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Finding the Rite of Passage Within the Quarantine

This blog entry of mine is a bit atypical. In this, I share my notes from the Facebook Live video I recorded on 5/22/2020, which you can view here:

I hope you will read this as an abridged version of this discussion, and if you don't, please follow me on Facebook for more posts.


In indigenous cultures, and in today’s world people choose to find their vision, their purpose in life through going on a vision quest, most often in nature. This would be the time that a young person would leave behind their childhood and hope to return as an adult, knowing what they wanted to do in life.

Stages of a vision quest:

  • Preparation

  • Severance

  • Threshold

  • Reincorporation

This year we have been forced into a global rite of passage by the COVID-19 virus and the sheltering and quarantining it has caused in many parts of the world.

Problem is we were forced into it without any preparation.

We had to abruptly sever from the world as we knew it, not having any idea we were entering a threshold time nor for how long. We had and have little idea what reincorporation will look like.

Some people have used this time well. They have gone out into nature and, hopefully observed it. They have looked within themselves and measured what they want their new purpose, their new vision to be.

They have considered the changes this time has made upon the earth and made decisions they hope will allow these changes to remain.

Studying for new careers; realizing the importance of home and family; becoming friendlier with neighbors; realizing the importance of human contact; reaching out to help others; finding the value of life and the gift that health is; enjoying working from home; realizing they don’t need to be so busy doing all of the time; cutting down on travel and materialism.

Other people have fought this time of looking within and re-evaluating. They are anxiously and sometimes violently pushing for things to return to the old normal.

The time of reincorporation, which is what we face now is the most difficult time of any rite of passage, whether that passage is a vision quest, a child, a marriage, a divorce, an illness, a death. Any of these bring new knowledge, a new way of being vastly different from the old one.

Most people struggle with the new, with change, no matter how much they think they want it. And what we do now will be a struggle, both individually and collectively.

Stay with the positive you have learned. Try to incorporate it into your daily life. Keep valuing the things you know in your heart to be true: kindness, compassion, human contact, stronger family life, a slower pace, and an appreciation for and respect for the earth.

Realize that everyone else will be struggling also. Support each other with kindness and understanding.

This has been a terrible time for many people who have suffered illness, grief, fear, financial uncertainty, political confusion. The mental health and financial consequences will be with us for a long time, as will the fear that the virus will continue.

But for those of us who realize that there are also positive lessons we have learned, this is a time to reincorporate gently, and to help those we can do the same.

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