Thursday, August 30, 2018

Three Keys to Mastering Your Craft as a Writer and a Celebrant







Three Keys to Mastering Your Craft as a Writer and a Celebrant
Elaine Voci, Ph.D. Certified Life Cycle Celebrant

Writing is one of the three most important skills you have as a celebrant: the other two are listening, and being compassionate. Not surprisingly, the degree to which your writing shines is proportionally related to how proficient you are in being a good listener and a feeling person.   
Celebrants do a lot of writing; they compose ceremonies, rituals, and blessings for all manner of significant milestones in their clients’ lives.   In fact, one of the most powerful ways that you build your ”brand” as a celebrant is based on your reputation as an effective, moving, and inspiring writer and speaker.  Your written words, spoken from the heart during a ceremony, have a tremendous impact on the audience that receives them.  When clients thank you for doing a great job after a funeral, a wedding, or a baby blessing, they often tell you how you made them feel with your words, your presence, and the care with which you approached the event.  
You can always become a better writer technically; there are many books, teachers and courses to help you do that. I want to talk, instead, about how to cultivate your capacities as a human being so that you can bring more of yourself into your work as a celebrant. I believe that there are three inner keys to unlocking that potential:

1.     The first is humility.  If you have ever lain on a beach at night with millions of grains of sand beneath you, your body supported firmly, yet gently, and listened while hundreds of waves rolled in as the tide moved before you inexorably, while billions of stars shown brightly overhead,  you have felt both deeply impressed, and humbled.  You realize that you are but one small person, a tiny dot in the overall pixels of life’s canvas on earth, and yet, you are also irreplaceable, invaluable, miraculous, magnificent, and uniquely a contributor.  That’s the humbling paradox of life – that we are both miniscule in the Big Picture, yet we also have something important to contribute to the world that only we can: our unique selves, talents, and gifts. 

When I interview families and listen to them talk about their loved one who has died, in preparation for the celebration of life we are going to offer in his or her memory, I hear a “soul sketch” that I can write and deliver on that special day.  It is a respectful portrait, a recollection of one “ordinary” person’s life and what they meant to the world, and a showcase of the important, unique, and lasting legacy of love they left for those who survive them. 

2.     The next key is hope.  Hope is that gut feeling we carry within us that our time on this earth matters; that our core as human beings derives from an irrational belief that our highest selves are capable of expression even when life feels dark, lonesome, scary, or hard. Hope and humility are partners to our sense of wonder.  Hope makes us trust that there is something greater than ourselves, something truer, and surprising that is just waiting for us around the next corner, something we can’t yet see, but we can believe in all the same.  This is a priceless gift of the human spirit.  

As a celebrant, when I engage in helping a couple bless the piece of ground upon which their new home will be built, we are jointly acting on our mutual hope and faith that it will be the place they envision from which they will grow, evolve, love, and bring their talents to the world.  

3.     The last key is courage.  The courage of our convictions.  The courage in our self-confidence that what we bring to others in our work as celebrants will add value, and meaning.  Courage is what we feel at the crossroads in life, when we have to make a choice to go left or right.  Courage demands that we put our faith in ourselves, in our training and experience, with full recognition of our weaknesses, as well as our strengths, and then moves us forward to follow through. 

This involves embracing our role as a public figure; each time I get up to speak at an event when the room grows quiet and the audience waits expectantly, I draw upon my courage and the confidence that comes, in some measure, from knowing that I stand in a long line of compassionate elders and wisdom teachers who precede me.  Our profession is an old tradition we can each uphold proudly and with dignity.  It demands our willingness to let the moment take our hand and lead us onto the sacred stage to tell the stories we came to give, in a voice that is all our own, so that healing may happen.  

So, I think that how we live and what we learn from our lives is the foundation for how we write.  The three keys of humility, hope and courage combine to shape our worldview, over time, and, thus, enable us to bring our best selves to our clients.

In closing, here is a blessing for your servant heart that comes from a poem by John O’Donohue titled, For One Who Holds Power:

“…May integrity of soul be your first ideal,

The source that will guide and bless your work.”




Three Keys to Mastering Your Craft as a Writer and a Celebrant
Elaine Voci, Ph.D. Certified Life Cycle Celebrant


Elaine Voci is a life coach in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant  Foundation & Institute.   Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.  






Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our 
Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at  celebrantsocialmedia@gmail.com    
Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette at: charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org 
call us at (973)746-1792.  Visit us at http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/?p=business Non-profit Educational Organization


Celebrant Foundation & Institute Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CelebrantInst
Blog:  The Celebrant Troubadour:  www.celebrantfoundation.blogspot.com
Magazine Celebrancy Today:
Twitter:  @CelebrantInst


Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life 


How do you commemorate momentous events? Memorialize people who have shaped you?
Draw support from those you hold dear? This primer offers methods for honoring the special occasions in your life with humor and grace. Its ceremonies help ground each day in the wholeness that supports our entire lives. Each ceremony has been vetted by a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® affiliated with the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, which offers training and support for celebrants worldwide. Visit us at www.celebrantInstitute.org.







