Second rite of passage: imagining your contribution

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Round two: everyone contributes! My job? To create a fun container for people to place their delectable and teachable offerings. And so, what to do? How to begin? Take one artist, one experienced game-player, two teachers, one journal-writer, a dancer, and a culinary dabbler and throw them into a big wide corrugated cardboard box (not really). Shake ’em around a bit, throw them onto the table like so many dice, and what do you get? All sorts of possibilities!!

Well, I didn’t do that exactly, but I did metaphorically! I invited the rite of passage mentors/participants to think about what they might like to teach Ginny. Since the theme was “building community” I asked them to think about a fun activity that might help Ginny learn to create a sense of community where she was soon moving to.

Some took off with great ideas from the get-go. Others needed a little gentle massaging, but what did I get in the end?

An amazing community art project we all engaged in and gifted to Ginny. A first hand view of building a seven course meal for a friendly gathering. A lesson in meaningful journaling. A frolicking twist on traditional game-playing. A literary brainstorm on sharing personal history with a crowd. And a jaunt into morning meditation and hand massage to promote self-care, care for others, and welcoming the day. Could a collection of mini-workshops be more diverse, engaging or interesting? I think not!!

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Second rite of passage: a new leader emerges

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At age 18, I wanted to give my daughter a further, deeper, broader experience in entering the wide wide world of womanhood. It is a beautiful world indeed, and she was just brushing the shiny surface of it, so in her burgeoning blush into adulthood, I figured it was about time to let her “woman” with us.

Gentle though. Slow down. I did not want to overwhelm her. No major planning or making phone calls for this round. I still wanted this to be a gift. To ease into being an offerer in our little community was the goal, decked out in encouragement, feathered frills, and heart-warming extras. I wanted my daughter to see that being a contributor, really, was itself a gift- to the self as well as to others.

So my assignment was simply this: “Ginny, if I were to give you an hour or two to teach your loving little group of mentors something meaningful to you, and potentially, to them, what would you teach them? It doesn’t have to be a lecture (though it could be); you can make it a hands on experience, a listening experience, an experiment, the sky’s pretty much the limit!”

Well, what Ginny came up with was achingly beautiful. This I will share in a future post. It’s a fun thing to think about, isn’t it? If your child had a chance to teach you something, to teach her mentors something, what would she come up with? The answer might surprise you (and even make you tear up a bit . . . or if it’s hysterically wonderful, laugh out loud. . . .)

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Brainstorming: the creative scatterings of imagination

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photo courtesy of Ginny Schneider

In a few weeks I will share the gorgeous tale of a second rite of passage- one for my girl at age 18. The whole thing was a scrumptiously rich smorgasbord plated with small secret plans and large platters of imagination, but like all good things, it took some healthy helpings of daydreaming. Carving out enough space to let the mind wander and meander is the stuff “genius” is made of. How can a person think outside of the box, if he or she doesn’t even know (s)he’s in one? I say, bust out the cardboard sides, lay the corrugation to waste and let the dreams scatter! That’s what I did when brainstorming how to help my daughter traipse across this second bridge to adulthood.

I was actually in an airport with a friend when the broiling creative stew for this event starting bubbling. I believe the phrase “thinking out of the cage” might be more appropriate as bird-themed images were the ones that kept appearing.

“What kind of wisdom can be shared with a “fledgling” adult, who is gently being nudged out of the nest?” I said . . .

“Hmmm . . .  I’m now thinking of images sprinkled around the house of spreading wings and attempting flight . . .” my friend said.

“What if we created a weekend where there was ‘nesting’, ‘taking flight’, and ‘journeying home’?” I said.

“What if we actually made her a nest!” my friend said.

You get the picture. It may sound a little “bird-brained” at first, but it did turn out to be an amazing event. I’ll share it with you in upcoming posts. But think about it. Today, whether building a rite of passage or a gateway to your own future, what tributaries can you follow that trickle, flow, or gush past your own house of cardboard?

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photo courtesy of Ginny Schneider