled with joy, he realized he was capable of so much more than he’d thought before. He carried this through his life with greater confidence than before, winning the fight and kicking cancer’s ass.

              7. Transitioning to a new stage of life

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              Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

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                From boy to man, girl to woman, adulthood to an ascended level of adulthood, rites of passage have been a marking point of a person’s transition from who they previously were to who they must become to claim the next level of life that has been waiting for them. The courage, faith, determination, trust, inner-guidance, and resourcefulness we develop through experiencing rites of passage make transitioning to new stages of life so much more effortless.

                8. Celebrating the gift of life

                Rites Of Passages Lifehack

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                  Life is a beautiful gift and rites of passage remind us of this blessing which we’ve been given. They also remind us of the gift we’re here to give back. The celebration kicks off full-tilt as the new hero returns from their journey, being initiated and cracked open to love, growth, service, and the realization of their infinite potential.

                  So go on, experience a rite of passage and, with it, experience all 8 of these gifts and much more!

                  Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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                  Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                  How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                  How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                  You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                  Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                  Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                  Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                  1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                  According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                  “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                  Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                  Warming up

                  If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                  If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                  Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                  Stay hydrated

                  Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                  To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                  Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                  Meditate

                  Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                  Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                  Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                  Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                  2. Focus on your goal

                  One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                  Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                  Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                  Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                  If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                  3. Convert negativity to positivity

                  There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                  ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                  It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                  Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                  Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                  Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                  4. Understand your content

                  Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                  However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                  “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                  Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                  Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                  One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                  5. Practice makes perfect

                  Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                  In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                  Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                  6. Be authentic

                  There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                  Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                  Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                  To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                  With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                  Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                  7. Post speech evaluation

                  Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                  Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                  We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                  You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                  Improve your next speech

                  As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                  Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                  • How did I do?
                  • Are there any areas for improvement?
                  • Did I sound or look stressed?
                  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                  • Was I saying “um” too often?
                  • How was the flow of the speech?

                  Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                  If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                  Reference

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