Celebrating this precious life.

 

Supporting people to celebrate, mourn, and connect with each other in integrity and with compassion

Wendy’s voice is full of love and laughter, honest and deep, daring to go to places many others avoid. Her voice shares the beauty in nature, people and life in all its imperfection and purity. Her intelligence, wisdom and kindness are revealed with her words, a joy to those blessed to read or hear them. Dr Georgina Gibson

Nurturing curiosity, deep listening, joy and peace especially when it feels like you are walking on the wild side of life!

Contact Wendy

Image: Doris Zagdanski and Wendy Haynes

A Space of Safety and Belonging

Mourning and Celebration Circles

A mourning and celebration circle or ceremony is a space to mourn and celebrate with safety, care and a tangible sense of intimacy and presence whether the ceremony is face to face or online.  The intention is to create a safe and confidential space where family and friends can come together to share stories and reflections, mournings and celebrations. Expressions of love and sadness that might not be possible to share in usual circumstances. The mourning and celebration ceremony is for mourning, for connection, ease and getting clarity. A space that is nourishing and supports a sense of belonging and friendship, and holds the tears and laughter.

Wendy provided us with support and guidance after Greg’s sudden death. Part of what she offered was a private ceremony for the direct family. There were 20 of us. The ceremony was totally unplanned from our side apart from a little supper afterwards. Each of us got the opportunity to express what was on our mind in the moment; what we shared wasn’t prepared or curated, so it was very spontaneous, raw and open as it was a close circle. I think it has been an  invaluable experience for many of us taking part. —Sophie Warburton

Click here for more information or call me to have chat

Get Your Affairs in Order—free information to assist you to plan and discuss death and dying. Click here.

Sitting on the fence…

30 March 2024

With passionate requests ringing in my ears; and my own respect for the wisdom that is shared in the Celebrating This Precious Life programs, I have reinstated the Monday evening sessions starting, Monday 29th April. I recall climbing the Alps in France nearly 15 years ago when my partner and…

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Levenvale Farm

30 March 2024

Levenvale Farm…peaceful tranquility with a wide vista of the surrounding farmland, forest, hills and wide open skies in Gumbaynggirr Country…with the sound of the birds and an occasional moo and bellow. Levenvale Farm, a beautiful place to hold a ceremony. I visited there last week for Michelle and Celeste’s ceremony…

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An Intimate Farewell for Russ

21 March 2024

The ceremony for Russ opened with a beautiful piece of music he loved, a quiet track from the band, Bread, called, If. I first met Russ nearly three years ago when, as a celebrant I supported his wife, Kerrie and her family to say farewell to her dad, John and…

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Goodbye Margaret

18 March 2024

Margaret’s family chose this beautiful version of Amazing Grace sung by Guy Penrod to open the funeral ceremony for their mum, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunty, nana, great nana, neighbour and dear friend. Margaret was not your average 92-year-old. Until recently she was still driving, volunteering at the Parkinson’s Society, and enjoying…

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A Beautiful Pair Married in Canberra

9 March 2024

Miri and Iain were married on the land of the Ngunawal and Ngambri people, the original custodians of the land where the National Gallery of Australia now sits by the lake. A land of rich colours that has been witness to many ceremonies, songs and stories for tens of thousands…

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Celebrating Life

28 February 2024

Join me for transformative gatherings: Mourning and Celebration Circles “I was so impressed with Wendy’s facilitation of the mourning and celebration circle that I recently joined. She set such a loving tone, while simultaneously creating a container for authenticity and connection.” Tamara Staton — USA Online Circle Tuesday 5th March…

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Farewell Carl

25 February 2024

Memorial Ceremony for the Celebration of the Life of Carl Rudolph Eyres Friday 23rd February 2024, Serenity Beach, NSW Opening Music: This is a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening—Frank Sinatra Dear family and friends, on behalf of Carl’s wife, Wil and their daughter, Sharon, I’d like to welcome you…

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A Blessing for David

20 February 2024

In a writing workshop with Carolyn Flynn, I was working on a hermit poem, a poem that takes on the shell of any form: recipe, invoice, email, shopping list, bible readings etc.  She offered her participants a very long list of possible ‘shells’ our writing could take and ‘bible readings’…

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Walking in the Rain

6 February 2024

As I woke,  I could hear the rain outside my window. Steady ground soaking wonderful for the garden nurturance. In my swimmers, I walked out onto the beach. Alone. The ocean was warm as I floated on my back. I opened my mouth to catch the falling drops and saw…

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Life’s Two Truths: Holding Mourning and Celebration in Our Hearts

31 January 2024

Life’s Two Truths : Holding Celebration and Mourning in our Hearts Join us for an enriching hour of conversation, connection, and contemplation on the profound topic of death and dying, and the art of truly living. What to Expect: Engaging Conversation: Share in an hour of thoughtful and open dialogue…

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Grief and Love are Sisters

31 January 2024

Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close. Frances Weller The Mourning and Celebration Circles…

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A Taste of Ongo

29 January 2024

A Taste of Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence – the first three weeks of the program written by Catherine Cadden and Jesse Wiens Chu – outline foundational practices for speaking and listening with compassion, care and wisdom. I am too much! I am not enough! I am alone. I am scared of…

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Celebrating Margaret Picton

25 January 2024

The Celebration of the Life of Margaret Eileen Picton (nee Finn) In this ceremony for Margaret, there will be space to give voice to your grief and mourning, and also your gratitude and celebration of a beloved woman who lived nine and a half decades. There are many memories you…

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Blessing For Presence

18 January 2024

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence. May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses. May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon. May you respond to the call of your gift and find…

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We will live in birds…

10 January 2024

A Quote from The Amber Spyglass A Reading for a Wedding Ceremony   Every atom of me and every atom of you. We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds   Phillip Pullman   Photo by Rodolfo Clix: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-and-black-damselfly-on-green-leaf-1024898/

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Kindness and Peace for 2024

31 December 2023

May you have peace, kindness and joy in your life. May you live with curiosity and mindful presence, Friendliness and deep listening Towards your own self and others. May you embrace the celebration and mourning That is present as you breathe each day. May you have what you need to…

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Wedding at Minnie Water

17 December 2023

A beautiful couple hosted a very small and intimate gathering for their wedding in the reserve overlooking Minnie Water. I arrived at the holiday home half an hour before the ceremony was to start. Once we were all ready we walked down to the reserve to stand under the shade…

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As You Were… as you were…

15 December 2023

Honouring Bruce Today, as we come to honour Bruce’s way of being in the world, there will be stories, songs, prayer and, as Bruce was a keen jokester, a few Bruce jokes that will be shared. In this gathering you will grieve as a family, as close friends and as…

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Goodbye Bec

15 December 2023

Three weeks before Christmas, Rebecca ‘Bec’ Ferencz died at home unexpectedly. When talking with her family, the main impetus and reason for being,  in Bec’s life, was her family and also her work. Bec was passionate and highly motivated; she was a big feeling person and opinionated and caring. She…

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Mourning and Celebration Circle for Nancy

9 December 2023

Goodbye Nancy I met with Nancy’s family a few months ago when her daughter, Michelle rang and asked for support to prepare for her mum’s death which was imminent. Michelle wrote to me, “How fortunate I feel to have your support during the dying, death and celebration of my dear Mum!…

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A Wedding in the Promised Land

2 December 2023

The Promised Land On a warm December morning, the bride, her brother-in-law and I drive along the winding road into the forest to set up the ceremony space. It is a dark forest. A magic forest. A thick canopy drapes light and shadows across the river. We step out of…

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Farewell Sue Foster

2 December 2023

The Scattering of Ashes The inner circle of close family met at the mouth of the river on the outgoing tide. They held hands and then scattered Sue’s ashes into the water followed by fresh frangipani’s. The ash covered the surface and sank, the white and yellow flowers bobbed up…

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Caring for Dad

2 December 2023

Dad moved in next door earlier this year. He is 87 years old and a larger than life character. He is cheeky, funny and charismatic. He drives me nuts at times. It’s wonderful to have him living so close as his dementia creeps in. After a stroke three weeks ago…

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Mourning and Celebration Circle

26 November 2023

It’s my experience that the more we engage in deep listening and mindful presence as individuals and as a community, the greater is our capacity to be present to what is happening in the moment, no matter what. I wrote the poem below after a Mourning and Celebration circle for…

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Tenderness and Grace

25 November 2023

Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence. Starting January 2024.  Registrations open soon! Tenderness as the Nurturing of Grace You see, when the world becomes too solid for nuance, when it hardens up and crystallizes into a binary that forces you to pick a side, compelling you to become intelligible to the hardness that…

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A River to the Sea—Running Free

24 November 2023

Two Strong Hearts I always take a few conscious breaths when I come to stand at the lectern or at the front of the ceremonial area. I pause a moment to connect with myself, the guests—right to the back of the room, and to the closest family at the front….

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16 November 2023

Celebrating the Life of Denise Smith Denise was privately cremated and the ceremony was held in the Woolgoolga Lakeside Caravan Park ‘gathering space’. Denise worked here for over a decade and she absolutely loved the place. After the words of welcome… Denise Smith… also lovingly known, by different people, as…

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Charles “Barry” Duncan

16 November 2023

The Words of Remembrance Let us give thanks for Barry’s life. In his last days, Barry quietly said his time was up. He knew it wouldn’t be long and was accepting that this was his time to leave. Even though we know this is the natural way of things, Barry’s…

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The Dawn Has Come

9 November 2023

A small private family ceremony was held for the Late Nita Matten. I closed the ceremony with the quote from the poet, Tagore. Death is not extinguishing the light, but putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.  

