Marking Life’s Transitions

Ceremonies acknowledging life’s transitions are a blessing—a celebration or gathering telling us that we are leaving something old and starting something new. When we are meaningfully engaged in ceremony, everything around us diminishes, and our life energy is focused on the moment.

As life’s transitions mark the passing of a time, ceremonies are the sacred markers or containers of what has taken place, and what will be taking place. There is a circular beginning, middle, and ending to everything—just like the seasons. Ceremonies honor the gifts intrinsic to life’s transitions. They can occur daily, as with a shared meal; annually, as with various holidays and life’s developmental milestones; and everywhere in between. Ceremonies feed and nurture us on the pilgrimage we call life. They can be simple or complex acts reflecting what is meaningful to us. They may honor a daily routine, an occasion special only to you, or commemorate a graduation or wedding. They become rituals when they involve daily routines that bring order to everyday life.

I Have Learned
... that without ceremonies, there is no formal acknowledgment of what was, what is, and what might be. Ceremonies bring structured witness to my life. For me, creating new, meaningful
ceremonies can sometimes generate healing of traumatic memories. Sometimes this causes shyness in me, because there is such complexity associated with the event. Ceremonies celebrating or blessing my life’s transitions are occasions in which I pause from my regular activities to heed, respect, and connect with my inner and outer worlds.

Musings on Life Transition Ceremonies, With a Sense of the Sacred
Sacred is everything you deem as holy. Life transition ceremonies are the sacred in our progression through life. What do you view as sacred, and protect and celebrate in your life? What is sacred for you, but you do not mark as important? How would you like to change this?

You can honor yourself and your life by reflecting on what ceremonies in which you wish to
accentuate and practice giving importance. Because ceremonies require your mindfulness, engagement, commitment, and preparation, we invite you to begin small and celebrate what is closest to your heart, and then expand in your ceremonies.

My commitment to choosing meaningful celebrations with others is ...

The above is an excerpt from Welcome Home to Yourself: A therapist and photographer explore the meaning of life through individual lenses—a mother and son’s journey published in 2008 by Relationships Matter Publishing Inc.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne Kyra is a Registered Clinical Counselor, self-empowerment specialist, workshop leader, international speaker, consultant, and clinical supervisor at the Psychology Clinic with Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada. She is the author of the award winning book, Welcome Home to Yourself, which is about living authentically in harmony with self and nature. Kyra has over three decades experience in all areas of human development, and is an expert in developmental stages, parenting, intimate relationships, and abundant living.