It has been a week of ceremony for our family... Lots of big emotions and memories revisited. It has been really grounding and a beautiful opportunity to centre ourselves and return to our why.
Birthdays are special and it's an opportunity for the kids to feel extra special which is super important especially in a big family where time, energy and patience is constantly being shared and stretched.
Over the years birthday ceremonies have organically been woven into our annual rhythm and i've learnt that these ceremonies, especially the act of gift giving, isn't necessarily a one size fits all act. It's been harder for this idea to resonate with the little humans though.
Bambi's love language is gifting and she is very good at it. So over the years we have included gift giving in our ceremonies. Four presents from the heart each birthday/Christmas following the formula of want, need, wear & read has been a big focus. A desire for fairness amongst the kids has been a big driving force behind this formula and also a need for simplicity. However this worked when it was the two big kids who both enjoy gift giving/receiving. However, I found that keeping up with this act of ceremony has had the opposite effect for me. Intuitively, i understand that Django and Teddy dont follow this love language and now Poe has no need for anything we cant give him in love and connected parenting. Ive kept up with it as it as important to Bambi but recently she has started to realise that gifts aren't always the answer to the souls desires and hearts call. It's been beautiful to watch her come to this realisation on her own as she moves outside of herself and empathises closely to her brothers wants and not basing them on her own. Our gifts are usually home made or second hand but there is still a physical side to it. The kids have learnt over the years that experiences are an amazing gift so the emphasise on a physical gift has been lessened due to this act.
So for Poe's very special 1st birthday on Friday we did things differently. We originally planned a drive up to my mums in Port Macquarie and to visit my aunties farm in Wachope. However, Poe doesn't enjoy the car so the kids (with some gentle persausion) decided a staycation would be better instead. A staycation where we focused on just being with each other, relaxing and enjoying ourselves. Our holidays are usually either heavily family focused or heavily enriching educationally and spiritually. These holidays as much of a blessing as they are are also equally as exhausting both emotionally and physically. So we did things differently this time. We used a voucher we randomly have for a hotel at one of our favourite beaches and we enjoyed the luxuries that this offered us. The kids felt like they were in a movie and Tim and I didn't have to think about anything. We just relaxed and enjoyed the kids and the ease of it all. It was so different to anything we have ever done with the kids and the space it allowed us was such a gift. The kids gifted me a birthing present of an hour long relaxation massage which instead of me worrying about how we would be able to execute that i just walked downstairs and had it. It was incredible.
It was such a lesson of adapting to suit the ever changing needs of our growing family and the mental and physical demands it has especially when there are expectations around traditional ceremonies.
It was an important lesson in that ceremony and celebration doesn't have to look and be the same every time... it is fluid and grows and changes as we all grow and change.
It was a lesson in what "fair" actually is. It doesn't often look and feel the same as what everyone else gets. It's what that individual needs and craves in that moment for the filling of their unique cup.
So the act of ceremony now means and feels different for our family because our family looks and feels different and it will again as we all continue to grow and change.
I also believe we have all learnt that ceremony doesn't have to be these big elaborate displays and they also dont have to be the exactly the same each celebration. The need for consistency and traditions is important but it can be a small act each time rather than these pressure filled, exhausting, repeated traditions that become more about the gift giver than the receiver.
So while ceremonies provide a structured way for individuals, families or communities to come together, express emotions, and convey a sense of unity and purpose through thoughtful rituals and customs. There is room for fluidity. Ceremonies can grow and change as the needs of the participants grow and change. This fluidity will not hinder the offerings of these special events and their blessings of deep emotional and symbolic connection. It's within this shared experience that makes them essential for cultural, social, and personal expressions. The focus needs to be on that rather than the need to repeat the exact rituals and traditions each ceremony. The trick is in finding the right balance of both. A ceremony's focus needs to be rich in connection and less on pressure and expectations.
My wish for you all this week is that you are able to receive or create the bountiful blessings of celebrating something little or big through a ceremony that focuses on deep connection and removes all pressure and expectations. It focuses on the needs of the participants rather than the need to adhere to some deep routed conditioning we have unconsciously adopted. So this could be a ceremony around your religious and spiritual beliefs, around the seasons, someones special personal journey, their life or even the gratitude of your daily rhythm. The expectations and pressure of traditions interwoven in ceremony can often be the reason we dont celebrate it at all. And that there is the shame of it. Remove these and celebrate it in even the smallest way and the joy is endless. Let the pressure and expectations stop you from celebrating it at all and only you loose.
From my heart to yours