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O Mio Babbino Caro—Oh, My Dear Papa

6 November 2023

Bob’s family, chose the evocative track of music O Mio Babbino Caro sung by Andre Rieu and Amira Willighagen as the opening song for the Celebration of the Life of Marius Laurentius Gimbergh, who was lovingly known as Bob. I conducted the funeral and graveside ceremony for Bob’s beloved wife,…

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An Estranged Son’s Tribute to His Mum

3 November 2023

I met with the family of a woman who had died unexpectedly: her siblings, in laws, adult children and their partners, and grandchildren. They laughed and cried as we told stories together. It hadn’t been an easy family life with alcohol and partying being a strong theme, and none of…

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Peace. One Day.

31 October 2023

I cried watching this choir. I cried for the children, the mothers, the fathers, the people of the world. Koolulam, One Day – Matisyahu, Haifa, 14th Feb 2018. “One day this all will change…” 3000 people, three languages and one Haifa, all singing Koolulam and hoping that the ‘One Day’…

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James Gorman—Jim, Gormo, Dad, Pa…

28 October 2023

Six pallbearers carried Jim’s coffin into the chapel while we listened to Charlie Pride sing, I’m Just Me.  After the coffin was in place, the pallbearers were seated and I had stood near the lectern, Paul Scherr, Jim’s son-in-law, offered a ceremonial military salute with a drawn sword. Excerpts from…

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Cara Curan – Wild Heart, Gypsy Soul

10 October 2023

Cara died a short time after she had successfully received a heart transplant. Cara was a courageous and beautifully wild young woman who was an advocate for HRI and organ donation. She was just 39 years old and had her wedding dress ready to marry her fiancé on the 28th…

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Celebrating the Life of Brad McKibbin

10 October 2023

Brad lived at home with his mum and dad for most of his 39 years.  It was a huge shock when he died unexpectedly.  Meeting with them at their home in the tender place of grief and the sharp space of disbelief, they told of their love and joy of…

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Seeing Through the Eyes of Love

7 October 2023

When Mina and John shared their love letters with me, I was delightfully surprised. I love co-creating ceremonies with couples and families because you never know what will come forth given the space for creativity. They had gone off the ‘love letter’ script that I offer all my wedding couples….

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Farewell to Bob Hannaford

6 October 2023

The chapel was filled with families hugging, talking, laughing, children running around… Bob’s casket sitting at the front. I could imagine him sitting back in his chair watching the Hannaford clan gathering. Bob could be proud of this lovely family energy, a sense of connection, care and support. The Hannaford…

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Wendy Woo

21 September 2023

Wendy Bartram was greatly loved and cherished.  I spoke with Wendy’s carers, some who had been by her side for 30 years. Carers who, when speaking about her, cried, laughed and told the stories of Wendy’s many antics and jokes, her kindness, joy and stubbornness. I also spoke with Wendy’s…

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Vale Lee Cox

18 September 2023

You Are so Beautiful by Joe Cocker was the opening song for this beautiful ceremony for Lee (Alicia) Cox. Lee and her husband, Dick (dec) owned Cox Brothers which was a fruit and veggie shop where I shopped once a week in my younger days. I received a tribute from…

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Remembering Julie Larsen

3 September 2023

Dux of the Class In high school, Julie excelled and was the Dux of her class. She became a school teacher and taught for quite a few decades. All of her five children were in her class at some point in their schooling. Naturally, she had written many student reports…

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Celebrating Shaun

2 September 2023

“Shaun loved his family and friends and he loved his carers… in fact, he loved most people he came across. He will be remembered for his empathic and engaging way with the world; and his stubbornness and determination! Shaun will be remembered for his cheeky and happy personality, the way…

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A Deeper Well

30 August 2023

“Death comes in the middle of a long life.” This old Irish proverb goes back to ancient understandings of initiation and the wisdom that comes from the awareness and acceptance of death as a teacher. Our next gathering: Thursday 21st September 7.30pm We had the inaugural online gathering of ‘A…

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In Good Company

21 August 2023

Lots of money for one hours work…. a poetry reading for celebrants! Earlier this year, I was invited to present two sessions for The Celebrant Network’s (TCN) National Conference in Melbourne. The gathering was to celebrate 50 years of celebrancy in Australia. I was confident to accept the offer to…

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… That You Were Born and You Will Die

17 August 2023

Beautiful pieces of poetry often get sent to me… especially around death and dying. Today, my dear friend, Margot Smith, sent me this poem by Pádraig Ó Tuama, The Facts of Life.  You can click here to have Pádraig read it to you. The Facts of Life That you were born…

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Police Funeral Tribute and Ode for Robert ‘Bob’ Jones

8 August 2023

Bob was a well respected and loved local policeman for many years. Bob’s beloved wife, Kath and daughter, Sue organised a beautiful funeral ceremony which included a Police Tribute and Ode. The ceremony was held in Coffs Harbour on Monday 7th August 2023. I met with the family, and discussed…

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David Leaves the Clubhouse

2 August 2023

I met David about 16 years ago when he took my son under his wing to train him as a pilot. My son got his pilot’s licence before he got his driver’s licence! David and Heather were also good friends to my mum and dad. I had regular chats over…

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Celebrants and AI

1 August 2023

Artificial Intelligence. It’s easy. Writing ceremonies, writing poetry… why not use AI, Artificial Intelligence? It’s easy, it’s quick. At The National Celebrants Network Conference on Saturday in Melbourne, I listened to a delightful celebrant and speaker, Scott Broadbridge-Brown. Scott’s a lover of technology and spoke with clarity and ease about…

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Life’s Prayer

22 July 2023

Life’s Prayer… calling you home. Often I will craft a special poem or blessing for a family when they are seeking special words that really speak to them of their beloved who has died. I met with the family of the late Shane Webster and they were looking for a…

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Come, write with me

20 July 2023

Kathrine Fraser, from The Celebrant School—Te Wänanga Korowai Aroha  (New Zealand) has invited me back to guide another series of Writing sessions for celebrants. Kathrine writes, “Back by popular demand, this writing series particularly appeals to practising celebrants wanting to expand their creativity and ability to respond to the stories…

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50 Years of Marriage Celebrancy in Australia

19 July 2023

One of Australia’s most noted celebrants, Dally Messenger III, writes, “On July 19, 2023, Australia celebrated the 50th anniversary of civil celebrancy. In her captivating book on Lionel Murphy’s life, Dr. Jennifer Hocking recounts how Murphy, almost single-handedly, persisted for several years to achieve the groundbreaking reform of no-fault divorce….

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Good Questions

14 July 2023

I’ve always loved good questions as much as the answers. Questions open doors. They can build connection. Patti Digh’s weekly news from the Orange Desk is a welcome read. Informative, interesting, quirky. This week Patti quotes the writer, Rainer Maria Rilke: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart…

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What is Love?

2 July 2023

What is Love? Home by Imelda May ‘What is love?’, you ask My head spins, recallin’ every song Story, words, and glorious things I ever heard Every cliché rings in my ears Like a bell announcin’ the birth of a new day Or the death of yesterday Depends on how…

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Sacred Space

26 June 2023

There’s a space we can lean into when it feels like there’s no space at all. The space of the breath. Of feeling the ground beneath our feet. The space of holding ourself close. It might be easy to find ‘the sacred space’ as you sit here and read this….

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The Fisherwoman’s Net and an Invitation

24 June 2023

Come and join me for two sessions at the Golden Anniversary Conference and Dinner. I will guide a session on inspiring ceremonies and in the evening share a collection of poetry about celebrancy. Click here for an introduction to my poetry and a reading of The Fisherwoman’s Net.  This poem…

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In Conversation, Wendy Haynes and Chani Grieve

20 June 2023

This One Precious Life Last week, I had a wonderful conversation with Chani Grieve, the host of The Embodiment Journey. I am a guest speaker in Module 5 of her program, Trusting the Heart where she is introducing how a path with heart allows us to live and love fully, and also helps…

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Hymn to the Sacred Body of the Universe

14 June 2023

let’s meet at the confluence where you flow into me and one breath swirls between our lungs Andrew Dellinger   Photo: Wendy Haynes

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Alone and Together

6 June 2023

A Love Like No Other Wrapped in her possum skin cloak, Gina’s softness towards life and the land is apparent in its rawness. Gina’s knowing and trust of the lands capacity to hold her and love her was embodied. She leans into the relationship between earth, body, heart and mind….

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A Eulogy—The Silence a Mother Leaves; or, Heather, that Heathy Flower by Mark Tredinnick

15 May 2023

Mark Tredinnick is a celebrated poet, essayist, and teacher. He is also a son. I have just finished reading  Mark’s beautifully crafted and very moving tribute to his mother, Heather. It’s worth reading in a quiet place. Get comfortable and give yourself the time to soak in Mark’s eulogy to…

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I Will Meet You in The Field

11 May 2023

The Field—A Little Bit More Than A Sijo  Wendy Haynes   ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. — Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks          Before I meet you there,   may I    steal     a moment        …

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Join me in Melbourne 29th July 2023

3 May 2023

Join us for a wonderful day of celebrating our celebrant history, and a look into the future and how to produce wonderful and relevant ceremonies. TCN National Conference 2023 Golden Anniversary Conference + Optional Dinner Saturday 29th July 2023 9am-10pm Batman Hill on Collins (opposite Southern Cross Station in Collins…

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In Memory of Lisa Boothman

2 May 2023

I met Charles many years ago when he joined the local Professional Celebrant Network Support group here on the mid north coast. He retired a few years ago to spend more time with his wife, Lisa. It was very sad when he called to let me know Lisa had died….

