The only thing constant in life is change - François de la Rochefoucauld
Many changes are minor.
Others are huge and have important consequences ….
to our roles and responsibilities, time management, self image and confidence, to our physical, spiritual or psychological, economic and emotional security.
Any change involves both loss and gain. Mostly we think of our celebrations as gains, except when we mark losses such as the death of a loved one with a funeral or memorial ceremony.
As all parents know, the gift of a child is gain and yet parenthood also marks the loss of the single life. Just as the death of a partner means the return to a single life, which may be less burdensome if one’s partner was sick and disabled.
Ceremonies and celebrations have been used by all cultures through history to assist the members of their societies to adjust to change and to transmit the cultural norms and values their societies see as important.
As such ceremonies are important for mental and social health, for an individual or group's sense of belonging to their community and for understanding their role and the expectations of others in relation to their behaviour.
Sometimes social changes are so rapid that new ceremonies and celebrations need to be developed to provide the support individuals and groups need for their mental and social wellbeing.
So ceremonies and celebrations can be powerful occasions to mark changes, and support us in embracing our new lives.
The support of others at times of change can not be underestimated. More than material gifts, as nice as they can be and needed in some cases, people need new ways to see themselves, to think about the tasks they are going to undertake and the support and acknowledgment of others in their new role.
What’s why letting “the celebration be the gift”.. can be the most precious gift of all.