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May 22

We Are Gathered Here Today

Welcome to the World, Zoie! (with Godmother Salena Deihl and Godfather, well, me)

Welcome to the World, Zoie! (with Godmother Salena Deihl and Godfather, well, me)

This weekend was super cool. I was honored to have been asked to crazy things: First, I was asked to be Godfather to my cousin’s first child, Zoie. (HI ZOIE!! Wait, how are you able to read this, let alone access the internet…or computer…or lift yourself up onto a desk?!) Second, I was also asked to perform a ceremony that was dubbed “Welcome to the World Zoie” or as I was referring to it, a “Not-So-Baptism Baptism.”  As both my cousins are not so religious to look for a known ceremony, coupled with their love of nature, the beach, and water-sports like surfing, we designed a family ceremony that welcomed young Zoie into the family by way of an ocean-side ceremony, emphasizing the importance of water, its value, and its connection to our lives and futures.  It was incredibly fun, and I hope for all who attended, a symbolic event to welcome our newest family member into the clan.

The next day, we were sitting in a pub in Delray Beach, and the subject of “ceremony” came up with a poignant question: Why not more secular, general ceremonies? Seems like when talking about ceremony, one often cites religious events primarily: weddings, baptisms, funerals, “adulthood reaching” (Bar/Bat Mitzvah) and the like.

But ceremonies are found throughout our society in interesting ways too.. most everyone has been to a graduation, where graduates throw on that robe-and-cardboard flat hat combo without once thinking, ‘why must I dress like “a professor” when in fact NO PROFESSORS EVER go to work dress like this…ever.’ Or what about the amazing ceremonial events surrounding sporting events, like the opening of the Olympic Games, or the first pitch at a baseball game. “Pitch” of course can be a loose term to some who are asked and “throw”, right?

The question on our minds though was different: what about ceremonies for the sake of celebrating in the everyday?

And no, I’m not talking about that “Employee of the Month” photo op and ceremonial hanging of the plaque up near the cash register at your local Wendy’s… no, the celebrations that occur within our lives and our interactions with others.

Don’t get it, DK. What do you mean?

OK… why does a ceremony for joining a family (marriage for example) have a ceremony, but there’s no ceremony for welcoming a girlfriend/boyfriend into a family?

Um, because that’s a bit creepy/cultist, DK.

I grant you, ceremonies can sometimes given off the impression of a weird cult getting ready for the spaceship with purple robes and Nike sneakers.  But in the same manner, non-religious people look to ceremonies with a strange eye too.  I mean really, if you’re not a religious person, how do you describe a First Holy Communion Ceremony? Or a Jewish Bris?

So here’s an idea: Create some fun ceremonies for you, family, and friends to partake in and enjoy.  Take time out to celebrate cool moments of our lives with a little bit of ceremony.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, or who is with you, you can create and have a fun ceremony to signify a hallmark event.. or just an everyday thing and make it special… here, I’ll get you started:

The First Slice Ceremony

Cheese-tastic.

Cheese-tastic.

If you’re like me, pizza is something of a food group in and of itself. Whether picked up at your local shop in the neighborhood, or delivered to your door hot n’ fresh, the cardboard box is got it’s board-prints somewhere in your kitchen.  Next time you and the family (or a bunch of friends) are gathered around that box o’ goodness, perform a little ceremony to the occasion. Something like:

“My friends, it is time to gather as a family. And as a family, we join as one, a circle.  Like our circle, this meal is served in the round, signify its completeness, its unification, its deliciousness.

[Cue Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” on the smartphone/stereo; join in a sing along]

Select someone in the group worthy of the First Slice (the oldest, the guest farthest away, you mom); while you hold the box (open end facing away from you) with two hands, slowly open the box to reveal the pizza to the honored guest. He/she reaches in, splits off the first slice and gets the first bite before others get their slice of yummy.

Boom. A ceremony.

Hey DK. Are you… you know…. crazy?

Hell no. It’s it fun to do? It’s not like you are promoting this around the world for all to see (well I am here, but that’s not the point)…. The point here isn’t the absurdity of the event… the point is to take time out to enjoy each other, enjoy what you all have together, and celebrate THAT. The connection and love between each other is key.

If you happened to be walking along the beach in Delray Beach this past weekend, you might have seen a bunch of people and a baby standing near the shore-end, reciting something, and splashing some water onto the legs of a super cute baby… strange? absurd? weird?

Maybe. But it was also meaningful, special, unique, and all about family. And for that, it was a blast!

So get out there and create your own ceremony. Anything can be made into a meaningful little moment, don’t be shy. Remember, the memories are YOURS, no one else!  Make them how you’d like. Just do me a favor, no heart grabbing okay? That always ends weirdly, just ask Indy.

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