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True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

1 May 2023

Without true love, life has no meaning. Love is something organic, and if we don’t know how to handle love, it will turn into hate or despair, so we have to learn how to feed our love, so our love will continue to grow. In the teaching of the Buddha,…

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Celebrating Love

30 April 2023

When Anne and Laurie wrote love letters to each other in preparation for their vows, Laurie wrote, “Anne, you came into my life like a knock on the door announcing the arrival of a new epoch.  Although you were only steps from my door, it felt like we had both…

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Last chance to join me once a month….

29 April 2023

ONCE A MONTH, come gather with beautiful folk from around the world. The program will close to new participants after this session. Tonight, Monday, 1st May, 6.30pm AEST or join the Friday morning group, 5th May at 9am AEST. ‘Inspiring, empowering, peaceful, heartfelt, enlightening’… Celebrating This Precious Life: Honest Conversations…

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In Memory of Evelyn Hague

27 April 2023

Strong and Determined at 96 years old… Evelyn’s family gathered on Thursday to pay their respect to their mum, nana, nanny Evelyn. I met Evelyn nearly two years ago, in the middle of the pandemic restrictions at the funeral of her beloved daughter, Diane.  Diane died in June 2021 and,…

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An Elegy for Mark Sandstrom

15 April 2023

For Mark—In Remembrance In my office I saw the email shoot across my screen and it caught my attention. One of the women who was joining one of my programs wrote, ‘I think you may have been the celebrant for my husband’s funeral a long time ago.’ I found the…

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Estrangement in a Family (when planning a ceremony)

3 April 2023

Family life can be challenging… and it can be hard to re-build bridges that have been burnt. In my work as a celebrant, I come across situations regularly where one or more family members are estranged. Sometimes, there is an acceptance and/or very clear boundaries about the estrangement and, at…

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Celebrating the Life of Greg Warburton

20 March 2023

The Celebration of the Life of Greg Warburton Saturday 4th March 2023, Gleniffer Hall Excerpts from the Ceremony including Music Selection and Lyrics Opening Music: Land of Anaka by Geoffrey Oryema (Chorus lyrics) Obiga lead me in this darkness Show me the way Obiga take me to a place Where I…

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Honest Conversations in the Garden

19 March 2023

It was a lovely gathering that fostered a sense of connection, care, curiosity and openness. In our short time together we covered practices that, once they become familiar, can increase capacity to engage in difficult conversations… whether to do with living or dying. We shared our stories and dipped lightly into: what…

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Intimate Celebrations

19 March 2023

The Intensity of Grief It can be hard to say goodbye, no matter the circumstances. For a close knit family or community holding an intimate ceremony to share the grief and love can be a powerful way for grief to be witnessed in a safe space. Such was the case…

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What Time Is It?

17 March 2023

It’s Time to Talk about Death and Dying A fabulous list of great things to read, watch and talk about…. Death Literacy, Planning and Conversation Tools

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Mister Rogers

11 March 2023

    Living well for a cause… with kindness. I first came across Fred Rogers after seeing a recording of him giving voice to why the children’s program,  Mr Rogers Neighbourhood should received the necessary funding to keep it going strong. He was successful at getting the funding through kindness,…

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Celebrating the Life of Margaret Crawley

7 March 2023

Honouring the Life of Margaret Crawley Words of Remembrance Margaret, Marg, mumma Bear, mum, nan…. adored her only grandson, Harry and her daughters, Sandy and Michelle and Michelle’s partner, Jason. She loved and respected her mum and dad, Royal and Mavis, and her siblings, Bruce, Joy, Cliff, Donald, Philip and…

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Being and Doing…

5 March 2023

One of the gifts that came to me during my time of healing last year is a joyful connection to poetry. I am re-writing the program, Celebrating This Precious Life: Honest Conversations about Death and Dying, creating poetry to introduce the themes for conversations. This, I find, requires a lot…

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This is How Water Loves

28 February 2023

We return to each other in waves. This is how water loves. Nayyirah Waheed

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Can’t Help Falling in Love

26 February 2023

Last weekend, Julian and Clarisse were married in the meditation hall at Bundagen, on a warm afternoon surrounded by the tall, cool rainforest. Their family and friends overflowed onto the decks of this beautiful, quiet space. Family had flown in from Brazil and there were copies of the ceremony available…

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Jodie’s Starfish and Rainbow Connection

10 February 2023

Ceremony for the celebration of the life of Jodie Bowron. Scotts Recreation and Surf Club   Wednesday 4pm 5.2.23 Music: Forest Gump Soundtrack Welcome to Country: Kelvin Jarrett We gather to honour the beautiful life of Jodie Bowron. On behalf of Jodie’s wife, Linda, and their daughters, Jorja and Malika, I…

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I Did It My Way

4 February 2023

I recently received a request for an interment of ashes for an old lady. The lady was estranged from her biological family so I spoke with the stepson, Stan.* My heart went out to Stan as he spoke to the character of his stepmother, Joan. ‘She was nasty’, he repeated…

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Tangled Weeds

1 February 2023

If you have some experience of how the weeds in your mind change into mental nourishment, your practice will make remarkable progress. Shunryu Suzuki Self-empathy is a practice of giving attention to the weeds in your mind… so you can listen with presence to what they are pointing to. My…

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When Death Comes

29 January 2023

This post was inspired by a letter I wrote to a friend who recently bought a copy of my book, Inspiring Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies. Death is a sacred time and, in most cases, for the ceremony you can create what you feel would be true for you, for the…

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Celebrating This Precious Life

27 January 2023

Celebrating This Precious Life – Honest Conversations about Death and Dying You are welcome to join me for the next six-month online program, “Celebrating This Precious Life: Honest Conversations about Death and Dying”. There are seven sessions once a month on the first Monday of the month. Starting April 2023…

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Being With Those in Deep Grief

12 January 2023

Let the Candles Speak —by Patricia McKernon Runkle Slip off your needs and set them by the door. Enter barefoot this darkened chapel hollowed by loss hallowed by sorrow its gray stone walls and floor. You, congregation of one are here to listen not to sing. Kneel in the back…

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The Journey of Love

6 January 2023

My dear friend, Ankya, who recently died, shared this poem with me a few years ago. Ankya was a wise elder… she was strong, vulnerable, gorgeous, funny, inquisitive… she was authentic in every way.   The Journey of Love —Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer When my teacher told me Everything we love…

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With love, Ankya

4 January 2023

My dear friend, Ankya Klay, died suddenly on Monday. There is a tenderness knowing that yet another one of my friends has left this world; and a warmth knowing she and I had many conversations about this very moment. When I heard the news, I saw her beautiful smile and…

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What is Love on New Years Eve?

31 December 2022

We had a NYE family ritual when my kids were little of putting a large piece of cardboard or butchers paper in the centre of the floor or table. We would all have coloured pens and write down the things that had touched us in the current year. Highlights, gifts…

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Convergent Facilitation

18 December 2022

One of the many things I love about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is the people. I studied Convergent Facilitation (CF) with NVC trainer Miki Kashtan and she is nothing short of a powerhouse of courage, vulnerability and a woman of straight-talking and action. Convergent Facilitation is a means whereby people come…

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Farewell Dr Sharon White

13 December 2022

Celebration of the Life of Sharon White Tuesday 13th December 2022, River View Island, Tewinga, NSW   Opening Music: Cool Change—Little River Band Welcome to Country: Michael Jarrett I’d like to welcome you to this ceremony to honour the life of Sharon White, also known as mum, Shaz, Shazza and…

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Celebrating the Life of Shirley Passmore

8 December 2022

Words of Remembrance Shirley will be remembered for her love of her family—her parents, her siblings and their families. She cherished her husband, Jimmy, and their two children, Murray and his wife, Robyn and Vikki; and she adored her grandchildren, and great, and great, great grandchildren. Shirley will be remembered…

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Love is… eloping

4 December 2022

As I walked around the corner of the sandy cove it was clear where I was going. There were two tripods made from beach driftwood, bound together by hessian ribbon and decked with a raucous display of native flowers. These sentinels sat at the edge of a circle that had been…

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Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence February 2023

30 November 2022

I’m back for 2023! I am delighted to announce that Kate Raffin and I will be hosting two Ongo programs next year starting in February. 12 week Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence online program – a practical, doable guide if you want: to relate to others in a more collaborative way that brings connection even…

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Come to the End Together

22 November 2022

The bride showed me a small shallow, intricately carved bowl with two flat lug handles. The quaich had been in her Scottish grandparents family home for generations. Traditionally the quaich (pronounced quake) was used as a cup of welcome or farewell in the Scottish Highlands – usually filled with brandy or…

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Upon Waking

15 November 2022

Being Wendy Mindfulness—awareness of the present moment, without judgement. A foundational way of meeting ourselves in all our fullness, colours, stories, feelings, sensations. Our body. Our breath. That quiet moment between sleeping and waking, before the thoughts cloud the empty space of being. Before the list of things to do takes…