  


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Porch Parties With A Celebrant Touch



Porch Parties With A Celebrant Touch
                                    

It’s August.  It’s summer. And I have a screened porch.  How do these three things relate to my world as a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant?  Let me count the ways…

1.     Parties held on a screened porch immediately command my attention and my creative party-planning interests and skills.  They go together like strawberries and cream.  The porch offers a casual and comfortable place in which people can break bread together, bug and mosquito-free. The setting naturally lends itself to carefree dining.  It beckons us to come out of the house, find a place to sit and let the munching begin.

2.    Summer meals can be stretched out easily into phases: appetizers; grilled foods; cool and refreshing desserts.  Each phase can be enjoyed leisurely since we are now in the days of extended light where the sun sets later in the sky and you can freely move about without turning on a light to see your surroundings.  A nice long dining experience, uninterrupted, dreamy and languid, like the summer itself.


3.    Porch parties imply a degree of fellowship, relaxed conversations, and neighborliness that can’t be matched by more formal events. Like “come as you are” parties, porch parties invite people who don’t always have time to visit with one another to come and get better acquainted.  The Celebrant in me provides get acquainted activities to help make that easier – colorful hand-drawn name tags for each person; pitch-in dishes labeled by the name of the dish and the chef who prepared it; and introductions of people to one another by sharing an interesting tidbit of their history.  I may say, “Helen, this is Troy; he lives around the corner and works at Fairview Hospital doing some fascinating research. Troy, this is Helen and she bakes wonderful cookies like the ones on the table inside that she brought tonight.” 
4.    Celebrants oversee the process of how people come together; I make sure that we have an opportunity in the beginning to raise our glasses for some toasts.  I encourage this process by leading the first toast and then inviting others to contribute their own.  I make sure everyone has a glass filled with their beverage of choice, and I gather us together and announce that our party is about to get underway officially with a celebratory toast.   I may say, “Here’s to the best neighbors in the world who make me feel grateful every day for living here,” and everyone cheers and raises a glass with a smile as we sip.  This always leads to someone else giving a toast and it can go on for a while.  When we are done, I invite them to start eating with the phrase, “Let the appetizers begin!!”

5.    As the party winds down and reaches its natural conclusion, I gather us together before we part to offer a few words of thanks.  I may state, “Thank you for coming over tonight.  It’s been a wonderful evening to share with you.  I have loved seeing your smiling faces, laughing together, and having fellowship with you, including all the stories you offered.  I feel full – and not just with food, but with affection and warmth for being part of this special neighborhood.”  That heartfelt and earnest commentary always generates more comments.  This gives us closure to the event, and a warm feeling to carry home with us as we depart from each other’s company.


That’s what Celebrants do – they turn ordinary times into special ones. I have given themed parties including a “Hotdog Bonanza” and a “Pie Party” and a “Brats, Burgers and Blues party” (blues referring to blueberries featured in pies, coffee cake and muffins).  You are limited only by your imagination! 
After a porch party, neighbors feel closer to one another; they feel like they have gotten to know one another, and they will look out for each other in future days.  They will wave to each other when driving, and they’ll stop to chat more often now that they have met.  They’ll feel a part of a cohesive and friendly community that brings a sense of belonging. It’s a wonderful way to share life’s journey.  



By Elaine Voci, Ph.D. Certified Life Cycle Celebrant

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Elaine Voci is a life coach in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant  Foundation & Institute.   Elaine is the Editor of the Celebrant Blog for the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.  


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Celebrant Foundation & Institute

Official Member of the International Federation of Celebrants




Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our 
Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at  celebrantsocialmedia@gmail.com    
Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette at: charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org 
call us at (973)746-1792.  Visit us at http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/?p=business Non-profit Educational Organization




Celebrant Foundation & Institute Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CelebrantInst
Blog:  The Celebrant Troubadour:  www.celebrantfoundation.blogspot.com
Magazine Celebrancy Today:
Twitter:  @CelebrantInst

















Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life 


How do you commemorate momentous events? Memorialize people who have shaped you?
Draw support from those you hold dear? This primer offers methods for honoring the special occasions in your life with humor and grace. Its ceremonies help ground each day in the wholeness that supports our entire lives. Each ceremony has been vetted by a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® affiliated with the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, which offers training and support for celebrants worldwide. Visit us at www.celebrantInstitute.org.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants are listeners, performers, writers, speakers, and co-creators


Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants®are listeners, performers, writers, speakers, and co-creators.




Why have a professional Wedding Celebrant officiate your wedding instead of: your cousin Charlie, your beautician or someone you found on the internet who “does weddings” 


These lyrics written by Jason Mraz have been used in countless wedding ceremonies - “Well open up your mind and see like me….Look into your heart and you'll find the sky is yours…This, oh this, this is our fate, I'm yours.” And, Mraz says that “anytime someone uses one of my songs for anything – a ceremony or a sacred moment – that, to me, is a high honour.”

