Adult Life Transitions and Readjustments: Rites of Passage 

 Adult Life Transitions and Readjustments: Rites of Passage Paul Simon writes: “Everything put together, sooner or later, falls apart; and there’s nothin’ to it!”  Everything you can name (and everything you can’t) is in continual motion, cycling in and out of homeostatic balance.  There’s nothing we can do about this.  What Paul doesn’t write about here, is how everything that falls apart, every crisis, every transitional movement from one phase of life to another, offers an opportunity to “reunite” with ourselves, to gain a new vision of ourselves, and more, to reinvent ourselves in a richer, more meaningful way.

Normal developmental stages are not confined to childhood!   In fact, there is an old idea that suggests that they continue in three-year increments throughout our entire cycle of life!   Movements in and out of relationships, births, losses and grief, changes in employment status, virtually any significant life change is always destabilizing for a time, and may be experienced as highly stressful, chaotic and frightening, and at times even exciting.  It is not unusual to notice an increase in anxiety or depression during these times and depending on how profound the transition, they may often have a spiritual component to them.  We can also come to regard these changes often as “rites of passage," as evolutionary, revolutionary opportunities for growth and transformation, for greater self understanding, and in some cases, self forgiveness.

Most indigenous cultures have forums or vessels, often in the form of ceremonies to guide the process of inevitable life passages.  Elders, "counselors" so to speak, skillfully guide the navigation through alien feelings and experiences, out of which the newly empowered "vision" and actions of the more evolved, empowered Self arises.  Culturally, we are not taught much about the navigation through significant "gateways" and critical life transitions.  So in addition to 'Western' traditions (e.g: Cognitive Behavioral and problem solving strategies), I have also found the more 'Eastern' practices, and those of indigenous peoples, to be helpful in accepting the ebbs and flows of the inevitability of evolutionary change.

In the Lansing, Michigan area, please feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments at the address below.

Peter Roseman Psy.S.
517.798.6446
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