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Thorny Conversations

7 November 2022

Mindfulness: Engaging in Thorny Conversations as a Celebrant  The Celebrant School in New Zealand is hosting a very special program next month. Join popular presenter and celebrant coach, Wendy Haynes on Mon 21 & 28 Nov by Zoom, 7-9pm, if you ever find yourself caught in these thorny situations as…

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The Well of Grief by David Whyte

1 November 2022

The Well of Grief Those who will not slip beneath the still surface on the well of grief, turning down through its black water to the place we cannot breathe, will never know the source from which we drink, the secret water, cold and clear, nor find in the darkness…

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Loving kindness one breath at a time

31 October 2022

“Close your eyes or simply let them soften. Take a few deep breaths and then it fall into a comfortable rhythm… Turn your attention to the energy of loving kindness that lives in you. Offering this energy of loving kindness to yourself, say, in the quiet of your own heart. May…

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Shhh…eloping on Friday

30 October 2022

I met a lovely couple who are choosing to have a quiet weekend away with their children… to get married.  They have a big family and many friends so they feel a wedding would get out of hand pretty quickly if they did the big wedding celebration and they wanted…

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Memorial Service in the Japanese Garden

25 October 2022

Memorial Service for Hilda Martin The Coffs Harbour Regional Botanic Garden A magpie sat on the bench at the very back of the pagoda of the Japanese Garden. It moved its head from side to side as the family placed their mother’s box of ashes on the table. Two colourful…

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A Chook Raffle at the Memorial

21 October 2022

In Memory of Kevin Cosgrove Kevin was a larger than life character who was loved by his family and friends. The celebration that his wife, Pauline and daughter, Pip created was a perfect reflection of the man they loved. The memorial service was held in the Raleigh Hall: simply decorated,…

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Being in Wild Places

20 October 2022

Climbing great heights up sculpted rock pathways, walking in dark moss filled rainforest, looking over steep cliff edges to the dark blue ocean below; being in awe of the spring wildflowers, gifted with a gentle breeze and blues skies, revisiting a place where I spent my childhood and early teens……

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Loving Kindness Meditation and Ongo 2.0

28 September 2022

I am constantly amazed by the offerings given to the world by Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence authors, Catherine Cadden and Jesse Wiens Chu.  I extend their invitation to join us online. The short video meditation is a gem that is beautifully crafted together. Catherine and Jesse write: The Ongo Book 2.0 is here,…

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The Long Now—Bunya Time

28 September 2022

The Long Now   I have joined the faculty at The Fifth Direction! I’ll be hosting the Elder Wisdom Circle online every fourth Monday of the month at 7.30pm (Sydney, NSW). You are most welcome to join me in the company of a beautiful group of women. Thank you to…

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Funeral for a Child

15 September 2022

One of the hardest ceremonies to write is that for a young child. This little girl died from unknown causes and, as you can imagine, caused a tidal wave of shock and grief in this young couple’s life. Here are some excerpts I wrote for the ceremony. I have changed…

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The Hannafords

12 September 2022

An Old Coffs Harbour Family The Hannaford family contacted me as  they had a last minute change when planning the funeral ceremony for their beautiful mum, Neta. The minister they had hoped would conduct the funeral service had a family matter arise. We met Friday evening for the ceremony on…

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How clear, how lovely bright…

12 September 2022

Celebration of the Life of Heatherbelle Lee I cannot remember where I first met Heatherbelle over two decades ago; and yet I can say with certainty that her smile was present every time we saw each other. In her last week, she requested I visit to discuss ‘death and dying’…

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Dead Awkward Conversation

3 September 2022

“Have you got a story burning a hole in your bottom drawer or a pile of writing that sounds better spoken? Do you want to deliver presentations without slides or are you learning to perform your poetry? Learn to combine writing with public speaking. Whatever you call your text, it is…

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Four Funerals and a Poetry Slam

1 September 2022

It’s been a beautiful and busy week with four funerals and a poetry slam. Roslyn McMaster Last week on Wednesday 24th August the McMaster family said goodbye to Roslyn. These are some of the words of remembrance before I closed the ceremony. Roslyn’s kind, thoughtful and supportive nature will be…

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In Conversation and Poetry

15 August 2022

Poetry is leading the way for me at present. Calling me in the night and early morning—a conduit for the various layers of undoing, sense-making, ritual practice, deep listening, being and giving that this life has offered up… especially recently.  I joined  Asher Packman from The Fifth Direction on Monday…

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Dying to Know Day

13 August 2022

On a sunny Sunday morning in the local community garden, 40 people gathered to yarn up Death and Dying. Gumbaynggir man, Micklo Jarrett engaged us enthusiastically with his deep infectious laughter, embodied Gumbaynggirr language and the story of the tree of life. After his Welcome to Country in language he…

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Forgiveness

5 August 2022

The wonderful poet, David Whyte hosts a series of talks every second month, called the Three Sundays. In the last session of The Three Sunday’s in July he read the poem, Forgiveness from his book, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. This inspired me to use his…

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Home Death—A Haibun

4 August 2022

Home Death—A Haibun   (Prose and Haiku) The young woman was a mother of four children—her drawn, pale skin tight on the small frame that was once full of energy. The breast cancer had slowly crept into every soft curve of her body. Her mind, at this moment of the…

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The Peace of Wild Things

1 August 2022

The Peace of Wild Things The Peace of Wild Things—written and read by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down…

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Online Mourning and Celebration Circle Monday 8th August 7pm-8.30pm AEST

31 July 2022

Using guided practices from the mindfulness, Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence and Celebrating This Precious Life programs, we will come together online to share our Mourning and Celebration Circle. Mourning… the loss of a beloved family member, friend, pet, member of the community… or the loss of a job, a change of situation, financial…

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Dropping Into Life: The invitation at diagnosis and through recovery

30 July 2022

Mel Greblo from The Coterie Global invited me to join her in Conversation. The end of 2021 for Wendy Haynes brought with it a stark and unexpected diagnosis—a rare ovarian cancer. The dawn of the new year would be marked by radical surgery to remove the tumour and learning whether the cancer…

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Acknowledgement of Country

27 July 2022

Acknowledgement of Country I give thanks for the beauty and support of the land upon which I get to live, work and play— and support ways of conciliation by giving voice to my knowing of whose land I am on—the Indigenous people have been connected to Country for tens of thousands…

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Naming Ceremony for Clara Rose

27 July 2022

Naming/Welcoming Ceremony for Clara Rose Yesterday, I conducted an enactment of a naming ceremony for the participants of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants National Conference in Adelaide. Michael Elwood, one of the conference team, invited his daughter, Diana and her husband, Nathan and their beautiful daughter, Clara Rose, to…

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Diversity, Inclusion and Inspiration

26 July 2022

Diversity is the mix, inclusion is making the mix work.  Andres Tapia Diversity, Inclusion and Inspiration was the theme for the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrations National Conference in Adelaide this year. As the main speaker, I offered the following story.* “Imagine you are hosting a dinner party. Every guest…

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Leaves of Love

25 July 2022

Blessings from the celebrant community At the recent Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants National Conference held in Adelaide, I conducted an enactment of a naming ceremony. The celebrants participating were encouraged to write a blessing for the family prior to the start of the enactment. I invited them to imagine…

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A Natural History of Love

25 July 2022

A Natural History Of Love —Diane Ackerman “Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful. It has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble,…

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Introduction to Mindfulness and NVC

22 July 2022

John Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as: ‘Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.’ At a very difficult emotional period in my life, my sister in law, Terry, sent me this link to a talk by John Kabat-Zinn. I researched the…

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Dying to Know Day 8th August 2022

20 July 2022

Monday 8th August is the National Dying to Know Day. “An annual campaign that empowers Australians at all stages of life to live and die well.” You can find lots of amazing events and gatherings on their 2022 events page, some from the Groundswell Project Australia and others from individuals, organisations…

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Matariki

12 July 2022

Matariki – Ritual of Reverence and Respect On this starry, cold winter’s night in Australia, with the moon nearly full I joined The Celebrant School in New Zealand to participate in an online ceremony for Matariki. In New Zealand, the appearance of Matariki (the Pleiades) marks the start of the…

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Upcoming Events

10 July 2022

I am slowly making my way back out into the world after a period of recovery, rest and retreat and wanted to invite you to join me at three gatherings where I’ll be sharing stories of my experiences with Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence, Mindfulness… and some of my poetry. Some of…

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Dropping into Life

28 June 2022

Dropping into Life: The invitation at diagnosis and through recovery As a guest facilitator of the Renew and Rise Festival last year I was delighted to be a part of an inspiring and creative team. The online festival was hosted by Mel Greblo, a dear friend and colleague. Mel has invited…

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The Impermanence of Being Here

23 June 2022

The Impermanence of Being Here—this was my first choice that I performed at the Bellingen Readers and Writers Poetry Slam 2022. My first ever poetry performance, my first ever poetry slam.  I know that may sound strange given that I’ve read lots of poetry at lots of ceremony and for…

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Poetry Slam—Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 2022

11 June 2022

Bellingen Readers Writers Festival 2022 If I had known what a Poetry Slam was, I wouldn’t have performed. One of my Bellingen friends suggested that I enter the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival Poetry Slam. The rules looked straightforward—three, three minute poems, no props, no music. I signed up without any…

