Thursday, March 23, 2017

Springy Spring Spring!

By Sacha Jones, Life-Cycle Celebrant

Don't we all get delightfully giddy at the beginning of spring? It's such an exciting time. More than new year (at least for me) there is a beautiful sense of new beginnings and hope. Seeds to plant, growth, change... metaphorical and actual. I'm still in the UK where spring gets a head start and I feel very blessed to experience it all twice. Pink tree-blossoms, daffodils, croci, tulips - all shining and doing there thing and bringing smiles to the masses. 

I always feel inspired when I come over here. Partly it's time away from home to reflect, partly it's the time of year - but mostly it's spending time with my lovely friends and family who are all doing really cool things and make me very excited about possibility. This is most certainly true in the kitchen (and garden)! As much as I love to cook (and we do all the time), I can get a bit lazy in terms of experimentation and branching out. Mostly this stems from my funny relationship with recipes (I am not so good at following directions and get a bit cross-eyed). So when I come across a really easy, really tasty AND healthy recipe all in one, (and I get a chance to try making it side by side the pros), I'm all about it!

Last week my two longest-running (not oldest!) besties - Sally & Sim, and I got together, and my heart was so very glad. (I can't believe we didn't take a photo!) All three of us are foodies with a palate for clean, healthy & delicious, so the menu Sim prepared for us was perfect. We mmm'd and oooh'd and yummed our way through lunch - gluten-free veggie "flat breads" with homemade pesto, hummus, avocado, salad-y bits and goat cheese and just so much good stuff. And to top it all off, gluten-free honey-sweetened chocolate cake with coconut yogurt and (honey sweetened) rhubarb compote! Mmmm! Hearts and bellies satiated, cheeks sore from smiling.

My personal tummy-health has meant I've been avoiding gluten and much reducing grain for about 14 years now. I don't usually go for the GF products in stores and have instead always gravitated to real food that is "free from" but sometimes I really want a vessel for things that sit so well on bread/toast. Most gluten free breads I find to be pretty gnarly (full of weird ingredients and absolutely require toasting), so to find something that checks all my boxes and tastes amazing, well... I have to share! Do give these a whirl, whether you tend towards gluten free eating or not. They are truly wonderful.

Turmeric Cauliflower Flatbread
ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower (use the whole thing, incl stem)
100 g (1 cup) almond flour or ground almonds
4 eggs (we found two was enough, so start with less and add more if you find it not wet enough
1 TBS turmeric powder
sea salt and black pepper to taste
how to:
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray with wax paper. Roughly chop the cauliflower and put in food processor and blend until you have got a fine rice-like texture. Place the cauli 'rice' in a mixing bowl. Add ground 
almonds, turmeric, salt & pepper - mix with your hands. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Whisk the eggs with a fork. Use your hands to pull the dry ingredients towards the middle until everything is combined and you can shape it into a ball. It should be more loose and wet than a traditional bread dough. Transfer to the baking paper and form into a rectangular base by flattening the dough with your hands or spatula. Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 23-25 minutes or until slightly golden and firm. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Turn it upside-down and carefully remove the baking paper. Cut into bread-sized slices and store in the fridge (but eat some straight away for lunch, it's so good!) 


Beet Flatbread
ingredients:
(about) 3 medium raw beetroots, peeled
100 g (1 cup) almond flour or ground almonds
4 eggs (as above, play by feel)
1/2 tsp sea salt and black pepper

Use the same instruction as above. The dough is slightly more moist than when using cauliflower, but dries out perfectly when baked.

We made one of each, one on each baking tray but if you were feeling experimental you could stripe the different breads - orange and red alternating. You can also try this with broccoli and make a green one. Possibly a "sneaky" way to get your non-veggie eaters eating veggies too! I reckon this recipe is open to experimenting with different veggies so give it a go!

Serve with all your favourite sandwich ingredients.


Sim found this recipe in Green Kitchen Stories which is a pretty great food blog, lots of good recipes and adorable photographs! And it would be remiss of me to mention the desert without sharing the recipe... that honey chocolate cake was from Claire Ptak in the Guardian, and can be found here!



And if you missed it last week, please check out my 
 article Five Foods That Fight Stress in Next Tribe. Feel free to leave (kind) comments and check out the whole magazine. Lots of great articles and inspiration to be found.



Have a wonderful week, 
and giddy start to spring...
Lots and lots of love,
Sacha xxxx



Sacha Jones
Holistic Integrative Nutrition Wellness Coach, AADP
and
Lifecycle Celebrant & Officiant

Stiggly Holitics
Sacha Jones Ceremonies

Nourish Your Body
Nourish Your Soul 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ceremony Awakens – it’s a Spring Thing!