Writing a completely custom ceremony based on a personal love storyis also considered a high honour for your region’s certified Life Cycle Celebrants® trained by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. The boring, yawn-type, traditional, cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-blank ceremonies are done by the run-of-the-mill average officiate out there. Then there are the truly bad ones - you know what I am talking about, officiates who ramble on about their religious viewpoints in a drab monotone for what seems like an eternity or perhaps talk mainly about divorcein the middle of a wedding ceremony!

Most couples want everything about their day to be perfect including the very foundation and reason for the day, the Ceremony. They need someone they can trust. Couples want someone who can write and deliver just the right words and in just the right way – every word approved in advance. Ceremony encompassing words and ritual that is a perfect reflection of who they are and what it means for them to be marrying each other – ceremony everyone will be talking about at the reception in a positive way. Ceremony that shines a light of significance over their story is ceremony that touches hearts. By the skillful use of words and ritual ceremony speaks forthe couple and tothem, their family and guests. 

Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants®are listeners, performers, writers, speakers, and co-creators rolled into unique modern-day experts who bring their ‘A’ game to every ceremony. They have studied many world religions, rituals and ceremony creation and know how to honour the common threads in people’s beliefs. They create sacred space reflecting their client’s beliefs and values, not necessarily their own. They are passionate about the rites of passage and transitions that human beings celebrate and are serious about their calling. They set aside any personal agendas, validating only their clients journey and love that has brought them together to a moment in time.

When a ceremony is written like a play, with all its complexities, including stage directions, props required and cues to professional participants like musicians, venue coordinator and sound engineer, that ceremony will be professional. Observers will feel the tone meant to be relayed, feel that even tiny unforeseen mistakes are endearments.

When I spoke with the father of the Celebrant movement in Australia and the founder of the International Federation of Celebrants about twelve years ago, Dally Messenger III inspired me to take up the torch and help pioneer meaningful ceremony in Canada. He is known for saying “in every ceremony the elements of integrated beauty, music, poetry, choreography and symbolism, purposely and skillfully integrated into the ceremony’s theme, emotionally embed, imprint and sink the totality of the event into the brain, into the memory, into the psyche and most importantly into the subconscious.” 

Well written and professionally and lovingly performed ceremony pulls the strings of our emotions and solidifies powerful memories, punctuation points in our life story. Ceremony reflects who we are and are a symbolic doorway to move from one phase of life to another, through endings and into beginnings.

Considering the time, effort, expertise and finished product of a love story written and woven into ceremony, certified Life Cycle Celebrants®’ fees range from $700 to $850; it may be twice the price of a run of the mill officiate who does not spend the minimum of ten working hours to co-create the ceremony with you like a Celebrant does. It is not only a bargain to choose a Celebrant but the wisest decision for celebrating a couple’s unique love story on one of the most important days of their life. 

Your meaningful and personalized ceremony is not only a wonderful gift to give to each other, a gift that truly reflects the two of you at the very core, but a treasure to share on your great day with your friends and family. Also, since your “love story” has been written down, it can be read again and again and used at future anniversaries or renewal of vows or other milestone life events. Your wedding ceremony can be a gift for your children and your children’s children to understand the love and the history that brought them into being. In the words of fantasy author Terry Pratchett, “Ritual and ceremony in their due times kept the world under the sky and the stars in their courses. It was astonishing what ritual and ceremony could do.”  

Do you want to find a Celebrant near you and have a conversation with them? I invite you to go to: celebrantinstitute.org and click on Choose a Celebrantand enter your region. You can review your local certified Life-cycle Celebrant’s bio and photo and speak with them about the vision you have for your ceremony. 


  

Marilyn Dion
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®
Serving Southwestern Ontario, Canada

Choose your date, choose your location and choose to have the most unique ceremony your guests have ever witnessed! Your life milestone celebration will reflect your wishes, traditions and beliefs woven into a distinctively designed commemoration. Mark your memories and special moments in a meaningful way that touches hearts. 

Weaving words and finding the common thread through differences is something I love to do as a celebrant.  Discovering the essence of the people being recognized in ceremony and reflecting that to their community is a privilege and an honour. With your input, I will use my expertise to create a beautiful customized ceremony and officiate on your special day. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how I can bring YOUR story to life. Contact me at: 

905.515.9285



Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our 
Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at  celebrantsocialmedia@gmail.com    
Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette at: charlotteeulette@celebrantinstitute.org 
call us at (973)746-1792.  Visit us at http://www.celebrantinstitute.org/?p=business Non-profit Educational Organization






Celebrant Foundation & Institute Facebook:   www.facebook.com/CelebrantInst
Blog:  The Celebrant Troubadour:  www.celebrantfoundation.blogspot.com
Magazine Celebrancy Today:
Twitter:  @CelebrantInst


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Three Keys to Mastering Your Craft as a Writer and a Celebrant

Three Keys to Mastering Your Craft as a Writer and a Celebrant Elaine Voci, Ph.D. Certified Life Cycle Celebrant Writin...