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

6 June 2022

A popular song for funerals and this week it was chosen to commence the funeral ceremony for Greg Blain. The family chose the version played by Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole. In this video, at 2.37minutes you can see the paddle out organised for Israel’s scattering of ashes—a very moving expression of…

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Come join me at the AFCC National Conference in Adelaide

1 June 2022

I am honoured to have been invited by the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) to speak at their 2022 National Conference—Sunday 24th July to Wednesday 27th July 2022. The Conference will open on Monday 25th with dancer, writer, stockbroker, family man, Li Cunxin as the Keynote Speaker—The Power of Story. After Li…

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Gentle Waves, Slow Time

28 May 2022

I’m resting on Gunggandji Country—a small island just off Cairns. A week to rejuvenate with my beloved. This weeks practices have focused on body and breath awareness. A previous spinal neck injury has flared up causing considerable pain—it’s at times like these that I bow down to the skills that I…

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Join me at the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 10-12th June 2022

25 May 2022

It was an act of grace signing up for poet, Mark Tredinnick’s ‘What the Light Tells’ Poetry Masterclass late last year. Completing his inspiring workshop series is responsible for me being a part of this years Bellingen’s Readers and Writers Festival. I’ve signed up for the Poetry Slam on Friday…

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The Creative Oasis

4 May 2022

Tonight I was working online with a fabulous group of inspirational, brave, creative, willing and responsive celebrants from the The Celebrant School, Te Wänanga Korowai Aroha in New Zealand. Kathrine from The Celebrant School organised three sessions that I facilitated online called the Creative Oasis—writing practices for celebrants. The participants shared notes,…

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Tears, Grief and Forgiveness

28 April 2022

The sky is a mass of pink cotton-balls as the evening closes in—the lorikeets have gone their way and there is a solitary bird singing just outside my window. I sit here in my lounge room as the chill sets in and I wrap my scarf around my neck. I’ve…

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21st Birthday Celebration

23 April 2022

21st Birthday Celebration Celebrant, Kathrine Fraser, joined the Writing Oasis run by The Celebrant School – Te Wānanga Korowai Aroha in New Zealand. As the guest facilitator, I created activities and prompts to help develop ceremony openings. Kathrine shared what she wrote for her son, Martin for his 21st birthday celebration…

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Goodbye Cancer

10 April 2022

Love my Cancer Goodbye! Last Thursday I was in Sydney to see my Gynae-Oncologist, Dr Rhonda Farrell, who confirmed that my Inhibin B blood count, which indicates the presence of the Granalosa tumour cells, is now under 10 which is within the normal range.  In January, just before the surgical…

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Keening on the Isle of Harris

6 April 2022

Peggy and I met in Sandy Beach here in northern NSW and the brisk wind came in from the south as the season turned. The lorikeets feasted on the autumn blossoms. Peggy had been given three weeks to live.  With my pen in hand taking notes for her funeral ceremony,…

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What Would Love Want Me to Do?

3 April 2022

I’ve been in Sydney this last week staying at McMahons Point—a place I am not familiar with. Each day I would set out, rain or shine, and follow my heart, the sun, the path, a twist or turn, an interesting house, a beautiful tree and see where it would take…

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Foundations of Mindfulness

29 March 2022

As I recover from the amazing journey that I have had with ovarian cancer, I am feeling stronger in the body yet my energy is still called upon to meet the day to day challenge of tiredness. I have been turning towards my practices and decided to focus daily on…

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Writing Oasis and Mindfulness Programs for March 2022

27 March 2022

Writing Oasis I have been frustrated over the years by writing workshops that haven’t met my expectations. This, tonight, exceeded them by light years. Amazing tutor, beautiful content and inspirational fellow students. Feeling like I just won Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket right now! Loved the learning & encouragement from this…

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Where Do I Have Agency When It Comes To War?

17 March 2022

Where Do I Have Agency When It Comes to War? My dear friend, spiritual director and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) colleague, Pam Winthrop Lauer attended a call with one of my NVC teachers, Miki Kashtan. Where Do I Have Agency When It Comes To War—Antidote to Helplessness: Notes from a call…

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For the Love of Nana…

10 March 2022

Tributes from Grandchildren to Their Beloved Nana The love between a grandparent and a grandchild can be richly encompassing and nourishing. Jenny loved and adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Here are the three beautiful tributes that were shared on the day of Jenny’s graveside funeral—spoken with tears of love…

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Grandma, can you tell me what is going on?

9 March 2022

There is Room at the Table for Everyone We all have something we can bring to the table whether it is joining the front lines of actions or keeping the home fires burning. We each have a unique way of showing up in the world and finding our way to…

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Time to Say Goodbye to Jenny

4 March 2022

Farewell Jenny and Stan Eleven months ago, I conducted the graveside ceremony for my friend’s elderly father, Stan Szewczyk. The stories around the dinner table as we gathered to create the ceremony were filled with lots of laughter and good memories and inevitably, tears for this transition they all knew…

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Living with Uncertainty

28 February 2022

With the current crises happening around the world and, more locally, with the intense flooding along the east coast of Australia, it can be a challenge to stay connected to what nourishes and supports us. As I was walking the headland this morning with my partner I felt deeply tired…

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Worry, worry, worry

26 February 2022

I sit and write at my table that overlooks my garden. It’s raining a lot. Here in Gumbaynggir country and all up and down the east coast of Australia, we are in the midst of torrential downpours, flooding, big seas and strong winds. There are intermittent breaks in the rain…

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What the Light Tells

23 February 2022

I have been enjoying participation in the Poetry Masterclass, What the Light Tells, with acclaimed teacher and poet Mark Tredinnick during my recovery time. It’s been an inspiration. Each week we have learnt a few different forms and I have stretched my brain around Iambic Pentameters, beats and rhyming words—sonnets, haiku,…

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A Gate to Walk Through

9 February 2022

I’m humming along this new path of resting after my surgery a few weeks ago. I am bone tired, at times, which supports me to embrace the rest with a sense of gratitude for the love and care that is being showered upon me, which is richly nourishing and healing….

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The New Moon

1 February 2022

Sowing Seeds For as long as I can remember, I have sown seeds in my vegetable garden in the first week of the new moon. I used to buy the moon planting charts yet, the truth is, I didn’t take too much notice of the elaborate astrological computations as to…

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Welcome Home

29 January 2022

In the Hands of Grace Five weeks ago, I was sitting on the steps, in the small circular grassed amphitheatre at the front of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. I had just seen my Gynaecological Oncologist, Associate Professor Rhonda Farrell, I called my partner to let him know that I…

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Honouring Thich Nhat Hanh – An Inspiring Teacher

22 January 2022

Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk died yesterday, aged 95. I smiled with gratitude and felt a warmth in my heart for this beloved teacher. I sat and watched my breath. I am aware that I am breathing in. I am aware that I am breathing out. Thay’s…

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The Results are In

22 January 2022

‘Hello Wendy!’  The joyful sound of Rhonda’s voice made me smile.  ‘It was a Granlosa cell tumour confined to the ovary.’ My surgeon continued the message, ‘Great news, the rest of the lab tests came back negative. You won’t need any more treatment, just follow up tests and regular checkups….

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A Flat Line in a Vast Space

21 January 2022

Flat Line The dictionary* describes a flat line as: To show a horizontal line on the monitor of an electrocardiogram or an electroencephalogram, indicating no electrical activity. Informal To die. To be in an unchanging condition Flat lining best describes the strangeness in me last night and upon my first waking. As someone who, on most mornings, gets out of bed with a sense of anticipation and welcoming in…

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Resting Under the Power of Trees

20 January 2022

Day Six. Found a park bench to rest under some trees. The grey sky, cool wind, spitting rain and new growth remind me of the Snowy Mountains yet I find myself here in Sydney. Resting as if in the wilderness. Surgery demands it of me. Rest can be an elusive…

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Music for the Soul

19 January 2022

The body is doing well. I still ache however today I stopped the pain meds and there is ease. I am in a quiet place and feel blessed to have the resources to rest. There are four nice scars, healing on the points where the surgeon entered to do truly…

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Flowers in a Box

18 January 2022

I heard the delivery man call out from the gate. Is your name Wendy? He handed me a beautiful floral oblong box, not too dissimilar to a narrow, small hand decorated cardboard coffin. I laughed and cried when I opened it up to reveal a vase full of budding sunflowers and…

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Getting My Bearings, Finding East

17 January 2022

The sun set in the west over Botany Bay once again last night and, without fail, this morning the sun rose on its own accord over the Pacific Ocean. There can’t be too many patients who wander around the corridors, compass in hand, in the early hours looking for an…

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The Dark Night

16 January 2022

The third day blues. Inevitable. A doctor friend called it the day of reckoning. A restless night with bad dreams, fear, pain, questioning with periods of drifting off to sleep and light dozing so as not to completely wake me up, rather keep me that ‘dark night’ space. I sit…

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Celebrating this Precious Life

15 January 2022

Yesterday, as I lay outside the surgical theatre, I could hear the music inside, muffled voices and the preparation of things being moved about. I had requested to not have the pre-op sedation so I was lying on the bed fully conscious. I found my mind wandering as I looked…

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Palanca – A Form of Prayer, Encouragement and Support

13 January 2022

Yesterday one of my colleagues who I got to meet in person very recently, sent me an email, ‘Good evening Wendy and my blessings for this New Year. With your upcoming surgery on 14 January I will Palanca for you all day.’ Marg is a woman of devotion  and this…

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On the Path

13 January 2022

A normal blood test result of Inhibin B is under 10. Today my surgeon gave me news that my count is 9740 which is consistent with my lesion having a 95% chance of being a Granalosa cell tumour, a rare form of ovarian cancer. After yesterdays post, I feel into…

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Trusting the Unknown

12 January 2022

The plane hurtled down the runway increasing speed as I watched the lush green mountains of Gumbaynggirr country rise up behind Coffs Harbour Airport. The plane wheels lift up off the ground and we are airborne. What strangeness is it that, without any hesitation, I put myself forward and pay…

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Memorial Service for Robert Gonzales

6 January 2022

Remembering Robert Gonzales as playful inspiration, embodied compassion, still presence and one of the great teachers in my life. Robert initiated my understanding that compassionate Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and the living quality of presence was not only possible, it could also foster and enhance peace and connection within a community….