By Dorry Bless


The great Sun Bear of the First People of our North American continent, reminds us how important ceremony is in life, he says,“When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space. Everything outside of that space shrivels in importance. Time takes on a different dimension, emotions flow more freely, the bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life, and this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them, old is made new, everything becomes sacred.”
Ceremony invites us to stop and smell the roses by setting apart time and space to experience the change inherent in life with dear family and friends surrounding us.  When we welcome life's transitional moments with great care and intention; this simple act offers us the rich possibilities of freedom and peace of mind.
Spring is on the wing, a time of renewal.  Here are the ingredients to activate ceremony in your life:
Blessing or paying homage -  of the space
Consider 'cleansing' the space or preparing it beforehand by smudging, lighting a candle, or chanting if you are so inclined.  You can also just sit quietly and state your intention either out loud or silently in your head.  Think about including friends or family members to join you in this task.  
Processional or entrance
How do you wish to enter the ceremonial space or cross the threshold -- in silence, to music, with great fanfare or would you feel more comfortable poised in the space ready to greet your guests.  Think about if you'd like a dear friend or your animal companion to escort you.
Welcome
A Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant (modern day ritual maker welcomes all who gather, sets the tone, and explains the purpose of the ceremony, and begins to weave your personal story into her welcome.  Perhaps she an antique singing bowl or maybe you’d like your friends to shake tambourines.  
Opening Ritual
With ritual the ordinary merges with the extraordinary   Be creative -- use a favorite rock from your garden,  re-invent a family tradition (i.e., use grandpa's wine glass or craft a symbolic quilt).  Allow the ritual to speak for you and to you on a deeper level.
Readings
Whether classic or contemporary literature, poetry, song lyrics, prose, an excerpt from a favorite child's book or a scene from a favorite sitcom; these can be read by your Celebrant or dear family and friends.   Consider writing an original piece.  Choose readings that resonate for you.
Remembrance
This is the portion of the ceremony dedicated to honoring those who came before us, our ancestors  and loved ones with words, silence, song, lighting a candle or tossing stones into a stream so they return from where they came.  You might want to include your loved one’s framed photo and place it on the ritual table.
Family Member Honoring  
This is an opportunity to honor family members or other sung or un-sung heroes in your life with words and gestures.
Your Celebrant's Address
This is where your story is told.  It's your own hero's journey and it is often the centerpiece of the ceremony.   The tone might be serious, whimsical, humorous, educational or a combination of all of these.
Pronouncement
If applicable, the Celebrant will pronounce the honoree (who the ceremony is for) with the new status they have attained, for example: Divorced/single, Married, Retired or New parents  or whatever the achievement may be.
Community Blessing
This is the portion where all in attendance are acknowledged with a reading or blessing; and/or they are invited to show their support for the honoree in unison with formal verbal decree or fun shout out.
Closing ritual
Here, you may choose to 'close' the ceremonial space with chimes, bell ringing, kazoo tooting, broom sweeping, blowing bubbles, passing out flowers to the guests, etc. Once again think about what pleases you and makes you smile!
Recessional
The honoree(s) walks out of the ceremonial space followed by their Celebrant, attendants and finally their guests. The impact of the ceremony lingers – whether grand or small – and now is a part of the individual’s history (herstory) and  remains in their heart - always emotionally accessible.   
Bloom where you are planted!

Dorry Bless is a Certified Life-cycle Celebrant® and published writer practicing in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania (circleoflifeceremonies.com). She is member of the Celebrant Foundation & Institute where she received her certification in 2006. To learn more about becoming a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant go to:www.celebrantinstitute.org 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Embrace the Equinox




By Marguerite H Griffin 
On or about March 20 each year, daylight and darkness are nearly equal in all parts of the world. In the northern hemisphere, we embrace the vernal equinox as the beginning of spring. It’s is the time for spring cleaning and for letting go of the old and embracing the new. As temperatures gradually rise and spirits become buoyant, we recommit to New Year’s resolutions made in the darkness of winter and imagine moving forward to a brighter future.
PREPARATION

In ancient civilizations, clocks and calendars made use of the sun’s
light to mark the seasons for sowing seeds and harvesting crops. Today, we may reflect on the seeds that we’ve planted and the work we’ve done in the gardens of our relationships, our families, and our life’s path. We can contemplate things lost and gained and consider how to make room for new growth.
• Examine those areas in your life where you may feel challenged, inert, or stuck.
• Consider first your external environment. Imagine how you’d like to make space for abundance, clarity, or simplicity.
• Consider your internal environment—your personal habits, practices, and proclivities. How are your dreams coming along? What would you like to have or create more of as spring progresses to summer?

