Amy Hayner Kates

Five Ways to Apply Ritual to Your Everyday Life

Since I graduated from college, I have been given the great gift of perspective that I did not have as a young person. The layers of life add color and beauty to each experience and moment.

As a former Fraternity president and current Fraternity ritualist, I have had the privilege of speaking the words in our ritual services quite a few times. With each experience, I feel the meaning of our ritual more deeply, adding more substance to these layers of my life. Now that I’m older and have spoken to countless Thetas, I have found others who feel the same way.

But what about our ritual is relevant beyond the memories we’ve made in a ritual setting? How does our ritual cross that barrier from words to actions that further develop us as members of Kappa Alpha Theta?

  1. Train your mind and soul. I realized that through our ritual, Theta gave me the courage to be the leading woman I emulated. An all-women’s environment can provide a supportive place to learn, experiment, succeed, and sometimes fail. Theta gave me that opportunity, and trained me to be a leader, giving me skills that I use every day at work and at home. I challenge you to connect what you learn to who you are as a person. Be worthy of someone’s emulation: “If life brings you in contact with all sorts of people, rejoice rather than repine, for if you have in you the elements of leadership and true nobility of character, they will shine forth and lead you to the performance of something worthy, the trained mind and soul.” (Kate Stevens, Psi/Wisconsin, 1901).
  2. Earnestly and actively seek ways to serve. What if every Theta made our ritual such a part of her life that she “cultivated [this] power of giving [by] encouraging the honest performance of duty, and not just because of the high demands of Theta or our institutions?” (as suggested by Kate Stevens). What if her service not only benefited her chapter, but each person with whom she comes in contact? I have witnessed the power of our organization and the difference we make. I am proud of and motivated by my Theta sisters to be a community servant. Theta brought me to the amazing work of CASA, which I support financially through Theta Foundation and with my time. It is a reward that has made my everyday life more fulfilling.
  3. Establish your truth. My integrity became more solid when I made my vows to Theta. I was fortunate that my parents helped instill values during my childhood. But it was the group sharing of ideals that reinforced the foundation and made me more self-assured in my own personal ethics. Seeing the impact that individuals have on those who surround them has made me more caring and compassionate. Theta helped shape my ability to confront and support individuals and groups based on these values. Theta put her belief in my integrity, and I in hers. Do you believe in you? Theta does.
  4. Demonstrate the inspiration attained by being a member of our diverse organization. I aspire to do more because I am a Theta. Big or small, nothing gives me greater joy than to feel like I’ve made a positive impact in the life of another person. Theta ritual has taught me that I can turn any situation into a better one by being that inspiration. When I started to look at life through the lens of aspiration, things began to bloom like never before. Every day we make decisions, and, as recent Ohio Wesleyan graduate Rachel Vinciguerra, Gamma deuteron, says, “Our ritual acknowledges that things are not always easy. Step back and realize that all we need is faith in one another and in ourselves, hope that we’re doing something positive, and the love it takes to be there for one another through this journey.” Ask yourself: What would the outcome be if I made each decision based on the woman I aspire to be?
  5. Further a spirit of unity within a group. Friendship takes on new meaning once you see the values described in our ritual, supported by those closest to you. As an organization, our first goal is friendship, which is an awesome standard. What if every organization started with friendship, and every action was rooted in that principle? Wouldn’t the world be a better place? My Theta sisters know what true friendship means: peaks and valleys, celebrations and funerals. Throughout my life, Theta love has and will continue to enfold me.

I invite you to support each other in remaining loyal to the commitments we’ve made. Review our ritual, attend a service, and/or communicate with local college and alumnae chapters in your area for other opportunities. Do this not just during National Ritual Celebration Week, but whenever you need guidance. Come back to the ritual, for her sisterly hand will always be waiting to clasp yours.