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8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

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 January 15, 2021

                  7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                  7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                  The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                  Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                  Posture

                  First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                  All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                  Facial Expressions

                  Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                  If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                  1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                  A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                  The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                  This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                  2. Relax Your Face

                  New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                  To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                  3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                  Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                  The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                  To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                  3. Smile More

                  There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                  Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                  4. Hand Gestures

                  Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                  It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                  5. Enhance Your Handshake

                  In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                  “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                  It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                  6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                  As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                  Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                  Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                  Final Takeaways

                  Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                  If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                  More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                  Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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