Tuesday, 31 December 2019

40 Blog Ideas for 2020


It’s the last day of 2019 and I want to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.  And I also want to complain and apologize just a bit.  I haven’t kept up this blog as much as I have wanted to and I am sorry for that, but writing a blog is hard!  Coming up with new ideas, and being witty and informative is tough.  So, I have decided to put together a list of potential topics to write, post the list, and proceed to write weekly about a topic on the list.  So, here’s the list and a big thanks to many many other bloggers out there who have shared their lists.  I have used some of their ideas and added some of mine.

Bonnie’s 2020 List of Blog Ideas

1.       People who have had the biggest impact your my life
2.       The thing that refreshes your soul
3.       Your greatest wish.
4.       How your faith/spirituality has changed over the years.
5.       The legacy of your parents/grandparents/brother/sister.
6.       When a spouse doesn’t share your ideas.
7.       Biggest struggles you’re facing
8.       Date night ideas.
9.       Your quiet time routine.
10.   Your bucket list.
11.   Most difficult lesson to learn.
12.   What newlyweds should know.
13.   Funniest things to happen at a wedding.
14.   Favourite song and why.
15.   The biggest myth about Christmas.
16.   Something you learned from a child.
17.   How you forgave the unforgiveable.
18.   What you struggle with most.
19.   What song you want played at your funeral and why.
20.   The power of being silent.
21.   How to get out of a personal/creative funk.
22.   Things you learned from your dog.
23.   Breaking fear issues.
24.   What would you love to learn how to do.
25.   How to travel on a budget.
26.   The joy of rescuing an animal.
27.   Grandparenting.
28.   How to be a real and true friend.
29.   Weight and diet issues.
30.   Food.
31.   Ghosts, are they real?
32.   Bacon.
33.   Recipes that will blow your mind.
34.   Cheese.
35.   Best of Twitter.
36.   Write a thank you note to a thing (like coffee or chocolate)
37.   Write a review on something you just read, saw, did.
38.   Write a how-to on something you’re good at or not.
39.   Why you’re not giving up a bad habit.
40.   A little bit about the town you grew up in.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Walking the Mystical Path With Practical Feet



I came across this piece by cultural anthropologist, Angeles Arrien and it resonated with me. So I thought I'd share it here.  It's long, but worth the read.


Walking the Mystical Path With Practical Feet
by Angeles Arrien

Thirty years ago, I began doing workshops that I titled “Walking the Mystical Path With Practical Feet”, as a way to address the illusion many of us have, that the internal and external worlds can only be lived or experienced separately. It was my hope, as it is now years later, that we can dissolve the artificial splits or separations that we have created between work and family; personal and professional; mind and heart; body and spirit; internal and external, just to name a few of the primary dualities. Ken Wilbur reminds us in his work, “The Holographic Paradigm and other Paradoxes” that “The transcendental essence of the great religions had as its core the notion of advaita or advaya, non-duality.”

This article attempts to address the universal processes or life experiences which drive us toward wholeness of being (our natural state); and offers us ways we can hold paradoxes, rather than move into isolation, polarity, or separation, when we face changes or transitions in our lives.

The one consistent exercise that each human being faces worldwide is change. We know
all the ways we resist or attempt to control change, but how can we instead embrace change or partner with it?

The Inuit people have a wonderful saying, “There are two plans to be honored every day: my plan and the Mystery’s plan.”

How can we equally value, hold, and make space for both plans to co-exist everyday? How can we become change masters, a term originated by Rosabeth Moss Kanter? A change master approaches change as an adventurer, explorer, or discoverer. Research indicates that most of us will finally change under two exaggerated conditions: either we cannot stand or tolerate the situation, issue or circumstance any longer, so we will change; or we want to experience something that has such a passion for us that we will go for it, no matter what it takes. Both of these are extreme motivational processes.

Change masters instead face and understand change as a natural daily process that creates constant openings for growth, learning, and psycho-spiritual development. Human beings are deeply imprinted to change and evolve. Every culture in the world recognizes this deep imprinting in that it ritualizes four major life changes, birth, initiation, marriage and/or relationship commitments, and death. Change masters honor, track and stay vigilant to these changes every day. They recognize and look for what is new or emerging in all situations (birth); they capture the learning of each day (initiation); they notice where things come together or fall into place to create a greater whole (marriage/integration/mergence); and they register what was completed, released, or ended (death).

