Support Me to Become a Celebrant

Dear Reader,

This summer I am training to become a wedding and family celebrant in Ireland.  I need some help with the fees.  I have created a GoFundMe page with several reward options.  As you’ll know from this blog, I enjoy reading aloud.  For example, for €20 I’ll record myself reading your choice of text.  This could be a poem or a prayer or something longer.  Other options are for me to host a ceremony with you, in your home, or even perform your wedding once I’ve qualified!

Doing this work, in exchange for donations, I am showing myself that I am already on the path.  I am doing the work. And I will be making connections with real people and gaining very valuable experience.  I really value your support both in reading this, and in any financial support you can offer, and I would love to connect with you process.

Please click through to https://www.gofundme.com/PaulCelebrant

Blessings,

Paul

UPDATE 16 July 2017

I borrowed the remaining money for the course from my partner. However, I am still taking donations if you wish to send them.  I started the course and am thoroughly enjoying it and I am looking forward to launching my new career as a celebrant in the late 2017.

 

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Hallelujah 

The final day of Honouring The Darkness invited me to listen to KD Lang’s wonderful rendition of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. 

I have enjoyed this song for many years. I’ve danced to it, sung along to it. A month ago I toyed with the idea of including it in my public Winter Solstice ceremony. I didn’t but I love that it has come back to me in this way.  

Janelle asked me to reflect on several of the lines from the song… This is going to be personal, and also a rambling of thoughts forming and constellating. 
1 – “The minor fall, the major lift”
When I look back over the last few years, I have been on a wonderful and challenging journey to fully inhabit my Self in the world. It’s been about growing up, becoming the adult I need in my life, relishing my quirks and giving myself permission to fully indulge myself. And at the same time it’s been about coming out into the world, more vulnerable, more open, more connected. Some of that journey has been really uncomfortable, painful even. But every hurt has gifted me the chance to learn how to grow, to heal. 
2 – “The baffled king composing hallelujah”
This blog has been an interesting study in humility. I am sharing my thoughts and feelings about my self and the world, knowing that I will have changed my mind at some point in the future. I am always not quite well informed enough, which reminds me of Ken Wilber’s phrase “true, but partial”. Something I learned in Toastmasters is you are never completely ready or fully prepared and it is more important to take a risk, and try something new, than to be completely secure and prepared. Inspiration and creativity comes when I’m trying something potentially silly, foolish, or amateur. Knowing that gives me great freedom. I have more adventure in my life because of it.  
3 – “Your faith was strong but you needed proof”
All the time. And I’m fine with that. I think reality checks are important. We all need support, reassurance about our worth, about our safety. I think this is part of the self care I mentioned earlier. I continue to read inspiring and soul nourishing books even though I’ve heard it all before. They support me and give me “proof” of ideas by showing me them through another’s words and life experience. Just as some days it is perfectly fine and good to occasionally spend all day at home watching funny videos on YouTube, looking for reassurance and proof is fine too. In fact, I would say that proof inspires and supports further faith. 
4 – “And from your lips she drew the hallelujah”
For some reason, I am drawn to the She of this phrase, and to the women who have taught me. In particular, the female 5Rhythms teachers I have had: Barbara, Sarena, Gillian, Caitriona. They held spaces, made magic, and on their dance floors, I have experienced joy, moaned in pleasure and deep sadness, and I have melted, burned, broken open, dissolved, cried in agony and in ecstasy. And I love these women eternally for it. I am the man I am because of their magic.  
5 – “There’s a blaze of light in every word”
I’m a words man. I love words. My teachers are usually authors. When listening to songs it’s the lyrics that fire me. I journal, I blog. I love scripted ceremonies with beautiful words. And yet, the times I have felt the awen burn bright in me have been moments beyond words, before words, when I am fully and wholly embodied. In a deep, erotic dance in 5Rhythms. In the passion of all-shields-down, eyes locked love making. In the simplicity of time with my family. A blaze of light Words so bright and loud I cannot see them, but I burn with love by them. 
6 – “With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah”

Hallelujah.  

As the light returns and the days lengthen and the calendar reads 2017 and onwards, I hope your body is blessed with radiant health, and your heart is blessed with radiant love. 

This post is day ten of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/ 

The Dark Mystery

My attention slipped on completing this 10 day task on time, and that’s okay. Today is St Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas Day. In Ireland it is traditionally a day for venturing back into the world after the stillness of Christmas Day. It is also the day when it seems brighter. I came home to visit my family for Christmas. Today we went for a walk in the sunshine at a country park nearby.

This morning, I listened to Janelle’s 10 minute guided meditation with my eye mask on.  She asked that I explore my body, with touch and then by sensing the position of my internal organs, my insides.  So much of what goes on under the skin is a mystery, and magical. My pre-conscious brain keeps everything in check.  There’s a whole world of activity inside me.  I could spend a lifetime in awe of this body, this home.

I have been curious about embodiment the for a long time. In particular, I have been fascinated by the common experience of its subjective experience.  No one else knows what it feels like to be this body. And yet, everyone I meet is having the same experience of being embodied. When I am with a lover, I cannot experience his feelings or his sensations, and yet I have my experience of his body. What an amazing paradox.  What mystery.

