by Jess K June 08, 2020
Due to COVID-19, we are living in a unique time, trying our best to adapt and figure out how to connect with our communities and loved ones while practicing social distancing. Along with these shifts comes the challenge of finding new ways to hold space for ourselves and what we’re feeling. How are you processing this time? When was the last time you checked-in with yourself? What does it look like to grieve, spark joy, or imagine the future during this time of uncertainty? Traditionally, we attach the idea of ceremony to events like birthdays and anniversaries, but what about the moments of light and dark that deeply impact us but slip away unacknowledged?
In this unprecedented time, the idea of ritual has taken on a whole new meaning, so we turned to an expert to explore this topic. We spoke to Kate Love, a life & loss coach and co-founder of a platform called Seeking Ceremony, via email for her expertise on ceremony as a doorway to healing and deeper connection. Inspired by her own journey through life’s ebb and flow, her work invites us to pause and create an intentional practice around honouring all moments of life and the human experience. We are humbled by Kate’s vulnerability in this conversation and hope that this functions as an uplifting reminder of our ability to create and shape sacred space in our everyday lives.
Jessica: How would you describe Seeking Ceremony? And what inspires you to do this work?
Kate: Seeking Ceremony is a love story between two friends. We were university roommates in Montreal, then we returned to our respective coasts. After years of being on either side of the country, supporting each other through all the vicissitudes of life, we shared an unspoken way of coping with these ups and downs using ceremony.
We launched Seeking Ceremony last year. Our shared vision is to use our platform to offer our story-inspired ceremonies, workshops and retreats for the light and dark moments of life, and to continue to build our community of ceremony-curious seekers alongside us.
I lost my mom in 2016. I found myself grappling with how to move through grief and loss in a way that honoured my Great Love. I found solace in ceremony, in creating ways of connecting to my mom and setting aside time to feel the feelings of the impact of becoming a motherless mother. I explored the concept of legacy and how to keep meaningful teachings my mom imparted as part of my daily life.
By doing so, I realized how naturally my kids gravitate to the world of ceremony, curiosity and wonder, which inspires me to build more family ceremony and tradition. Once my lens was attuned to ceremony, I found it everywhere in my life.
Photo credit: Megan Sheldon of Seeking Ceremony
J: What is the most joyful aspect of what you do?
K: The most joyful aspect of what I do is connecting: especially during this socially isolated time, I’ve started putting my own story and experiences out into the world with more abandon and less self-editing. Hearing from friends, family and strangers how my own experiences resonate or differ from them, has brought joy, validation and even more love into my life.
J: In this time of collective uncertainty, I am curious about how Seeking Ceremony has adapted. Have current events altered your definition of ceremony? How are you creating space for the work in our current world?
K: The current climate has absolutely elevated my own daily ceremony practice, from something I tried to do consistently, to becoming an anchor for my day and for my internal world. I never thought I’d be the person to wake up before my family, and claim that first hour of the day as mine. But here I am, almost every day, carving out space to practice a few non-negotiable ritual ingredients, plus trying out a few more here and there, to add to my daily ceremony.
With so many celebrations and rites of passage happening online, it’s an interesting time to be exploring ceremony. From holding surprise birthday parties, to high school graduations, to life and death and everything in between, it’s an ever-changing landscape right now. Whether it’s sharing the same cup of tea or lighting a candle in our respective places, we are trying to bring the virtual ceremonies into the physical realm, to connect us beyond the screen.
My partner, Megan, in BC is exploring how to bring meaning and ceremony into the virtual space. She’s working with an amazing woman, Christina at New Narrative Memorials, to explore how ceremony can enrich and support online events, like weddings and funerals. She has also explored virtual blessingways/baby showers. The ideas and creativity that I see coming into the virtual space has been incredible to witness. People are resilient and nimble.
Photo credit: Felicia Chang Photography
J: Ceremony as a form of healing has become a necessary belief. What hopes and dreams do you have for people who are seeking deep connection and community during this time?
K: I hope and dream that people will find the right ingredients to create ceremonies that express their story. When it comes to daily ceremony, I think of it as a way to honour myself, just as I am.
For this, there are so many incredible tools at our disposal, from burning/releasing practices, to decks of cards (most of mine from Scout!), to movement and grounding, to being in nature, to sensory experiences like hot tea, candles, oils, etc. And there are also the tools that are experiential that we can harness: expressing gratitude, sitting with feelings, processing emotions, finding quiet, saying no, articulating boundaries, speaking your truth.
There are an abundance of rituals, and sometimes it takes trying a few out to sort them and find the ones that speak to you and feel meaningful.
J: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in incorporating ritual in their everyday life?
K: Consistency. Find a time of day that works for you and try to carve out as little as a few minutes.
Start small. Find what you connect to. Keep it accessible, and meaningful to you. I try to steer people away from the “shoulds” of self-care and daily ceremony, and to find things that work for them, that they connect to, and which don’t appropriate culture that doesn’t belong to them.
Repeat. We believe that flexing the muscle of ceremony is key, which is what we do by practicing and repeating and adapting our ceremony. Then when we come across challenges (death, loss, disappointment), we’ve already been practicing and have the built in muscle memory to access practices to support us to process and heal.
At this time in history, it is even more relevant for us to be reflecting, finding stillness and nourishing ourselves so we can continue the work of dismantling oppressive systems and anti-racist action. The rituals and practices that have supported us play a critical role in keeping us engaged long term, as active participants in change.
Photo credit: Seeking Ceremony (Facebook post)
Since running this article Kate & Megan from Seeking Ceremony have done some more introspection and learning around the meaning behind ceremony. Click here to read about how they are sitting with the question of how they talk about ceremony as white settlers to ensure they do no harm.
Jess is a pug-loving Toronto based writer, currently studying English literature. She joined the Scout team last August and enjoys spending time learning about how different artists and makers express themselves through their unique crafts.
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