By Dr. Shokooh Miry, Sigma (U of California, Berkeley), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
One of the most moving aspects of our shared Ritual is the emphasis upon core values that represent the heart of Alpha Omicron Pi: love, community, and service to the world. Our Ritual remains unchanged since our Founders envisioned and created it as an experience to be shared by all sisters, welcoming of our individual cultures, backgrounds, and belief systems. It makes perfect sense to me that when I discuss Ritual with sisters, I find we often focus on the key elements of sisterhood. Caring for others, the bond of friendship, and support for women across our life experiences are critical elements of our community.
At the same time, my own belief (recognizing that each of us has personal beliefs about Ritual) is that our Ritual also has much to say about caring and love for ourselves.
Self-care is a difficult topic to discuss openly in our culture. It can be seen as a long list of tasks to make time for and there is pressure associated with some of those tasks being connected to complicated systems of beliefs about women’s appearances and toxic standards of beauty. Self-care can also be seen as a bit selfish— perhaps something to do only after women have taken care of others.
But as a psychologist, I know that self-care can also be seen as values-based approaches to caring for our mental and physical health, rituals and routines that helps bring us stability and grounding. These are the personal activities that can soothe us in times of emotional distress, distract us in times of difficulty, and make it possible for us to think clearly when faced with complications in our professional or personal lives. The specific routines may look different for each of us, but the common thread is placing value and making time for ourselves and accepting that loving ourselves is required both for leadership and for loving others.
So, how does our Ritual to help inspire self-care? Here are some possible ways:
- Think of the symbol that emphasizes an examination of routine, balance, and awareness of personal rules
- Think of love through the lens of loving yourself
- Is love of others possible without love and acceptance of self?
- Are justice and empowerment of others possible without love of self?
- How are love and self-esteem connected?
- Can we raise the status of women through education and leadership without loving all women— starting with ourselves?
- Is perfection required for love? Must we be perfect to be worthy of self-care?
Our Ritual is much more than just a meeting or proceeding. It provides our sisters and sisterhood with a collection of core values that can and should include caring for our own well-being to ensure that women have the inner strength that is required to play a vital, empowered role in today’s world.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org