Life is a journey. Most of us say it, and nearly all of us believe it! So why then are we so darned focused the next big step that we don’t honour where we actually are along the path?
We experience many emotional and physical changes during the course of our lives. These are our rites of passage. They’re huge, important, and very often – ignored or trivialized. (Ever been to a bridal shower where the bride-to-be walked around wearing a paper-plate hat with streamers on it?) Someone explain to me how that prepares a woman figure out what being married will mean to her!
We talk about intention a lot, don’t we? We have intention to make things happen in our lives…from work to vacations to more exercise. Heck, for many people, setting intention is a big part of the new year.
But how about bringing intention to how we move through our profound life experiences?
Things like marriage, career changes, becoming a parent, career changes, medical diagnosis, the death of our parents, divorce… These are some of the signposts of a lived life. And these are the experiences that hold the most potential to transform us. And yet, many people today lack the tools to face their milestones, be they of joy or sorrow. It certainly doesn’t help that we live in a society that when the going gets tough frequently tells us ‘get over it’ ‘let it go’ ‘move on’.
I learned something valuable about this a decade or so ago. In less than ten months I got engaged and married, bought a wreck of a house that needed renovations in every room, underwent major surgery, and unraveled because of the heartbreaking suicide of my dearest friend. I came to see that passing by even just one signpost without truly understanding what it means, was a way of dismissing myself.
So how do we bring in intention?
Ritual and ceremony help by providing conscious, symbolic ways to honour our transitions. Taking the time to reflect upon and acknowledge the significant events of your life says something powerful about you. Reflection and what I call ‘sitting with your feelings’ says, “I value myself. This is who I am.” And discovering your own personal rituals and traditions will enrich your life by providing a sense of identity, comfort, and an understanding of the continuity of life.
We sometimes forget that we are courageous beings. We have the ability to tap into incredible strength, wisdom and resilience. Why not put the same energy into embracing the turning points of your life?
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- See your joys and losses as motivational calls to adventure. Connect and surround yourself with inspires you – poems, quotes, objects, readings, people, places in nature.
- Reflect on the missed opportunities for ritual/ceremony you experienced in your own life and how these have affected you. What could you have done differently?
- Always remember that it’s not too late to reclaim meaning and growth from unacknowledged events in your past.
- Connect with a Celebrant you trust to work with you in ritual and ceremony. These can be as private as you wish them to be — I’ve done ceremonies with just one person!
And most of all, never forget that you are the heroine/hero of your own journey!
Celebrant Michele Davidson, Founder Modern Celebrant