BEGIN AGAIN!

Beginning again may be as simple as undertaking a new activity, one that will remind you of your commitment to growth. You might decide to keep a daily journal and review it at each full moon. Or you might want to take up a new hobby, assist with planting flower bulbs in a community garden, or participate in a meditation or yoga class.
IN CLOSING

Especially at transitional times, give yourself the gift of time. Include in that gift the permission to experience a new thing each day. You can top off your gift to yourself by listing those things for which you are already grateful. As you reconnect to the rhythm of your life, be open to sharing your experiences with others!






~~ * ~~








MARGUERITE H. GRIFFIN is a Life-Cycle Celebrant® with certification in Weddings and Funerals. She lives in Chicago and can be reached by email at meaningfulmarguerite@gmail.com or through her website, www.meaningfulmarguerite.com 







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.










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



Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Ritual to Honor Our Pets and Animal Companions



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

The Latin word - anima - means “breath” or “soul,” and our pet animals, such as cats or dogs, visibly breathe, and are animated and alive.  Through their faithful and loving companionship with us, they also breathe joy and meaningfulness into our human bodies, minds and spirits. 
One of the things we find so fascinating about animals is that their essence, their being, is not covered up with words or thinking. When we learn to live in the moment, the way our animals do, we regain a sense of the miraculous, a depth of awareness and a core of our own simple being-ness.  As Eckhart Tolle writes in his book, Guardians of Being, Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats, “Be alert as you watch a dog at play or at rest.  Let the animal teach you to feel at home in the Now…to take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life.”

Celebrants take pleasure in creating ceremonies, rites and rituals to honor our pets and animal companions as they reach some of life’s significant milestones.   Some examples of the occasions we mark include welcoming pets into our home when we have adopted them from a shelter or a rescue mission; crafting a simple ritual of naming them; honoring their “graduation” from etiquette school, or the completion of service training; and, poignantly, leading a special memorial service when the day comes that they die and leave our homes for the last time. 

A Candle Ceremony to Welcome an Adopted Pet Into a Family

Here’s a simple, but powerful, ceremony is done at home when a pet has been adopted and the family wants to welcome her/him into its “forever home.”  The purpose is to affirm and celebrate the journey that this pet made to reach his/her family, and their commitment to stewardship and loving care from this day forward.

The celebrant opens the gathering by declaring, “We gather today for the adoption of our new friend, (pet’s name) and his/her family members, (named).  We will light candles in honor of all those who made today possible.”

The first candle is lit to honor’s the animal’s birth family.  It signifies and expresses gratitude for the two animals who created this perfect new life.  We honor them for caring for him/her as a tender young soul.  We express the hope that both parents are in a safe place with good food, warmth and love.

The second candle is lit to acknowledge the people who worked at the shelter and/or rescue and took this precious animal in, caring for him/her without desire for repayment, carrying on their work for animals that come from the streets, from bad homes, those who are abandoned and unwanted, and those left to die.  We give thanks and pray with gratitude that their work allowed this family to meet their destined pet.

The third candle is lit to celebrate this pet and all adopted pets, who bring laughter, joy and enrichment to their families, and who remind us of the presence of the divine in all creation.  We give thanks to this new family member for the opportunity to open our hearts, to be inspired, and to be taught how to give unconditional love.

The fourth and final candle is lit to recognize the adoptive family and celebrate their commitment to the challenge of taking in a new presence, and creating a loving place in the world for this sweet animal’s life.  We express our humility in the face of their courage and generosity of spirit; we pledge to support them through any difficult times they may encounter and to celebrate the good times to come.
  
The ceremony may end with an expression of joy or prayer as each candle is blown out, and may be followed by a delicious buffet of human foods for the people, and special treats for the animal, such as puppy ice cream, or a new healthy chew bone.  Music may accompany spontaneous toasts given to complete the festivities.  A keepsake copy of the ceremony may be printed on parchment paper and presented to the family to hold as a treasured remembrance.

In today’s world, people love their pets/animal companions and consider them members of the family.  As animal lovers themselves, and as people trained in the art of ceremony, celebrants provide a place of presence for pet owners and their human caretakers.  Celebrants are delighted to create events that share stories and celebrate milestones while pets are alive, and are honored to craft loving memorial tributes to those who have died. This is the circle of life that abides in all things, and the one life, the one consciousness, that is with us now and forever.  






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.



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.








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

                About the Celebrant Foundation & Institutewww.celebrantinstitute.org