All four processes occur daily as the “Mystery’s plan” to help us develop both internally and externally. Change masters align their plan to the Mystery’s plan; and they also recognize that each of these four processes are daily taking place internally––mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Consider the multiple mental, emotional and spiritual births, initiations, marriages/ mergence/ integrations, and deaths that are taking place daily, monthly, and yearly within us that often trigger or mirror external changes and transitions. We are constantly changing, evolving creatures. It is one of life’s great mysteries. Our challenge is to befriend our evolutionary nature, and become a change master, as we partner with change on a daily basis. This is essential as we face economic, environmental, political, racial and religious issues worldwide.

At this time in history, humanity is undergoing not only a death rebirth process, but also a global initiation. Collectively, at some level, all of us know that we are being initiated into a new world. The Dalai Lama reminds us of the motivation we must carry as we go through the initiation:
“We must have a pure, honest, and warm-hearted motivation, and on top of that, determination, optimism, hope, and the ability not to be discouraged. The whole of humanity depends on this motivation.”  The two great paths in which we must hold this motivation and determination externally, is in work and relationships; and the two paths internally, are in those that cultivate love and wisdom. Integrating both the external and internal paths is “walking the mystical path with practical feet”.

Human beings are essentially here for two purpose––to learn about and express love, and to create. The Persian poet Rumi captures both in this line, “Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.”

We learn about love in all our relationships. We are not only constantly creating mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially; but in all that we manifest in our work, creativity, service, and communities.

Kahlil Gibran reminds us that, “Work is love made visible.”

In our relationships and work, we constantly have the opportunity to align with and express the inherent goodness and creativity that resides in every human being. It is always just a choice away. Gandhi modeled and taught an important leadership principle that fostered goodness. He states that, “power, privilege, and position are great resources. Use them well. Do not become attached to them, for when we do, we begin to lose our moral fiber.” Gandhi’s statement can serve us well in staying liberated and fully expressive in a meaningful way in all sectors of our life; as we cultivate love and wisdom in our work and relationships.

Since we are so familiar and responsive to the external experiences that our work and
relationships ignite, it is important to address what Gandhi calls our moral fiber. Our values, basic character, wisdom nature, quality of heart, dreams, and interior development contributes to our moral fiber. In order to develop our interiority to the degree we attend to our external experience, we must simultaneously integrate two internal journeys. One is the archetypal vertical journey of the descent and ascent in which we reclaim the authentic self and release the false self. The other journey is horizontal, twining the two threads of our internal and external experiences. The two journeys—descending and ascending, and integrating the internal and external –– are essential tasks for interior development. We must undertake them if we are to develop character, acquire wisdom, express love more fully, and cultivate spiritual maturity.

The Journey of Descent and Ascent

The descent into darkness––the unknown and undeveloped aspects of our nature–-and the ascent into greater awareness, authenticity, and faith lead us to a discovery of our essential self beyond ego and personal desires. In both directions, we encounter our shadows, the unclaimed, undesired, and unbefriended aspects of our nature. To become fully developed human beings, we must confront both our demons and our angels. If we can do this successfully, we free ourselves from the illusion of who we think we are. We are delivered into the mystery of our true, essential being and are able to generate a new domain of freedom that is anchored in wisdom, love and faith.

In his book Transformation: Growth and Change in Adult Life, Roger Gould explains that this freedom is hard won, especially in the experience of descent, which requires us to realistically and honestly look at our lives without denial, indulgence, or embellishment. To achieve an adult sense of freedom, we must come to terms with unresolved anger, disappointment, despair, fear, and feelings of repugnance concerning death. We can no longer harbor our illusions, aversions, or attachments. Recognizing these feelings is only the first step. We have to act, to descend into our inner terrain and dispel all that is false and at odds with our essential being. The raw experience of descent prepares the way for increased self-knowledge and self-acceptance that are honest and true, anchored in a kind of self-confidence that is neither inflated nor deflated. The descent allows us to experience the ascent with genuine hopefulness, curiosity, and ennobled spirit. If we have done the rigorous work of descending to face our false self, we may then ascend to experience the joy of our essential self without pretense or judgment.

Throughout our lives, we witness cycles within ourselves and others as we descend and ascend. This journey carries stories of descent into betrayal, temptation, depression and injustice: ruthless actions that derive from insecurity, pride, or desire for revenge. It also carries the heart of all the universal stories surrounding redemption, grace, generosity, and forgiveness––ascent.

