ELLEN BOWER CEREMONIES
Your place for creating a ceremony that promises your precious memories are preserved in a timeless and deeply meaningful occasion, with beautiful and sentimental words, a bespoke and distinctive style, and a ceremony that is guided with heart and soul.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Creating Life's Ceremonies
“When you start doubting yourself, remember how far you have come. Remember everything that you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” – Unknown
Along with the evolution of our culture, comes the evolution of how ... and
when ... we celebrate. And whether or not it is considered 'appropriate' to
Every day I hear phrases spoken that suggest to me that someone has
reached a time in their lives where celebration is very
appropriate. So many milestones reached, achievements met, life
improvements accomplished go without acknowledgement.
"It was such a life-changing
"This is the most cherished
time of my life."
"I couldn't have achieved this
without their help."
"I needed a way to say
"My life is changing so much;
nothing feels the same."
"My life goals are different
but how do I start reaching them?"
"Who would have thought we'd be
together this long?"
In our 'modern' culture, we tend to think that time-honoured
celebrations are the only occasions when we should celebrate - events such as
birthdays, weddings, anniversaries seem to be the only occasions worthy of
a 'fuss'. Yet, there cultures around the globe that may seem less sophisticated
in some ways to our 'western' perceptions (though they are often more
spiritual and wiser) where celebrations happen for many reasons that are not
obvious achievements --- often related to the quality of how people live
their values and learn life lessons.
Many years ago I read about a tribe in Australia that had made the
decision to soon end its existence by no longer procreating - not uncommon
amongst indigenous people who believe their time on earth has completed. The
chief of that tribe explained that they do not celebrate annual birthdays,
which they saw as insignificant and couldn't understand why we, in the West,
celebrate simply getting older, something that we have absolutely no control
over in any way. Instead they celebrated a person in the tribe whenever
they had 'grown spiritually' or 'achieved a special awareness/knowledge', or
'improved a negative behaviour'. The quote at the top of this blog
post reminds me of that philosophy ... that when we celebrate our
lessons and growth in life, we remember them and we remain inspired to keep
going on the right path. Simple. Lovely. Worthy of a fuss.
Births, Marriages and Deaths are such significant events in any family
or culture. With the sense of community more of an exception rather than
the norm in many western cultures today, ceremony and celebration become even
more essential in marking history.
For me, creating ritual, celebrating 'getting better' at life, and
telling our life stories has grown to become one of the most essential acts we
can contribute to the future. Our individual chapters of life may not be
preserved in the same pristine chambers as major historical documents, but they
are equally as essential to the future, because once our individual stories die
out with no evidence left behind --- that is when we are forgotten. And that is
when those who come after us miss the gift of our place in time.
I sometimes wonder if many of us believe that anything we celebrate must
be done so with, and through, tradition. Actually, we are completely free to
create any ritual or celebration that brings meaning to us. We are free to create
any celebration that empowers us to journey through life's experiences ... that
speaks to our hearts not through a religion or a custom or through the
expectation of our friends and families.
Too many times I have had people tell me that they wish they had
celebrated a particular life achievement in a meaningful way, but that they
thought their friends or family might think it was silly or ridiculous to do so
(translate that as 'it isn't how WE do things'). What a shame to be
governed so acutely by the limited courage of others.
More often than not when people learn I am a Celebrant, I am taken aside
and quietly asked if I might help them create a ceremony for what they perceive
to be 'unusual' reasons ...a ceremony to
celebrate their remission from a life-threatening illness, an end-of-life ceremony for their elderly or
dying pet, a ceremony to honour a finished relationship or a divorce, a
ceremony to help them manifest one of their hopes in life, a ceremony to
officially acknowledge their growing children (where a baptism or baby
naming did not meet their needs), a ceremony to welcome their adopted children
to their family, a ceremony to mark their teenage child's rite of passage,
a ceremony to mark successful freedom from an addiction ...
Celebration is simply the
intention to honour our life experiences. It is an act of acknowledging our
commitment to another person.
It is permission to grieve the illness or the death of a loved one.
It is honouring the time when we pass through a particularly challenging
or arduous life experience, and come out the other side better, wiser.
Celebration is simply recognising the wonderful rite of passage when a
young person moves into puberty or acknowledging our gratitude for the birth of
It is creating a safe platform for acknowledging the need for
forgiveness in a relationship that is or was.
It is the release of harboured resentment or anger, fear or low
confidence that is no longer wanted.
Celebration is welcoming a new era in life, a new decade of
wisdom. It is honouring how a particular life experience served us, but is
no longer needed, so it must be released.
Celebration is simply giving 'wings' to our life stories, so they can
serve us when necessary, and so we can let them go, when no longer needed.
Ceremony is the catalyst to unite people, to bring people
together for a common celebration, a celebration that most often inspires the
right change at the right time. Ceremony is that simple structure, that
beautiful 'order' that brings a sense of fulfilment, a taste of knowing
that an important passage has been reached and must be honoured before you move
on in life.
There are no 'wrong ways' to create Celebration and Ceremony. But there
is a 'right way' - and that is what is dictated by your heart and your
intuition. Your mind is welcome to come along for the celebration, but it is
your heart that is the guest of honour.
However you refer to it -ritual,
commemoration, rite, formality, dedication, communion, initiation,
blessing, consecration ... it is my hope that you give
yourself permission to celebrate the complexities and the beautiful
outcomes of life's experiences.
Welcome! I am a celebrant with a flair for creating and officiating meaningful, fresh and distinctive ceremonies. My vocation grew from two personal inspirations - my passion for creating ceremonies and rituals to honour life's milestones, and my love and talent for writing and expressing sentiments with the written word.
Life's milestones need to be commemorated in special ways, not limited to standard, impersonal restrictions. Life's milestones need to marked as memorable, amazing, distinctive, meaningful. My background in designing events, writing, public speaking and coaching people to live life completely and fully blends beautifully in my work as a Celebrant.
Visit my website: http://www.ellenbowerceremonies.com