What’s the first word you think of when you hear you’re invited to a bridal shower? The ones that come to my mind usually are: ‘ugh’, ‘boring’ and ‘I hope they’re serving wine’. But I have to admit–I was caught off guard at a recent shower. It was inspiring and moving in ways I didn’t anticipate.
It got me thinking about rituals and the purpose they serve in our lives. I was raised a strict catholic, so I am no stranger to rites and rituals–I can say pretty much the whole catholic mass verbatim (the old version, anyway), so I was ready for the onslaught of typical shower events. But this shower was different; It wasn’t so much about the pomp +circumstance (it was a display shower! How cool is that?!), but it was more about blending families and having fun.
It reminded me that rituals are actually pretty cool. They’re about the progression of life–being present as we shed the old and embrace the new. With a ritual, we share our transition and move forward to a new phase of our lives; It’s presence + love + growth in action.
Because rituals are the markers we use to recognize our growth; it’s how we distinguish one life event from the next. And the tribe we share it with, helps us through that transition. They support us as we say, I’m changing and I want you to see how.
From this experience, I realized my view of showers had been a tad immature: from the outside, these events often felt a little boring and repetitive. But maybe it was just me; because if I was paying attention, I would have seen past the gifts + cake + games. I would have appreciated the day for what it was: a gathering of a tribe.
It got me thinking about my own personal milestones and the people who have carried me through them: family, friends and even strangers helping me to that next step of life. I have been blessed by gentle souls ushering me through my own journey and yet I often took it for granted. Now I understand why my mom was so adamant about a sweet 16 party for me (when I could care less); she wanted to move me along to adulthood and wanted the people in my life to support that growth, too.
At the end of the shower, I was a little sad to leave the happy bubble. Maybe it was just the sparkle of the sun or me enjoying my new perspective, but I carried that warmth with me for the next couple of days. That’s the great thing about rituals–the things you look at can change in an instant, all you have to do is be open to seeing them differently.