A contemporary example of the journey from descent into ascent can be found in the Delancy Street Program in San Francisco by Mimi Siebert, who has the best success rate of prisoner rehabilitation in the country. This program is committed to sustaining the personal success of former prisoners in re-entering life without becoming repeat offenders, without flirting with the journey of descent again. In our own lives we move from descent to ascent when we face our serious mistakes and learn from them.

This journey of descent and ascent is found within all major spiritual traditions. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and other faiths have specific terms to describe the journey and may refer to it as Hell (descent) or Heaven (ascent). For example in the Old Testament story of Jacob’s ladder, Jacob encounters ascending and descending angels, one of which he wrestles with for hours. In Buddhism, the Buddha ascends to the realm of the gods, where he sees that his recently deceased mother has not achieved final liberation or nirvana. There he imparts the Abhidharma Teachings on the true nature of reality and liberates his mother and all the deities trapped in the realm of cyclic existence.

Many traditional and indigenous societies regard the Upper World as the place to receive guidance, blessings, and ecstatic experiences, and view the Lower World as the place to which one journeys to retrieve one’s lost soul and bring it back for re-integration in the Middle World—this world. The process of descending and ascending is a universal human experience, where the heavens and hells in our nature are completely revealed. They must be integrated to aid character development and enhanced spiritual maturity. There will be times in our lives when we will descend into our own lower worlds to confront our inauthentic selves, unresolved feelings and attachments. Each descent prepares us for the ascent, the magnificent climb that integrates more of our essential being.

Integration of the External and Internal: Two Pathways of Meaning

Just as we must be ready to face the challenge of exploring descent and ascent on our journey, we must also come to understand two distinct kinds of meaning. One is quantitative(external and seen); the other is qualitative (internal and sensed). Both meanings give our lives significance and substance if they are equally valued, integrated, and embodied.Today we are most familiar and most comfortable with the quantitative, outer meaning of life and our outer experiences: meaningful memories, important historical events, significant opportunities, or important turning points. We may return to school, retire, get re-married or divorced, have children and grandchildren, lose friends and family to illness or death, survive accidents or trauma, excel in a field, travel, or move to a new location.

The qualitative life experience is often more subtle, less familiar, more internal, and representative of our soul urges––those numinous, mystical, and transpersonal experiences that occur synchronistically in spontaneous and unbidden ways. These subjective experiences often appear as inner stirrings or disturbances that provoke insight, dreams, precognitions, breakthroughs, and unexpected glimpses of the mysterious aspects of who we authentically are.Quantitative and qualitative life experiences converge in our life to be meaningfully integrated. Our nature is then rewoven into a more expansive and textured fabric.

Carl Jung tells us of the dangers of over-identifying with either the outer, quantitative or inner, qualitative world rather than integrating them.
“Mastery of the inner world, with a relative contempt for the outer, must inevitably lead to great catastrophe. Mastery of the outer world, to the exclusion of the inner, delivers us over to the demonic forces of the latter, and keeps us barbaric despite all outward forms of culture.”

An extreme example of a delusionary “mastery of the inner world” combined with “contempt for the outer” is the mass suicide at Jonestown, in which hundreds of people followed their spiritual leader, Jim Jones, to their communal death.

Over-identification with outer-world mastery to the exclusion of the inner is found in contemporary examples of corporate crime where greedy, well-educated people are driven to misuse their talents in ruthless ways to get richer at the expense of their own ethics and integrity.

In contrast, when both worlds are accessed and attended to equally, in non-extreme ways, the human spirit exemplifies unimagined courage and commitment to alleviate human suffering, restore justice, and uplift the quality of life for many.

The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Aung San Suu Kyi are all examples of individuals committed to both internal and external development. The integration of the quantitative and qualitative enables them to touch lives for the better.

Without balance in our lives, we become lopsided or incomplete. We must be vigilant in maintaining balance and access to both the inner and outer worlds. We can no longer flirt with the blind faith or lack of discernment that closes the door to outer mastery; nor can we indulge in the chronic cynicism or hopelessness that cuts us off from inner mastery. In our lives, rather than choosing one world over the other, we need to become adept at living in both.Beyond Polarity and Duality: Embracing Paradox and the Mystery One thing that science and spirituality both explore in different ways is the mystery of life, and all that still remains a mystery.