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New Years Day Meditation – 1.1.22 7.30pm AEDT

31 December 2021

A very warm welcome to join in our community practice of breathing together. Of holding space, presence, awareness, cultivating peace together. Please feel free to join me at 7.30pm AEDT (Sydney, NSW) for half hour guided mindfulness practice holding the qualities of gratitude and opening to life, to intention, to presence. The…

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Postponement of Programs – Unexpected Offering for 2022

30 December 2021

Happy New Year dear friends across the world! I am deeply grateful for your presence and support over this last year. We have laughed and cried together, shared practices, stories, inspirational writing and poetry and for some of you, we have walked together in wild places. I have felt nourished,…

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Online Memorial Ceremony for Paul

20 December 2021

Family and friends gathered online with some nervousness wondering what would happen. It can be hard to show up to something you have no idea about. What will we do? How will we connect? Will it be safe? Paul’s partner had chosen a song to open the mourning and celebration…

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Vale, dear friend, Misha Norland

6 December 2021

Beloved Misha What am I both mourning and celebrating? The richness and integrity of our conversations, his delightful open questions. Listening to his choice of music in the ‘hallowed’ space in the sacred middle space. The walks in the woods and Devon pathways. Misha’s big smile, wise words, quiet presence…

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Welcome to Country? Respect, Responsibility, Reciprocity

5 December 2021

Don’t just talk it, live it. As a participant in We Al-li’s* program, Dadirri, Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Traditions, I was listening to the introduction by lead facilitator, Judy Atkinson.  A woman I greatly admire for her clear, direct, honest communication and passion for her work. She shared a pivotal moment…

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Honouring the Life of Ria Gimbergh

3 December 2021

A Service Of Celebration And Thanksgiving For The Life Of Anna Maria ‘Ria’ Gimbergh Bob walked slowly over to the magnolia tree. He stood a while and looked up at the creamy white and dying brown flowers. With tears in his eyes, he walked slowly back and turned to me,…

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Celebrating the Life of Brian Trethowan

2 December 2021

A Service Of Celebration And Thanksgiving For The Life Of Brian Trethowan “Brian lived a life that was blessed with a loving family, hard work, opportunities to grow and learn and, as with every person here, he had his challenges. There are many different stories here today, each one of…

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Pauline Lancaster – Mum, Nan, Nanny Paul, Pauline

1 December 2021

Rani, Pauline’s granddaughter pre-recording this reading which was shared at the ceremony via the platform Zoom What is Dying?  by Bishop Charles Henry Brent I am standing on the seashore. A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object and I stand watching her…

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Reflections from the Funeral Ceremony for Thomas ‘Tuck’ Hall

1 December 2021

Tuck Hall. A true blue gentleman While speaking with the family of the late Tuck Hall, his daughter, Jo brought out a small carving of a white cockatoo. She shared how much her dad had loved these birds. When I was leaving the family home of the Hall Clan, on…

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A Blessing for a Couple Coming Together

29 November 2021

There were many beautifully written pieces as we engaged with the practices of the ‘Writing and Enthusiasm’ seriously playful, creating writing session this week. I’d like to share this one written by participant, Simone Wilkie. A Blessing for a Couple Coming Together This life will be a dance together, sometimes…

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Gumbaynggirr Healing Smoking Ceremony, Water Blessing and Paddle Out.

20 November 2021

Nearly three months ago, Emerald Beach experienced the tragedy and shock of a fatal shark attack on one of the most perfect Sunday beach mornings. It was the 5th September, 2021, Father’s Day. The young man, Tim, who died on the beach, was not long married and his beautiful wife,…

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Blessing for a Marriage

13 November 2021

Calling in the elements to remind us of what is already here. The gifts the come from listening to the forces that touch and guide us in the most subtle yet beautiful ways. The poet John O’Donohue offers this blessing. FOR MARRIAGE As spring unfolds the dream of the earth, May…

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Meeting Grief and Bringing Comfort In

6 November 2021

When You Meet Someone Deep in Grief Slip off your needs and set them by the door. Enter barefoot this darkened chapel hollowed by loss hollowed by sorrow its gray stone walls and floor. You, congregation of one are here to listen not to sing. Kneel in the back pew…

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Upcoming Events

31 October 2021

Mindfulness Meditation Quiet, still awareness supporting friendliness, kindness and peace. Every Tuesday 7pm AEDT – a guided mindfulness practice with a small group of people online. Click here to register and get the link. Holding Space: Honest Conversations Mindfulness, Grounding, Deep Listening and Self Empathy. Online – Thursday 18th November…

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Holding Space for Honest Conversations

29 October 2021

Holding space… invites us to bring a mindful presence to our interactions. A space where we want to connect, we are interested in what is being shared and also, where we foster a sense of non judgement. It doesn’t mean that we always agree or have the same views. It means…

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Ceremony Writers’ Collective Online Program – Writing and Inspiration

27 October 2021

If you are looking for inspiration to write ceremonies or a reading; or you just want to write for yourself about love, life and loss, you will be made most welcome. Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a celebrant to join. When writing ceremonies, there are occasions that…

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After the storm, a fresh start

19 October 2021

Preparing for my upcoming session at the Renew and Rise Virtual Festival I contemplated how I could weave the threads of my work together. A rich blend of holding space for ceremonies, the honest conversations around death and dying, the mourning and celebration circles, online memorial services, non violent communication…

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Acknowledgement of Country and Place

15 October 2021

Acknowledgement of Country A celebrant in New Zealand requested some ideas for a ceremony she was conducting. “I have an Australian groom, who has asked me if I am able to acknowledge the ground/land that his ceremony will be held on in Queenstown – like they do in Australia with…

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Playback Theatre

26 September 2021

Playback Theatre. Standing shoulder to shoulder, feeling slightly hotter than is comfortable and breathing a little deeper to try and rein in the racing heart, I notice that my capacity to think is diminishing rapidly, which is not necessarily a bad thing given what is about to happen. I realise…

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Coming to Ground

24 September 2021

Coming to Ground. Bear with me while I tell you about tiredness. It can creep up on you when you’re not watching or hit you like falling off a cliff. Let me tell you about the moment that I lay on the ground and completely let go to the earth…

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Talking with Children about Traumatic Events

22 September 2021

Building Healthy Communities -Talking with Children about Traumatic Events I am caring for my 4 and 7-year-old grandsons this weekend, here in Emerald Beach, so I opened the conversation with my daughter about taking the children to the water blessing/paddle out tomorrow that will be held at Shelley’s Beach in…

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Mourning and Celebration Circle

18 September 2021

Mourning and Celebration Circle – how it touches people’s lives. Helena, who lives in Portugal, emailed me after her friend and colleague, Sam, thought she might be interested in a mourning and celebration circle to honour her dearest friend and partner, Pedro, who had died unexpectedly two weeks earlier.  Pedro…

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Online Memorial Service with breakout rooms

8 September 2021

Live streaming funerals and online memorial services are becoming a norm for many who are grieving the death of a loved one.  In Australia and New Zealand the lockdowns are still happening with ‘stay at home’ orders in many regions. In NSW, funerals are limited to ten guests. People cannot…

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Gratitude for and from a Poet

8 September 2021

GRATITUDE for being alive, for being aware, for family, friends and community, for teachers, for poets – for David Whyte who writes, “Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and…

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Mindfulness, Heart Conversations, Life and Death

30 August 2021

Mindfulness Meditation Quiet, still awareness supporting friendliness, kindness and peace in oneself. Every Tuesday 7pm AEST – a guided mindfulness practice with a small group of people online. Click here to register and get the link. Ongo: Everyday Nonviolence A path of wisdom, compassion and peace. The current programs have…

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Grief as Water

25 August 2021

Amitaśūrī (pronounced “Ami-ta-shoori”), is an ordained Buddhist who has spent time as a Hospital/Healthcare Chaplain in England and Scotland. The following readings are crafted from the many threads that Amitaśūrī shared about her work and life as we engaged in a conversation about illness, life, loss, grief and death. We talked about…

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Listening to the Inner Conversation

18 August 2021

I participated in a three month online Conversational Leadership program with the poet, David Whyte. earlier this year. David’s first invitation was to ask, ‘What conversations do you want to stop having?’ It struck a deep chord within. What conversations do I want to stop having? Having just finished 14 days…

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Grief for an Unexpected Death

11 August 2021

If you would like co-create a personal reading for a ceremony of any kind please contact me. I offer my services freely and together we can find the words to express what is calling from the heart. Ranjitha and I worked on this reading together after a young family member died….

