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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual not religious’

Planning your wedding ceremony? My “Spiritual not religious” post continues to ring true for most of the couples I create with. Reposting from 7 years ago!

“. . . a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.”

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Spiritual not religious: Navigating the G-word in Your Wedding Ceremony 

“We’re spiritual but not religious.” I’m sitting at my favorite Starbucks with a newly engaged couple. They are getting married next spring and we are meeting for the first time to discuss their wedding ceremony.

We’ve talked about how they met, the proposal, why this is the one person they want to spend the rest of their life with, and some ideas of what they would like to include in their ceremony.
As a wedding minister, I love hearing the story of their relationship and encourage them to weave it into their ceremony so their guests can enjoy it as well.

And then we get to this tricky bit:

When I ask them about their religious background and current spiritual practice, many couples respond, “spiritual but not religious.”

And to my followup question of, “What does ‘spiritual’ mean to you?” the answer gets a little more elusive.

Many couples feel a connection to something greater, yet the traditional religion they grew up with no longer resonates with their sense of values and in living their daily life.
And for their wedding ceremony, the idea of a reading from the Bible or mentioning God makes them feel a little squirmy.

One bride responded: “I think being spiritual is being in touch with the Earth, being good to people, understanding there is something greater that helps you out in hard times.”
Other responses have been, “It is living your life to make a difference, to do your best every day” and “I feel a close spiritual connection when I practice yoga.”

Many couples respond with, “I don’t know.” And that is ok.

If you want a truly secular ceremony, you can find a judge, captain on a boat, or have a friend sign up as deputy for a day to officiate your wedding.

If you are choosing not to include a spiritual element in your ceremony simply because it seems confusing or uncomfortable, maybe it doesn’t have to be.

As a nondenominational minister, I do invoke and invite the Divine, but require no proof or definition of your faith. Whatever spiritual means to you, even if you are grappling with that definition, that is what we create for you in the ceremony.

Perhaps your story of how you met had a serendipitious quality. Does it feel like there was something larger at work, ensuring that you two would meet?

Or, maybe your relationship was hard-won: so many obstacles placed before you that it is a marvel you will finally be walking down the aisle at all. In this instance, maybe it was only your faith in each other, in the face of everything else, that kept you two together.

In both cases, or any variation in between, incorporating that experience through a reading could speak to the nature of the Divine in your story.

Some traditional readings are popular and moving for a reason. For example, Corinthians 1-4: “Love is Patient, Love is Kind,” brings everything back to the simple yet powerful concept of love. “The Art of a Good Marriage” helps you to remember to be your best.

But don’t just toss in a reading because it is familiar or easy. Take some time to find something that really moves you and can deliver your idea of the Divine in a way that articulates what you might not be able to. It could even be a popular song lyric or excerpt from a favorite novel.

At the completion of the wedding ceremony, and before I pronounce a couple married, I always say a blessing. I don’t believe a blessing is a restriction, or an agreement with a certain religious scripture. Rather it is a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.

Just because it may feel ambiguous, inviting the spiritual into your wedding ceremony doesn’t need to be daunting or feel overbearing. It’s ok to not know, because, guess what? Nobody knows for sure. Just go by your true feelings, and Faith, and you can’t go wrong.

No matter how simple or brief, the sacred can still be included in your wedding ceremony in a way that feels right for you.

Gayle Feallock, Ordained Minister and owner of Just Imagine Weddings & Ministry, has officiated wedding ceremonies in Southern California since 2007. With no religious upbringing, she was a spiritual blank slate and eventually discovered her own spirituality thanks to generous teachers, leaders, mentors and schools. She welcomes all faiths and creates a sacred space for two people to celebrate their love and commitment in their wedding ceremony, for dearest friends and family to witness and support. http://www.justimagineweddings.com

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“I’ll be there in Spirit” . . . do you really mean it?

You make plans with girlfriends for a fun night out. Something comes up so you have to cancel, and in your text you also say, “but I’ll be there in Spirit!”

Does that mean, for the duration of the event you’re missing, that you will be in prayer or meditation, thinking about your friends and their fun night out?

Or, do you say it just to soften the blow? I get it, you don’t want to offend or dismay your host, and somehow this phrase indicates you’re REALLY sorry.
But, in my view, it’s a cop-out. What is wrong with simply saying, “I won’t be able to attend. I’m so sorry. Hope you have a great time.”
Period.

Why do I think this is such a big deal?
Because, tossing this phrase around cheapens it for when you really DO mean it.

spiritFor example, I recently gave a reiki healing to a client on the other side of the country. A long-distance reiki session.
This involved instructing the client to lie down at a specific time, eyes closed, focusing on their issue.
This involved setting up my reiki room and getting into a deep meditative state, intending that the reiki energy was becoming activated in my client.
In this case, I really WAS there in spirit. Focusing completely on engaging on a spiritual level at a long distance. It’s quite powerful. I did some work with reiki on her solar plexus. After the session she told me she experienced a lot of sensation around her stomach area. I didn’t tell her that’s what I was working on.