Mystic, mysticism, and mystery all come from the root myst (hidden) or mystes (one who has been initiated). According to philosopher Ken Wilbur, the scientists Pribram, Bohr, and Capra represent some of the most serious, and sophisticated attempts to interface “hard science” with spiritual realities. Other scientists who preceded them such as Heisenberg, Bohr, Jeans, Eddington, even Einstein himself held a mystical-spiritual view of the world. Mysticism is a transcendental reality described by perennial philosophy and spiritual traditions. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have ancient mystical roots.

Mystics, whether from these traditions or others, consistently report transcendental experiences revealing a fundamental unity, total interconnectedness and interrelatedness, being filled with ecstatic or Divine love, and the non-presence of duality or boundaries. Mystical experiences open and expand the heart, clear and transcend the mind, and nourish the soul. Nature, contemplation, silence, music, and the arts, are often doorways to mystical experience.

A significant shift occurs after we integrate the internal and external worlds; we move beyond polarity and duality and learn to see both worlds at once. We contain this paradox in order to see the many options available to us. This more accepting and expansive way of thinking increases our tolerance for ambiguity, which is a function of wisdom. The ability to move beyond black or white, good or evil, helpful or harmful signals wisdom’s presence; and opens the door to mystical experiences which increase love’s expression and goodness into the world.

Our work in life demands that we neither be entrenched in the polarities of our daily experiences nor rigid, harsh, or unforgiving in our approach. We are stretched to shift our perspective and our actions from the dualism of either/or to holding the paradox of both/and. This allows something greater and more creative to emerge. It is an essential perspective for problem solving. Wisdom always looks for the most elegant solution, the one that will create a genuine win-win and serve the greater good of the majority of people.

Two extraordinary examples of what can happen when we hold the paradox of both/and to allow something greater to emerge are the restorative justice process of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in resolving apartheid issues, and the unprecedented creativity and collaboration that created the European Union. Because the people involved avoided remaining in fixed, entrenched positions, they generated outcomes that far exceeded initial expectations or imagined results.

If we can embrace the meanings and experiences in both our internal and external worlds, melding the sacred and profane, we will be rigorously challenged to transform opposition into paradox. The essential task is to allow all sides of an issue, or pairs of opposites, to exist in equal dignity until their hidden unity is revealed. This is currently our initiation, into the embodiment of wisdom, the entry point into authentic spiritual maturation and personal transformation.

When we shift our perspective to look beyond dualities, opposites, and polarities, we can
simultaneously consider many diverse options and possibilities without applying solutions that may seem quick, easy, and expedient but are in fact premature. In cultivating love and wisdom in our lives, it becomes imperative to increase our capacity to hold creative tension, allowing far greater and more inclusive solutions and options to emerge. By befriending and strengthening our capacity to hold paradox, we can explore the realm of deep spiritual growth. As we actualize all aspects of ourselves and weave them into an inherent symmetry and whole, we become more skillful problem solvers, mediators, stewards of justice, and models of patience and mercy. We become an unshakably wise and loving presence that harnesses the good, true, and beautiful for the greater good of all concerned. This is wisdom’s way; and is the primary task in walking the mystical path with practical feet.

As we are collectively initiated together in creating a new and better world, may our determination as change masters be, in or own work and relationships, to carry wisdom and “a pure, honest, and warm hearted motivation”. May we embrace and partner with change and impact this important evolutionary cycle, so the generations of the future will know that we retained our moral fiber, as we took solid action to create sustainability, protected all that was endangered, and galvanized together to restore our outer home––the Earth.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Lord Of The Rings Ceremony

It's difficult these days to have a wedding ceremony that truly reflects your personality, your likes and dislikes, your obsession with Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Star Trek.  It can come off as geeky, kitchy, or just plain silly.  Do you really want to be married by an officiant dressed as Picard, or Jabba the Hut?  Okay, maybe you do.

I strive, with my ceremonies, to make them personal without going over the top.  But truth be told, if you want to go over the top, I'll happily take that trip with you.  However, I can write and have written ceremonies that can showcase favourite movies or TV shows and they have turned out sweet and not cringe-worthy.  The following is one that a wrote last year for a couple who absolutely LOVED Lord of the Rings.  The names have been changed to preserve their anonymity.

Welcome everyone. Today you are here because you have been invited to join in an adventure. You will be witness as Dick and Jane embark on the adventure of marriage to one another. As Bilbo Baggins said to Frodo, “It’s a dangerous business going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Love is much the same. It’s dangerous to fall in love with someone. You never know where it might take you. For Dick and Jane, it has taken them from backpacking through Europe, coming home broke, moving into a really awful apartment, to this day.

