Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rituals Are Not Just for Celebrants

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

I love rituals, don’t you?  They have been around forever: rituals have been core elements of the customs and traditions of indigenous peoples over the eons.  Rituals can be found everywhere in modern life, too, and are often associated with religious and spiritual practices.  Rituals have even recently become a new interest area for workplace research and have been shown to strengthen desirable employee behaviors, to create a sharper mental focus on goals, and to help foster a sense of belonging – all factors that contribute to increased productivity.  An article published by the Harvard Business Review Blog Network showed how “rituals make us value things more.”( )

As a Celebrant, one of my favorite tools in my vocational kit are rituals, rites of passage and ceremonies.  As someone said at our graduation ceremony, “Celebrants have never met a ritual they didn’t love.”  But rituals are also treasured by other people who appreciate creating and celebrating meaningful life events.  I recently read an article about a new idea called “Ritual Salons.”  These events bring ritual enthusiasts together with groups of friends and colleagues to create and utilize rituals for everyday life.  Here’s how the salons are described by the author, Daren Polito, “My salons are a laboratory where about ten friends and I explore creating rituals, doing one together and then discussing its impact over a potluck dinner.”  ( I plan to adapt this great idea to my practice, and will be glad to share my experiences with you on this blog later in the spring.

As January arrives, one of my favorite rituals in our Web-based world is watching on television as the New Year is rung in across the globe. It’s a thrilling spectacle that brings me a direct experience of being connected to One Humanity.   It never fails to choke me up with emotions of gratitude, awe, and joy.  May I take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful year of rites, rituals and ceremonies – and,  from my heart to yours,  have a Happy New Year!!

Elaine Voci is a life coach, specializing in career coaching, in private practice in Carmel, IN and a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation & Institute class of 2014 where she concentrated her studies on funerals.  A published author of five books, she has loved rituals and ceremonies since she was a girl. This blog showcases – all the many ways meaning and purpose can be found through rituals, rites and ceremonies.  It’s written for fellow Celebrants and for all others who place a value on meaningfulness in daily life experiences, and who delight in marking those passages that bring us through our milestones and adventures of the spirit

Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at

 Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette or call us at (973)746-1792.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Spirituality & Health Magazine


Assortment of buttons on wood

Cristina Kollett  

Sustenance Rituals to Replenish the Well 

Sponsored Content from Celebrant Foundation & Institute 

Life-Cycle Ceremonies book cover
If you’re like me, mid-January is the season of the post-holiday crash. During the winter holiday season rituals abound, but afterward I’m faced with a dry well. Once a holiday or great event is over, how do we refill that ritual well? How do we return refreshed to our lives, to new plans and older plans already underway?

One-Step Moments of Mindfulness

Sustenance rituals are little moments of mindfulness we can use to catch our breath and find our center. I think of them as elements of personal maintenance, ways to take care of and reconnect with ourselves. Here are a few easy ones you can work into your daily routine:
  • Take the stairs. You can make a walking meditation out of taking the stairs. This can be especially helpful at the end of your workday. Feel the rhythm of each step you take. With each step, leave behind some of the troubles of your day and think about getting closer to the comforts of home or some activity you’re looking forward to. By the time you have reached the bottom step, you may feel a little less burdened—and ready to reenter the world.
  • Get some light. Many of us suffer from the winter blues, and if you work long hours, odds are that you don’t ever get as much sunlight as you would like. So make some time to step outside. Take a walk during your lunch break or look out the window. It’s an easy way to literally brighten your day.
  • Sort it out. The simple act of sorting can be a way to bring symbolic order to chaos. So sort your socks. Or dump your change jar and sort the coins. I sometimes sort a mason jar of buttons as a tool for mindfulness. Putting things in their place can be very calming.

In Closing

These all may seem like simple things. Perhaps some of them are things you already do. What makes it a sustenance ritual, though, is mindful action. Set a clear intention when you do these things, and then do them with purpose to take care of yourself. That will make these everyday actions that much more potent.

This piece is an excerpt from Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life (now available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle e-book). This book is a compilation of ceremonies and rituals written by experienced Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants® from all over the world, who share their wisdom along with some favorite rituals.

Cristina Kollett is a Master Life-Cycle Celebrant with certification in Weddings, Funerals, and Ceremonies Across the Life Cycle. She lives in New Jersey with her husband. Cristina can be reached by email at,  through her website, or via the Celebrant Foundation and Institute at  

Sustenance Rituals to Replenish the Well | Spirituality & Health Magazine

Sustenance Rituals to Replenish the Well | Spirituality & Health Magazine

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Celebrant Troubadour: Sharing Your Passion for Storytelling: Finding Hi...

The Celebrant Troubadour: Sharing Your Passion for Storytelling: Finding Hi...: Sharing Your Passion for Storytelling:  Finding Hidden Treasure Where You Live                                               ...

Sharing Your Passion for Storytelling: Finding Hidden Treasure Where You Live

Sharing Your Passion for Storytelling:  Finding Hidden Treasure Where You Live

                                                  December 2015

Celebrants sometimes wonder how to grow their practice; they may be overlooking opportunities that lie in plain sight.  One such example can be found among the other storytellers in their area.  As Celebrants we share a love of storytelling with these folks and we can join organizations that provide opportunities for storytelling and not only spread the word of what we do, but also enjoy sharing stories with others that help sharpen our storytelling skills.

Indianapolis has one such incredible story to tell.  It began, as all good stories do, with a dream.  28 years ago, three people wanted to give the citizens of Indianapolis the gift of stories.  And those three people formed a movement that brought together countless individuals who donated time, talent and resources. Because they believed so passionately in their dream, the organization they founded, Storytelling Arts of Indiana, began with one annual event, the Hoosier Storytelling Festival.  Now there are monthly programs, and a total of 150 programs and events every year,that entertain, educate and inspire thousands; three of my personal favorites include:
  •       Helping families at a local children’s hospital take their mind off the pain and distress with weekly storytelling.
  •       Creating a place for elders to share their ageless wisdom in an ongoing program, the “As I Recall” Storytelling Guild, which meets at the Glendale and the Hancock County Public Library.
  •       Encouraging kids (of all ages) to tell whoppers at the Annual Liar’s Contest on the opening night of the Indiana State Fair each summer.

Why not explore your own community and discover where storytellers gather, and see if there are local organizations that promote storytelling?  You may find that your shared interest and skills can be of service to them, and that you can help grow your business organically by simply sharing stories at various community events.  Your involvement brings with it free advertising, and lets you piggyback on the marketing and promotional efforts being made for scheduled storytelling events; an added bonus is the new friendship and alliances you will make by engaging in one of the things we all love to do: to tell stories that matter, stores that are meaningful, and stories that inspire the human heart. By Elaine Voci, Ph.D.



Please direct all request, comment or concerns about our CF&I Blog to our Social Media Manager ~ Marcia Almeida, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant. at
 Or to the Celebrant Foundation & Institute’s director, Charlotte Eulette or call us at (973)746-1792.  

hesitate to visit our website at   

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