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Wisdom of a Bear

4 August 2021

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” Worldly Wisdom according to…

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Welcome to the Ceremony

30 July 2021

I feel light of spirit as I share the good news. Module 2 in the inspiring series of creative writing support and prompts for the Ceremony Writers’ Collective has just been released. Welcome to the Ceremony, offers a daily writing prompt over 14 days to stir open the possibilities for crafting…

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Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin – Songs in the Heart

22 July 2021

Celebrating This Precious Life was indeed in the air with our special guest poet and musician, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin who joined us for one of the sessions of the current Death and Dying program. “Mesmerising Irish story-telling, song and profound, profound messages. Very touched by it all. Thank you.” “What an amazing…

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Stimulus and Response in Relationship

15 July 2021

The stimulus and response in relationship is often lightning quick. “Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds.” This is the invitational…

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Condolence Letters of Love and Care

7 July 2021

Condolence Letters of Care and Love Oftentimes, people are unsure of what to say to those who have experienced the death of someone very close to them. Carol, whose husband died unexpectedly, shared these two ‘love notes’ from neighbours that expressed to her a sense of connection, care and that…

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Life is a Great Big Canvas

30 June 2021

Life is a great big canvas, with the possibility of many colours, strokes and styles emerging from the unknown. When a family contacts me to conduct a funeral ceremony the possibilities are endless as to what might happen. The openness, creativity, friendliness and engagement of Jane in her funeral planning…

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What Death Means

23 June 2021

I mentioned in an earlier blog, that when I first became a funeral celebrant one of my favourite books was, A Book of Eulogies; edited with commentary by Phyllis Theroux. It was a gem for many different reasons. Examples of well crafted eulogies, stories and a chapter on, What Death…

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It’s OK

14 June 2021

As I prepare a funeral ceremony with a 74 year old man, who is in palliative care, he shares a few stories with me. The retelling is slow as his mind wanders, yet I could sit for a long time even in the silence between the words. It is frustrating…

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A Eulogy to Remember

9 June 2021

When I was learning to be a funeral celebrant over 20 years ago, one of my favourite books was, A Book of Eulogies; edited with commentary by Phyllis Theroux. (Scribner 1997). There are many yellow sticky markers throughout the pages noting favourite phrases and intriguing perspectives. I was inspired by the…

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Dance: Moving to the Deep Rhythms of Your Life

2 June 2021

A Reading by Oriah “Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart, and I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my…

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You Matter

26 May 2021

In a world culture that is seemingly focused on big, bigger, biggest, best and bestest… this invitation is to come as you are. Whatever groove you are in, whatever dance you are dancing, whatever storm has caught you, creative piece you are creating or sunset you are watching, you are…

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Leaving on His Own Terms

19 May 2021

The sun was shining across the wide expanse of ocean at Woolgoogla Beach – sparkling, magnificence to make one smile at the wonder of this natural landscape on our doorstep. It was a beautiful day for an ‘exit party’ as the Shorter family called it. The atmosphere was filled with…

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Look to This Day!

12 May 2021

A Blessing by Kalidasa Look to this day! For it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course Lie all the verities and realities of your existence: The bliss of growth The glory of action The splendour of beauty For yesterday is but a dream And tomorrow only a…

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A Ritual for Closure – After Divorce or a Separation.

5 May 2021

This couple’s story of their ritual of closure happened quite spontaneously after a few years of painful interactions and challenges. “We were engaging in yet another fight over the same issue that we had been unable to find connection and resolve over. I can still recall the moment very clearly….

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Adrienne Rich – An Honourable Human Relationship

29 April 2021

Adrienne Rich, the American poet, essayist and feminist activist wrote prolifically about honest, alive and meaningful conversations encompassing love, loss and integrity. The following three quotes inspire an enlivening radical honesty to be a welcome mainstay in an ‘honourable human relationship’. Each of these have been used as part of…

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Isa Lei, Farewell

25 April 2021

If you have had the pleasure of visiting a Fijian island, you may have heard the song, Isa Lei, that is often played as you board the boat to leave and wave farewell. I feel the mourning in this song and, in the same breath, feel the gratitude and love. …

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Live a Life that Matters

19 April 2021

What does it take to live a life that matters? Karen was bold and funny, brave and honest and incredibly loyal to those she loved as a mother, sister, aunty, colleague and dear friend. She was a woman who lived life with authenticity and engaging in honest conversations. It was…

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Elder – this is where your life has arrived

17 April 2021

There comes a time when all that has been lived, learned, loved and lost may need space for integration and to be honoured. A space to connect to that which has held you throughout all these adventures, struggles, challenges and … arriving home. A space to lean into the ‘quiet…

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The Ceremony of Meeting, Sharing and Planning

9 April 2021

Walking into the front room, a middle aged woman, eyes blotchy and tired, stood up from the lounge chair and moved towards me. She falters as a wave of emotion washes over her face. She wants to see me and yet she doesn’t. She would rather her son was living…

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Events for April 2021

31 March 2021

NOTE CHANGE to AEST – SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Online Mindfulness Meditation – Every Tuesday 7-7.30pm AEST Foster a sense of peace, presence and connection. To join click this Zoom Link at 7pm AEST on Tuesdays. Everyone welcome. Freely offered. Online Empathy Circles Freely offered. Language: English. For more information click here….

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Children, Stars and Where The Wild Things Are.

20 March 2021

As celebrants we use many resources to write our ceremonies. In particular, the stories of our clients, our inner creative flow in response to these stories and also, the inclusion of readings, poetry and the inspired writing from others. A quote, like the words of wisdom from Aragorn, a character…

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Circling in for the Bride

14 March 2021

Jane rang me five weeks out from her wedding with concerns that her marriage celebrant wasn’t returning her calls. They had paid a booking fee yet hadn’t met with the celebrant to lodge the notice of intent to marry form. Jane was concerned that they would miss the deadline and…

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Welcome to Country

7 March 2021

At a recent funeral ceremony, the family had requested a local indigenous elder, Micklo Jarrett, to come and share a Welcome to Country. The rain was so heavy as I was driving to the venue that I nearly pulled over to wait for it to pass. Half an hour before the ceremony…

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Events for March 2021

28 February 2021

Nourishing, inspiring and deeply connecting. Weekly meditation sessions, monthly empathy circles, two sessions of Celebrating This Precious Life – Honest Conversations about Death and Dying and NEW Celebrant Writing Group. See details below or visit  my Events page. Mindfulness Meditation – Every Tuesday 7-7.30pm AEDT A 30 minute, freely offered,…

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The Weather Comes and Goes. Vast Spaciousness Always Present

24 February 2021

It’s been very stormy here in Gumbaynggirr country,  on the northern NSW coast. Thunderstorms and lightning, sunny breaks, heavy rain… quite unpredictable, wild and beautiful and, beyond all this weather coming and going, a vast spacious expansive sky. With so much uncertainty and many changes occurring in our outer world…

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You Are All Stardust

16 February 2021

As I was crafting a ceremony for a young man who died unexpectedly from an illness, I was moved by his parents, Sarah and David*, sharing stories of their 22 year old son, Peter*, growing up. Aside from his love of nature and being outdoors he was into quantum physics….

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A glass of tea, water, wine and champagne!

10 February 2021

It was hot and humid in the late morning sun on the beachside lawns. Mike and his guests were relaxing in the shade of the casuarinas to one side of the resort garden. Gemma’s mum came through from the reception area to let me know that Gemma had to make…

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Stop and Breathe… it can take practice!

2 February 2021

This 2 minute 40 second meditation is a useful for tool for cultivating a mindful presence so that when we need it in a tricky or challenging situation we have developed our ‘on the go’ mindfulness muscle. It’s a great way to check in, ‘What’s alive for you in this moment?’…

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The Power of Deep Listening

27 January 2021

Dadirri – inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. “In the ceremonies we celebrate the awareness of our lives as sacred” Respected indigenous elder, Aunty Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann received the Australian Senior of the Year Award 2021. Her acceptance speech was very moving. You can listen to it here. …

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One with the Ocean

25 January 2021

On Thursday, we came together as a community to say goodbye to Frank. Frank lived well, playfully and with passion. He was much loved by his wife, family and community. There were many beautiful reflections on his generosity, kindness and love of life, of being one with the ocean. One…

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Remembering a Handwritten Ceremony

10 January 2021

From when I was first registered in 1995, way before Facebook was imagined, I used to take a photograph of every couple and had multiple, beautiful albums filled with photos and thank you cards. Today, as I decluttered filing cabinets and cupboards, I came across all the photo albums. Pages…

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Mindfulness and Loving Kindness

5 January 2021

Life can be challenging, beautiful, stressful, crazy, ugly, divine. Sourcing an inner sense of wellbeing and peace often has to be cultivated, nurtured and nourished so that you can access this presence and stillness no matter what arises. Each week you are welcome to join me for a free online…

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Death is Your Real Nature

2 January 2021

The statement ‘death is your real nature’ may make no sense. Yet, this concept is well-known in Vedic traditions offering great comfort to the living and dying.  It is said that the one of the main fears for humans is the fear of death. Not death itself, rather the thoughts…

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Happy New Year!

31 December 2020

Happy New Year! This dragonfruit flower bloomed today as the dawn was breaking. Its glory may be short-lived yet I celebrated its beauty and offering to the world – to the bee’s, to our family and people who pass by and stop and gaze into the intricate and delicate cup….