Both Dick and Jane would like to acknowledge those who could not be here today who meant a great deal to them. They think of them now and can feel their presence. Even though they are not here physically, they are part of the foundation that makes them both the people they are now.

With this marriage, you not only bring your own lives together, but those of your friends, family, and your community. A supportive community is the cornerstone of a loving and lasting relationship.

Love is the energy that binds our universe together, makes us whole, and human. While we may all be young in consciousness, and our lives fleeting, the matter of which we are made is as old as the universe itself. This brief but beautiful organization of matter into individuals and the intertwining of our lives has been celebrated for much of human history, in many different ways and across cultures.

Remember that in every marriage, there are good times and bad, times of joy and times of sorrow. Marriage is a journey – a time of adventure and excitement enhanced by the love, trust, dedication and faith you share in one another.

You are mature enough to know the difference between dreams and realities. You have youth and hope. You also know that good times are sweeter when shared and that difficult times are less harsh when borne by two. Continue to work to build a foundation that will support the lasting relationship that is marriage.

And so today, we are gathered here to witness the formal, public declaration of love and commitment between Dick and Jane.

Dick and Jane, do you come into this marriage of your own free will and with full conscious intent?

ANSWER: We do.

The couple has prepared their own vows.

Dick?

Even now, after a thousand nights, a thousand smiles
I stand here helpless, elated, hopelessly lost in your eyes
But my hands are still and my breath is measured
Because we’re long past doubt, long past ‘maybe’
And today I will make you only one promise
-- That our love will continue to grow
In ways we can scarcely imagine!
When we look upon tomorrow, we will see only the opportunities that lie ahead
That only now have we set foot out the door
With our eyes on the horizon, over the hills and far away
And in our grief we will only become stronger
In our successes -- more humble
With our hearts content and memories full
Because you are my significant otter, my morning coffee, my darling Jane
I love you, now and forever, always and ever

Jane?

Dick. As Arwen said to Aragon - "I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of the world alone" And if we only have one lifetime together- I promise to be your loving wife and fellow adventurer; I promise to create a life time full of memories living life to the fullest together and to explore as much of the world as we can. I promise to place your dreams and goals as equal to mine and to encourage you when you feel like giving up hope. I promise to nurture your wanderlust and be open to change.

I vow to grow with you and not apart,
to make my accomplishments, ours, and your challenges, mine.
I vow to not only be there during the good moments but also during the difficult ones
I will always love you deeply and honestly,
as your equal and your partner.
Unless we are playing board games, then every person for himself.
I vow to cherish you, support you and to never take your actions, words and kindness for granted. I vow to give you all that I have; to love you completely and fully. I will smile with you in happiness, comfort you in sorrow, and conspire with you in mischief.
My love is yours today, tomorrow, and for all the days before us.

It is now time to exchange rings. Wedding rings are a symbol of the journeys taken together, a completion of one story and the start of another. Forged by the fires of compassion, compromise and love, not to be easily destroyed. To borrow (and alter) from Tolkien: Two rings to rule them all, Two rings will find them, Two rings to bring them all and in this marriage, bind them.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

At this time, you exchange gold rings. May these rings represent the strength, resilience and permanence of the love you share as you grow old together. As The One Ring in the story, let yours be symbolic of the binding power of your wedding vows.

The rings please.

Dick, place the ring on Jane’s finger and repeat after me.

With this ring, I thee wed,
With this one ring I give you my love and devotion,
With this ring that binds us together as long as we both shall live.

Jane, place the ring on Dick’s finger and repeat after me.

I give you the one ring as a permanent bonus to our Relationship Attribute. Equip it now in preparation for our upcoming Married Life quest, for now we truly can rule them all.

Today you have joined with Dick and Jane as they have embarked on the adventure of marriage. It is with great joy that by the authority vested in me by the Province of Ontario that I pronounce you married. You may now kiss.











Monday, 29 July 2019

Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers


This may seem like an odd reading for a wedding. In fact I remember being at a real estate seminar and the speaker there made a point of telling us all to get our priorities straight and used this as an example. However, priorities are priorities - whether it be your work life or your home life. Enjoy.

Mayonnaise jar and two Beers by David Sullivan

“When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else–the small stuff. ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. ‘I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a few beers with a friend.'”

