Lessons From Ritual

in RT&J

by Dr. Shokooh Miry, Sigma (University of California, Berkeley), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee

Working on Rituals, Traditions & Jewelry Committee allows me to be close to the heart of our Fraternity, where our values live and breathe. It also means that I have many opportunities for reflecting on the lessons that AOII has given me.

AOII has taught me that leadership is about working with a servant’s heart, from a bedrock of values. AOII introduced me to specific values in our Ritual that are universal, core, and can apply regardless of our background. These values informed my career decisions, guided my personal life, and have been a solace to me in difficult times. I even weave our Ritual into my clinical work with patients.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my AOII work is that, if you allow it, AOII will nurture your academic, professional, and personal lives and will inspire you to create a service life. It does so by presenting universal principles that apply to every AOII..

My family is culturally Muslim, but doesn’t practice any religion. I grew up with parents who told me that the most important thing was to be a good person and treat people well. I had no other religious instruction or experience. I raise my own children in a secular way.

I love our Ritual. It provides precepts that speak to who I want to be — as a mother, psychologist, feminist, and activist. Our Ritual has taught me to lean in. To allow my light to shine brightly. To have hope in dark times. To remember the importance of rule and line and structure in my life. To treat others how I want to be treated. Our Ritual is totally in alignment with my activism and social justice work. I have sisters from every religion, ethnicity, and culture. We are all equals in AOII.

Our Founders were strong, independent, and educated women — role models upon whom we should have no fear to call.

These four women instruct us that our AOII membership is not supposed to be selfish. The purpose of our Fraternity is in our motto. Think about it.

In 1928, our Founders wrote a letter that’s especially meaningful. There was so much happening in the world then. Mussolini in Italy and Stalin in the Soviet Union were in power. Women were storming the presidential palace in France to demand the right to vote.

“We can give you no better, happier wish than that the years in Alpha Omicron Pi may bring to you the treasures they and you have borne for us. This they will do if we all try constantly to remember the true reasons for our fellowship. Every one of us is born into the world with a store of good will. For its possession we are not responsible. What we are responsible for is adding to that store… Are we applying the spirit of our Ritual to our methods and social contracts? And in the world that extends beyond our colleges and ourselves — a world in which selfishness, violence and war still persist — are we striving courageously to stand for the ideals of kindness? Such a spirit does magic when it is tried… this is our message to you.”

I hope the essence of that message speaks to you the way it has spoken to me.

If you have questions or need ideas from the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J), please don’t hesitate to contact us at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org.

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