Travel Log 13: Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling

I am not sure if I agree or not that there is an absence of rites of passage within the American community and even further if I feel that it then hurts the Global Community as a whole. If we are set up to only expect change during rites of passage do we not then as a society eschew change when it comes in other forms or from unexpected places. By confining ourselves to change only at certain times it keeps people from being open to change in many other ways during many other times. “Rites of passage cannot be seen as “just another program.” It requires rethinking the connection between youth and community development,” (Blumenkrantz, 5). There, however, I agree needs to be a clear distinction between a rite of passage and change that occurs throughout life.

I think in the United States rites of passage come more from religions. A communion, a bar/bat mitzvah or a confirmation. Besides these religious rites all I can think of popularly in America is a quinceñera. What is interesting is that in general religious participation in the US is on a very strong downturn. In general I think that people need to find more assurance in their own ability to change and feel more comfortable in themselves and their own change instead of basing it off their commitment to a specific organization. It is easier and more meaningful to change for yourself instead of for outside pressures.

Silence has been a very big space for me to change while abroad and in general it has become a larger joy of mine. I am very outgoing and can carry a conversation with most people but over my time here I have learned to appreciate silence. In many moments I even prefer it to sound. After putting your body under the constant strain of travel it is nice to just be in quiet for a little. When you see something truly amazing it is more meaningful to do so in silence because you get to take in the full effect of what you are seeing in all of your senses.

Giving away one’s previous behavior has been a large base of change for me as well. I was bullied when I was younger and this has had a lasting effect on my growth. Since then, I have always worked to have the most amount of people like me as possible, holding things in or bending over backwards for them. I let people walk over me in a way. Recently I have been working to be authentically me in all ways and this means that if something makes me unhappy I have the right to express that. These two things can come into direct contention with each other and more and more frequently do. It is in this shedding of niceties that I am finding more ability to be authentically how I am and want to be. I stand up for myself and if someone is rude to me I will say something instead of letting it just go.

Connection to ancestral roots has also become more important to me. I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents and how they act. All of them are very successful and have become, seemingly, who they want to be. It has been interesting looking at them as examples and role models to live my life by. The courage with which they ask for things or move about the world is very interesting and clearly comes from how they have been raised and gone through life.

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