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Weather and the Perfect Relationship

So, yesterday was just a little bit hot. Okay, a lot hot. And I performed 2 wedding ceremonies - one inside, which was so joyous and beautiful and fabulous, and one outside in the blazing heat. We were all melted blobs by the time the ceremony was over, but you know what? It was still perfect. It was about the bride and groom who loved each other. It wasn't a perfect day, but it was still wonderful.

Today I thought I'd post something from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ a movie that proves that even imperfect people can make a perfect relationship.


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Anam Cara

I draw great comfort and inspiration from the writings of John O'Donohue.  In fact, I named my ministry Anam Cara.  This is why.

From "Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom".

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.”

I will publish more passages in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Love Me Some Bruce Springsteen



Bruce Springsteen has something to say.

“If I Should Fall Behind”

We said we’d walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me.

We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me.

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me.

Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind

Wait for me.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

A Little Change of Pace

I thought that today, instead of readings, I'd post some actual wedding vows.  These are light-hearted, but meaningful too.
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From the moment our paths crossed, you’ve surprised me, distracted me, captivated me, and challenged me in a way that no human being ever has.  I’ve fallen in love with you again and again, countless times, without reservation, and I still can’t believe that today I get to marry my best friend.

I promise to be true to you, to uplift and support you, to frustrate and challenge you, and to share with you all the beautiful moments of life. Someday, if the stars align, I might even let you win an argument.

No matter what trials we encounter together or how much time has passed, I know that our love will never fade, that we will always find strength in one another, and that we will continue to grow side by side.  I believe in the truth of what we are, and I will love you always, with every beat of my heart.

I promise to unclog the tub, even though you are the only one of us with long hair.

I promise to take out the garbage, even in the pouring rain or freezing cold.

I want us to grow old and crusty together, to shake our collective fists at teenagers, and to talk endlessly about the old days when things were better, cheaper, and generally more wholesome.

I promise to turn on the air conditioning when you are hot, even if I am totally freezing

Today we join our two hearts into one being and not in a Time Lord way.

It is at this moment as I gaze into your eyes I think... is it too late to elope?

I promise to get up and get our remote from across the room, even if it was not I who placed the remote so very far away.

I promise to always respect your choice of music in the car when you are driving. If you are not driving however...

I vow to wash if you'll dry, just so we can be together in the kitchen, laughing, all night - every night.

I promise to love you, honor you, but not obey, because that's a little creepy.

If you promise to kill the spiders, I'll promise to make your lunch, if you take out the trash (and the dog at night), I will make the bed. And if you love me, I will love you.

I promise that as your wife, I will not keep score, even though I am totally winning.

I promise never to come home with a monkey without running it by you first.

If I ever go into space I promise I will never have an affair with a sexy Martian.

I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, until death do we part or you turn into a zombie. Because then we're going to have to start seeing other people.

There’s an old Irish saying that goes, Cramagorrah Rowe Egonhah. Wait a minute. I might have accidentally cursed you. I am so sorry...

I vow not to take any of your less pleasing habits personally, even though I really wish you would put the keys back on the key hook, and not leave your shoes in the middle of the hallway, and I love you.

I vow to protect you from all the ills of the world, even if a scientist invented a way to clone dinosaurs and the dinosaurs escaped from his zoo and then they came after us - I would protect you as well as I could manage from said dinosaurs. That is how much I love you.

I promise to share the covers, leave the light on, make sure the toilet paper is stocked, not use all the hot water, and do as many dishes as I can stomach, as long as we both shall live so help me God.

A pair of penguins mate for life, across hundreds of miles of tundra, the female penguin travels to bring food to the male, as he watches the egg over a month of sub-zero temperatures. As your husband, I promise never to ask you to do anything like that.

Ha Ha - we made everyone get dressed up.

Just one last thing to tell you - I am totally worth it.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

A little Dr. Seuss to keep you interested



Today's reading is Oh, the Places You’ll go! by Dr. Seuss

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the COUPLE who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a great balancing act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.
So… get on your way!”

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Anonymous, But Sweet and Fitting

Today's wedding reading cannot be attributed to anyone that I know of, but it's lovely and sweet.