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Inspiring Wedding Ceremony Readings

20 December 2020

Wedding ceremony readings come in all shapes and forms and it can be a challenge to source one that speaks to you or the couple 100%. For a start, people use and understand the word love in many ways – love for another, love for the world, love for life,…

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Befriending Death, Embracing Life

15 December 2020

Apparently, one of humanity’s greatest fears is ‘Death’ and, from my experience it is quite often a taboo topic enforced by unspoken social or familial codes or agreements that one should not be morbid or jinx or tempt fate or upset or …. fill in the gaps with whatever reasons…

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The Trauma Hold for Times of Stress

12 December 2020

How to come back into the body under stress.

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Peter and Lauren’s wedding

10 December 2020

Peter and Lauren had a beautiful afternoon for their rehearsal – blue skies and a cool breeze. Lauren’s mum, Angela, and her father, Derek, were going to walk with Lauren from the car to where the guests would be seated. At this point, her father would shake hands with Lauren’s…

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Memorial Ceremony – Tenth Anniversary

7 December 2020

Planning a Memorial Ceremony Online. Mike’s wife, Shania and adult children, Tarn and Bryn and their close family friend, Sarah, organised an online memorial ceremony on the tenth anniversary of Mike’s death. Sarah took responsibility for all of the IT aspects, Zoom set up, invitations and emails. Friends and family,…

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A Wedding Candle with Meaning

5 December 2020

Sonya and Brett had a small wedding candle decorated for each of their guests with different values or ‘universal needs’ written on the side – Joy, Peace, Belonging, To Matter, Respect, Fun, Trust, Love, etc. Each guest was given a wedding candle as they entered the ceremony venue. The usher…

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On the Death of the Beloved

29 November 2020

Death and grief can touch us in many different ways. We can feel an openhearted, acceptance of the death of a loved one and then, without any warning, a song, a smell, a memory and we can be crying and aching to the core of our bones. Mourning the loss…

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Handfasting Ceremony

2 November 2020

I was invited to conduct a handfasting ceremony on a beautiful farming property up on the Dorrigo plateau in northern NSW.  The garden, where the ceremony was held, was a maze of pathways that were an invitation to wander through the terraced beds of flowers and shrubs down to a…

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Alternative Wedding Music

30 October 2020

Calling in all Guests – Alternative Wedding Music If you are looking for alternative wedding music, you might want to go for something very personal to call in your guests. This following wedding ‘processional’ was unique and a joy to listen to and be a part of. The excitement of…

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Getting Your Affairs in Order

24 October 2020

Creating an Advanced Care Directive, writing a will… hard topics to broach? There is plenty of support to get you started and it’s amazing how many people actually find it’s a relief to talk about things that are super important to them. It can provoke questions and answers that can…

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Special Teen Birthday Gift

14 October 2020

Birthday Gift for a Teen Finding a birthday gift for a teenager can be challenging when so much is happening in their lives. Their hormones and bodies are changing rapidly, priorities are shifting, relationships are developing; and they have a growing awareness and focus on their sense of self and…

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Before I die…

13 October 2020

Artist, Candy Chang, created the first ‘Before I Die…’ wall on an abandoned house in New Orleans after the death of someone she loved that left her world shattered. For a long time, Candy struggled with grief and depression and she became acutely aware of how few people engaged with honest…

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A Blessing For a Wedding by Rev. Carl Thitchener

1 October 2020

There are many joys and challenges to be welcomed in a marriage and this reading by Rev. Carl Thitchener captures the essence of what is needed. A blessing for a wedding can stir in the couple and the guests a sense of the sacredness of the journey and the mystery!…

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Divorce Ceremony for Alinta

30 September 2020

Alinta needed understanding, acceptance and forgiveness and to move forward. This ceremony helped her.

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The Birthday Blessing

10 September 2020

Turning 16

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Wedding Budget Planner

1 September 2020

For celebrants: I provided many easy resources on my website for wedding couples to access which helped to foster a sense of care and trust. The Wedding Budget Planner was an email I sent out with my information kit. Wedding Budget Planner Whether you are planning a simple gathering of…

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Wedding, Naming and Funeral Songs

16 August 2020

Emotive wedding or funeral songs, a playful naming song…whatever tracks you choose for your ceremony, music is a key component because it can evoke our connection with joy, love, mourning and loss, stillness and movement –  the very essence of life and death. Stephen Hough (concert pianist and blogger) writes in…

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Ceremony Candles for Every Occasion

16 August 2020

Ritual and Ceremony candles Ritual and ceremony candles have been around for years. Having visited more old churches, chapels and cathedrals in Europe, than my teenage son appreciated, I was touched by how many of them offer the invitation to light a candle to ask for support, offer gratitude or…

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Wedding Checklist

15 August 2020

Wedding checklist – When, what and who to do list! Planning your wedding day can create more space and ease as you know exactly what’s what.

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The Wedding Party

14 August 2020

The Wedding Party. What do they do? When? What’s the best way to make this wedding flow? Delegate. Read more.

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Blessingway Love Letter to an Unborn Grandchild

13 August 2020

Couchy Creek Road – a letter/story written by indigenous woman, Beth Wrigley, to her yet to be born grandchild, on the occasion of her daughter-in-law’s blessingway ceremony. My dear little grandchild, There was a gathering at the river – a celebration of you growing so big in your mummy’s tummy….

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Emma’s Naming Ceremony

12 August 2020

Emma’s Naming Ceremony was held at the popular Boambee Creek Reserve. John and Alicia arrived with John’s parents, Les and Val, and their close friends, Niki and Pete and their daughter, Jenna. It was to be a small gathering as Alicia’s parents and also. the godparents couldn’t attend. Pete recorded the…

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It takes a village…to nurture a marriage. Wedding ideas to engage the support of your guests

11 August 2020

Wedding ideas to get your guests onboard for the journey. Gathering your family and friends around for the wedding ceremony can be awesome. Lots of love, laughter, dancing, hugging…it’s a community affair. Here are some great wedding  ideas to engage your guests in being advocates for your marriage, long after…

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Humorous Wedding Vows

10 August 2020

What fun I have had writing a ceremony for a beautiful young couple getting married in a very small and intimate ceremony. I had 16 pages of heartfelt love letters to read – what a privilege to share in their appreciation and love for each other. They also wanted a…

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Presents and Presence

9 August 2020

The presence of family and friends in the life of a couple and a family can be a true blessing. Having a community of close people who uphold and support them through all the changes, without judgement or pressure is a great gift. The demonstration of family and community support…

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In Lieu of Flowers

8 August 2020

In lieu of flowers, I would wish for you to flower. I would wish for you to blossom, to open, to be beautiful.

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How do you connect to yourself and others?

7 August 2020

Putting aside all ideas of right and wrong… and opening to connect, to really listen.

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What is sacred union, love, marriage?

6 August 2020

What is Marriage? What is Love?

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A Funeral in Times of Covid-19

5 August 2020

A drive-by funeral tribute

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That early morning quiet space

4 August 2020

Waking in the peace of mindfulness

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Crying for joy, for sadness, for remembering

3 August 2020

It was clear that the tears were not going to stop for a while…

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Congratulations Sarah and Mike!

2 August 2020

Despite the long term obstacles of distance and time apart…

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Wedding planner

2 August 2020

No matter what stage you are at in planning your wedding, I hope you find some valuable tips in my wedding planner to make your wedding flow with ease! Wedding Planner 6 to 12 months before the wedding Layout your wedding planner – go through this list and determine your…

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Wendy and Roger’s celebration 2008

31 July 2020

In 2008, my partner and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary of being together. If you’re curious, there is no rhyme or reason for celebrating 11 not 10 years as is the custom in our western culture! Having been a celebrant for all of these years I had come to know…

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Epitaph on a sun soaked rock

30 July 2020

I love walking and resting on sun soaked rocks… “Epitaph for a Romantic Woman” by Louise Bogan She has attained the permanence She dreamed of, where old stones lie sunning. What might be your epitaph?

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Mindfulness of the hands

29 July 2020

Practicing mindfulness of the body can help us to regulate stress. Bringing your attention to each part of the body, like the hands, can draw our mind into being curious, alert and attentive to what is, as it is. Watching the sensations that come and go, that may be pleasant…

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An Extra Day for Playing

28 July 2020

Create a plan for the lead up to your celebration day. Mark the day before your ceremony out of the diary. On that day, there will be no running about, picking up things, calling suppliers. Plan for an extra day for playing.  Leave the day before your celebration as free…

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Divorce. Separation. Saying goodbye, I love you.

27 July 2020

Divorce. Happily Ever After? Divorce can be a challenging path to traverse. How do we say goodbye to one we have both fallen in love with … and out of love with? And how do we say goodbye with love, with respect? This is not an exercise in semantics of what…

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Saying ‘I Do’ in the Rain

26 July 2020

The warmer, sunny winter days are perfect for outdoor weddings. I was chatting with a couple who were getting married in the local Botanic Garden – the ceremony was to be in a beautiful spot by the lake. I asked them what they had planned in case of wet weather….

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Riley and Tristan’s Naming Day

25 July 2020

I had conducted El and Dave’s wedding ceremony and their daughter, Maia’s naming ceremony when they called me to discuss their son, Riley’s, naming ceremony.

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Treasure Chests and Time Capsules for Wedding Ceremonies

24 July 2020

Meaningful rituals and ceremonies can offer support and a sense of belonging in both the positive and challenging times.

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