When I place my fingers on my neck, I feel my pulse.  I can feel the effect of my heartbeat, and yet I have no direct sensory awareness of my heart or control of its rhythm.

Years ago, when I first became interested in dreaming and lucid dreams, I would take a moment in my day to marvel at how realistic my waking dream was. I noticed how realistic and fully alive my experience of being alive was: how vivid the colours I saw; how vibrant the sounds I heard; how intense the feelings in my body.

Celebrities have been dying this year, and I am reminded that one day I will die. I don’t know that I will be  able to experience an after life.  If I do, I imagine that I will miss the experience of having been embodied. I hope I experience the fullness of this body before I die. I want to truly live it, and love it.  And I hope you can do that too.  Love the skin you’re in.

This post is day nine of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/

Pilgrimage

This morning is the winter solstice.  This is the mid point.  It is an hour before sunrise.  It is very dark. 

My boyfriend and I are planning to drive up to the top of the nearest hill to watch the sunrise. The view up there on a sunny day is amazing.  The photo attached is of me on that hill a few months ago, standing beside Cloughmore  (The ‘great stone’ in Irish).  This is a pilgrimage.  We don’t know if we’ll make it, or if the sky will clear, if we’ll see anything at all.  But still we start with the intention.  

Walking is a profound spiritual practice.  In 2017, I want to walk some of Ireland’s ancient pilgrimage routes.  There’s a new listing of them here. http://www.pilgrimpath.ie/

Blessings of the greatest darkness and of the returning light to you. 

This post is day eight of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/

Shadows Everywhere

Today’s task asks me to describe my shadows. 

It’s funny how it can seem like I’ve dealt with my stuff and then someone can say something or something can happen and I’m back in an old familiar mental place I thought I’d left behind.  For example,  last night when a colleague tried to describe me when saying why he’d miss me and he ran out of adjectives after “nice” and “quiet”. A part of me became a teenager again, feeling boring and inadequate. But just for a moment, and just a part. Quiet is something I have owned and love now but  I have so many other traits, patterns, and habits that I wish I could leave behind. 
In 5Rhythms practice I learn to move exactly with what is, exactly how I’m feeling now. The way my body feels, the way my limbs move. There’s no point in being embarrassed or ashamed. This is now, this is what’s here. I am here and I am enough.  Whatever I do or don’t do here, is enough.  

I experience the same in my Toastmasters journey. I learn through doing. I stand and speak. Sometimes what I said makes sense. Sometimes I rehearsed enough, but usually there’s an awkward performance, some evidence of growth, and plenty of material for feedback. It’s not comfortable. It’s enjoyable, but when I’m growing and developing, it’s not comfortable. 

I spent a year in therapy. None of it was comfortable. I shone light on my behaviour and not all of it was good and responsible. I sat with my self doubts and fears, and learned tools and skills to move forward in life. But I also learned more about the parts of me that I never wanted to sit and be with. They became familiar.  

My shadows are the parts of myself I turn from. The bits I don’t want to know about. It’s not all shame and regret. There’s some really useful treasure there in the dark recesses. Things I didn’t know would be valuable to me one day. 

I don’t intend to list my wounds and inadequancies. I intend on holding myself safely on this journey. I move with curiousity. This is a journey of gentle discovery, not of fixing myself. I move with my psyche exactly as it is. I wonder what happens when I journal, do morning pages, set myself a 10 day writing challenge, and so on.  

I have learned in this life, through all my journeys, that I am enough, and that I might not always feel it. That I have a right to be here just as I am, and that this journey will continue for only as long as it does. 

This post is day seven of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/

Winter’s Cloak

Today’s exercise began with a poem that I heard a year ago for the first time, at the Winter Assembly of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I loved it on first hearing. It is Winter’s Cloak by Joyce Rupp. Here is a recording of me reading it aloud.

Winter's Cloak by Joyce Rupp. Recorded as part of #honouringthedarkness #poetry

A post shared by Pól (@cosnochta) on

I love Winter.

I live in Ireland, temperate land where Winter means darkness and short days. It rarely snows here, we are too close to the seas. Winter here means cold and damp, but the contrast with the summer is the lack of light. In the Summer, I feel guilty about spending time indoors reading and resting. In the Summer, a sunny day means I have to go out and enjoy it. Sunny days are a rarity even in Summer.

In Winter, however, I am allowed to be as introverted as I like. I can lie under a blanket reading a book, writing or just being, and it is a day well spent.

I am fortunate to live in a place where hunger and starvation are no longer common. I have hot showers and a warm house and food that is transported around the world to huge supermarkets so that even in the late months of winter/early spring, I always have food. I do not hunger. Most of the world is not so fortunate. I try not to forget how fortunate I am, and I am grateful for my own well being.

I love the darkness, and I welcome the returning light at solstice and throughout the year. And yet, I do not always give myself the darkness of winter’s cloak. I blind myself with the bluescreen light of facebook, of netflix. Perhaps a little more, I would like to wrap myself in the darkness and stillness of winter’s cloak, and rest, just being. Just being.

This post is day six of my personal responses to ‘Honouring the Darkness’, a ten day reflective period leading up to the winter solstice, facilitated by daily emails from Janelle Hardy at http://www.janellehardy.com/hearthome/