"Once upon a time, a boy met a girl.  She gave him her hand and he held it tight.  Together they set off down the unknown path in front of them.  Sometimes they walked slowly; sometimes at a quicker pace.  Sometimes they ran so fast it felt kind of like flying.  Whenever he lost his footing, she steadied him and whenever she tripped, he helped her back up.  Whenever she grew weary, he’d carry her.  Sometimes they didn’t know which direction to go, but though they would occasionally lose their way, they never lost each other.  They wandered contentedly and lived happily, forever and always side by side."

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Robert Fulghum has something to say again

Today's wedding reading is "Union" by Robert Fulghum.

"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with ”When we’re married”” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.


All these common things are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another: “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover and even teacher. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, for after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife."

Saturday, 30 March 2019

C.S. Lewis is the author of today's wedding reading


"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are many things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling… knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go… But, of course, ceasing to be in love need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense - love as distinct from being in love - is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit: reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask and receive from God.  They can have this love for each other even at those times when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this level that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Wedding Reading from Anonymous

Today's wedding reading is called "The Elements of Love". 

"May your love be like the earth – rich, natural and deeply rooted. Strong as rock, yet soft as sand. Always growing, always patient.

May your love be like fire – passionate, intense and energetic. A flame that never dies, as radiant as the morning sun, and as warm as an evening embrace.

May your love be like the water – moving, constantly changing. Never still, never stagnant. As vast as the ocean and as fresh as a spring’s rain.

May your love be like air – the sharing of dreams, thoughts and emotions. Always fragrant, always carefree. Found in the breeze of a whisper or the breath of a kiss.

May your love be like all four elements – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually intertwined to create the perfect balance, and to craft the perfect ribbon for to bind these two hearts into one."

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Robert Fulghum Nails It

Today's reading is an excerpt from Robert Fulghum's book, "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten".

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

Sunday, 10 March 2019

A Sweet Reading

Today's reading's are a collection of quotes from Winnie the Pooh.  Yes, that's right.  Even stuffed bears have something valuable to say.

Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne.

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

Piglet: “How do you spell ‘love’?”
Pooh: “You don’t spell it…you feel it.”

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet.”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.

We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer”, Pooh answered.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

“Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”

"If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What’s the first thing you say to yourself?’
‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’
‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”


Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Art of Marriage

Today was a lovely day.  Not necessarily weather wise, but definitely otherwise.  I had the privilege of performing a handfasting ceremony for a really lovely couple.  It's not often I get to do that, and it was really such a pleasure.

A wedding is largely about symbols; symbols are important and helpful because they make an idea and a value concrete and physical - something we can see and touch. They're helpful because they serve as a powerful reminder of a time and place and a memory - a feeling and even a promise - that may have faded over time.

Handfasting is a symbol like this.  It's one of the world's oldest wedding traditions and it's found in cultures all over the world.  In joining hands, the couple symbolizes how they freely offer their lives to one another.  And in fastening their hands together, the ribbon symbolizes how the couple leaves with their lives now bound up together - how after today, and idea of two stories comes together and two sets of hopes and desires for the future are joined in commitment and intention.

So, without giving away any names, thank you for the honour of allowing me to be part of your ceremony.

Now, onto today's wedding reading.  I think it should be The Art of Marriage by W. A. Peterson.  Here it is.

"Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner."





Saturday, 23 February 2019

Bob Marley Drops In

Today's wedding reading is from none other than Bob Marley.  A great man and great writer.


“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist,but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Today's Wedding Reading

I'm a bit late, but the reading I've chosen for today is from Picnics, by Jim Henson.  It's short and sweet and to the point  :)


“I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey. As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you’re going to are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to re-fold it no matter how smart you are.

So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can pull over and have picnic."


Monday, 11 February 2019

Today's Reading

Today's wedding reading is a quote from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by the British writer Louis de Bernières.

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Wedding Readings

I am often asked to provide examples of readings for wedding ceremonies.  I thought it might be a good idea to start a collection here.  So, perhaps weekly, or thereabouts, I will post a suitable reading for anyone to use.  I will be posting the same readings on my Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/wedding.officiant.Bonnie

The first will be from Les Mis√©rables – Victor Hugo

"The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds.

Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.

Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable.

It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven…

What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love!
The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great.

An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier.

The serene and lofty soul, inaccessible to vulgar passions and emotions, dominating the clouds and the shades of this world, its follies, its lies, its hatreds, its vanities, its miseries, inhabits the blue of heaven, and no longer feels anything but profound and subterranean shocks of destiny, as the crests of mountains feel the shocks of earthquake.

If there did not exist someone who loved, the sun would become extinct."