Just One Word

in RT&J

By Ginger Banks, Pi Kappa (U of Texas at Austin), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee

Apply our Ritual to your life.

How many times have AOII initiated members heard that advice?

When I first heard it, I thought, “OK. How do I do that? Our Ritual contains a lot of guidance and philosophy. Where do I begin? How can I ‘get’ the entire Ritual?”

I’ll bet I’m not alone in that reaction. Our Ritual contains so much substance, getting into its meaning and determining how it can be useful personally can be formidable. I used to think along those lines. That was before the perspectives of Mary Lindrooth, Leigh Perry, Omega Chapter at Miami University, and Ed King profoundly changed my thinking.

Mary Lindrooth (Rho, Northwestern U) was a panelist during a 1971 Convention session about Ritual. The other incoming Traveling Secretaries and I asked Mary to share her views with us privately. The 45-minutes we spent with her were among the most important, inspiring, and illuminating of my life. Mary had very down-to-earth ways of connecting with our Ritual. For example:

“I think sometimes our preoccupation with the seriousness of the Ritual gives you the impression that ‘hands off!’  But use it! Think of it as an exercise bar. It’s a way to build character. Use it…Take it apart. Discuss it. Bring in your own interpretation of it…”

“Think of the Ritual when you’re on the plane…in between chapters and think [how Ritual words apply to what’s happening]. You’ll find plenty of times you can quote it.”

Mary helped me bring the Ritual down “from the cloud,” see its practical, helpful, and relevant applications, and instilled it more prominently in my brain and heart. I’ve used her logical, actionable, relatable approaches in my own interpretation and educational efforts about Ritual ever since.

Fast forward about 35 years. RT&J member Leigh Perry (Upsilon Lambda, U of Texas at San Antonio) called me and said, “I got it! Instead of implying members should apply the Ritual in its entirety to our lives, we should apply it one word at a time.”

Leigh suggested each of us choose a day of the week and one Ritual word. On that day, everything I think, say, and do will implement the meaning of that word. Leigh’s “ah-hah moment” resulted in our writing the “Just One Word” module for our Ritual Education Manual (REM).

Enter Omega Chapter. Around 2014, the members developed a one-page educational piece, “101 Ways to Apply Ritual to our Daily Lives.” It, too, is a very user-friendly guide. We’re grateful to Omega for developing it and allowing RT&J to put it on the Fulfilling the Promise (FTP) website.

Mary Lindrooth. Leigh Perry. Omega Chapter.

They help us more fully appreciate insights Ed King shared in his iconic essay “The Secret Thoughts of a Ritual” (which also is in our REM):

“…The effectiveness of my message is in direct proportion to your knowledge and belief in my values…

“Basically I am a road map to help a person along [his/her] journey of life and assist [them] in [their] communion with their fellow travelers.

“Who am I? Your Ritual.

“What am I? A system of values.

“What am I for? My purpose is not to make you a better sorority woman, but rather a better human being.”

You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.

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