OR, during ceremony, when someone has passed and is there in spirit.
I’ve had this experience particularly at baby blessings: when a grandparent has passed, and we invoke their name during the baby blessing. For example, the parents of the baby have experienced a hummingbird buzzing by at the moment the grandparent is mentioned.

During a memorial service, at a sacred moment, something goes a little screwy with the A/V equipment. The client experiences that as the one who’s passed is sending a little ‘hello’ – especially if that person had generally been a fun trickster in their lifetime, too.

Words are powerful. Remember that the next time you catch yourself saying “I’ll be there in spirit!”
The truth is, you really do have the power within you to be there in spirit, whether you experience that through prayer, meditation, or simply spending time focusing  good wishes on another person or situation – it’s an incredible feeling, and can actually be experienced by the other person or have a positive impact.

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“Marriage is a Promise of Love, Marriage is a Commitment to Life,

the best that two people can find and bring out in each other . . . “

hc.tran | photography www.hungctran.com

 

Photo credit: Hung C. Tran Photography / http://www.hungctran.com

 

Book your 2017 wedding date by Dec. 31, 2016

and receive $100 off officiating services!

As your wedding ceremony officiant I will work with you to express your story in a ceremony unique to you as a couple, that will engage your family and friends as well. Just Imagine the story you can tell. . . .

Services include:

mrandmr-farris

 

Photo credit: Derek Chad / http://www.derekchad.com

 

*unlimited emails (or scheduled phone calls) to create your customized ceremony with you; providing and guiding you on selections for poems, readings or rituals.
*attend and/or conduct rehearsal.
*officiate your ceremony on your wedding day (arriving half-hour early for any setup, sound check, etc. )
*sign and mail your marriage license after the ceremony

*$250 deposit to book your wedding date

CONTACT: gayle@justimagineweddings.com / 619-865-9482

*Not in combination with other discounts. Does not apply to “Just Us Two” rates.

Whether you exchange vows on the beach, the place you first met, or your own back yard, Just Imagine will help you create the ceremony of your dreams.

into-the-drink-brunson
Photo credit: Cassidy Hall / http://www.17spaces.org

Gayle Feallock officiates nondenominational wedding ceremonies, uniting couples in marriage since 2007.

 

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An intimate oceanfront wedding ceremony, at Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff. Not only uniting a couple in marriage, but creating extended family, with daughters gaining sisters.

~What a treat for the guests to be serenaded with the talent of Israel Maldonado
~Gorgeous bouquets by Isari
~Wedding planned and coordinated by the ever professional and talented Laura Rizzo
~All images captured by the fantastic Boyd Harris

ceremonysite

Boulders, beach, and ocean waves at Pacific Coast Grill create a dramatic backdrop for a simple ceremony

rocks

Without a traditional aisle and arch, wedding planner extraordinaire Laura Rizzo created the personal touch, with names written on beach stones as place markers for the wedding party.

daughternecklace

Sweet image of daughter helping mom with a beautiful wedding gift from her husband-to-be, just before the ceremony

ceremony open

friendsandfamily

For an intimate feel, guests were invited to gather in a half circle around the bride and groom

happycoupleceremony

mrandmrs

Mr. and Mrs.!

kissingdoves

Everyone was feeling the love!

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I’ve lived in San Diego more than 30 years, and officiated all over the county for the last 9, and can’t believe I’ve never stepped foot inside this gem!

Thanks so much to event coordinator Heather Hayes for giving me the grand tour yesterday!

Junipero exteriorIf you have a love of the historical, the Junipero Serra museum might be perfect for your wedding.

Situated high on the hill above Old Town San Diego, the views are amazing. Inside the museum, beautiful artifacts line the space that is designed almost like a chapel, to reflect mission revival architecture.

Challenges:
~you need to bring in your own rental items, eg. chairs, etc.
~as a historical landmark, it is not ADA compliant, so not accessible for anyone in wheelchair
~no heating or air conditioning. Would be lovely in the summertime, but winter months you might suggest your female guests bring a wrap.

Good News:
~within the intimate indoor acoustics of thick adobe walls, oftentimes a microphone is not even needed
~unlike some small chapels, this venue can seat 140 guests
~they do allow unity candles during the ceremony (some sites do not allow open flame of any kind)
~two big getting-ready rooms!

Not to mention old-world charm and a unique venue that even some of your local guests might have not yet experienced.

junipero interior

Photo by True Photography

Check out the setup for a wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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