Friday, December 10, 2010

DIY - Perform Your Own Personal Ceremony

Do It Yourself. I’ve been a Do It Yourselfer for longer than I can remember. So, it’s easy for me to understand when a person wants to do things for themselves. In fact, I heartily encourage it. I would rather show you how to fish than to give you a fish.

We’re talking about personal ceremonies not legal ceremonies like marriages. Let me give you a few examples of a personal ceremony.

Family Reunions. Those can be joyous or deadly. There was a person who called me dreading her family getting together for a holiday because there was always bickering and back stabbing. As much as she wanted to visit with her relatives, she was that reluctant to go. It also involved a trip of a thousand miles which made it impossible for me to be there.

The solution: I wrote a ceremony for her that she could orchestrate herself. It went so smoothly and beautifully that several family members that I had never met wrote and told me how bonding it was.

End of a relationship. A man had broken up with his live-in partner of several years. He still felt the presence of his partner and wanted to free himself, take back his own space, and at the same time, honor the fun times that were shared. I wrote a ceremony for one. It worked.

Here’s what I can offer you: I will write any type of personal ceremony with clear and concise directions that you or a person of your choosing can easily perform. This is not a legal ceremony. It’s strictly a ceremony or a celebration for you and your family or friends. All ceremonies are personalized and written with your wants, needs and desires in mind. The following is a partial list limited only by your imagination:

New Years Celebration
Burning Bowl
Forgiveness
Family Reunions
House Blessings
Reclaiming Your Space
Release of a Relationship
Starting Over
Your Choice……..

Make your request on the Contact form. I will get back to you to discuss the details. The modest fee of $100 may be paid through PayPal.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trend Alert: Feathers!!!

I'm in love with the feather trend going strong in the wedding industry right now, and I know I'm not the only one!

Consider using feathers two ways:
All white to create for a crisp look...





Or use the peacock to inspire you with feathers and bright, bold colors...



Monday, November 8, 2010

Are You Up or Down?

Normally, I’m full of energy, happy, and believing I can handle anything that comes up in my life. Last week I had an off day. Followed by another which was followed by yet another. One day, ok, we all have off days. But by the fourth day of being lethargic, no motivation, no apparent creativity flowing through my veins, I started looking at what was wrong with me. I couldn’t figure me out.

Finally, I came across the perfect solution. I was looking in the wrong direction.

Where are you looking when you’re driving a car? You’re looking in front of you, of course. You may check your mirrors and glance from side to side but basically you look straight ahead. You have to concentrate on where you are at the moment, where you are on the road now. Not the street you just pulled out of or the street you drove on yesterday. You plan on where you’re going and drive paying attention to where you are.

When you don’t pay attention to what you are currently doing you may very well be involved in an accident.

When I was having so many off days and accidents, I wasn’t paying attention to not getting enough sleep, for one thing. I forgot how important full nights of sleep were.

When I started searching for what I was doing wrong or neglecting in my life I obliterated what was right; disremembering all the good stuff.

You most probably have heard the saying, “Count your blessings”. That was exactly what the cure was. I started to count, number, and add up all that I have. I’m talking abundance. Profound abundance!

There is plenty of air. I’ll never run out of fresh air. All the faucets work in my house so I have plenty of clean water. The roof over my head is solid, no leaks; walls are tight so no drafts. There is food in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry and cabinets, plus pots to cook in and plates to put the food on when it’s done. Then I can sit on a chair at a table to eat.

I have friends who are like family and family who are friends.

You get the idea. If you woke up on the right side of the grass, you have something to be thankful for. Make your own list and add 5 new items for which you are thankful every day. It’s called a Gratitude Journal.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rockford, IL Wedding Location: Cliffbreakers

Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort in Rockford, IL could be the ideal location for your wedding!
Their ballrooms feature shimmering crystal chandeliers, open-air decks and fireplaces. They are the ONLY property that offers a view of the Rock River from every ballroom and they can accommodate anywhere from 10 guests to 1200.



For more assistance in planning your dream wedding, contact Power Wedding Planning, your Rockford, IL wedding planner!

www.powerweddingplanning.com

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Elegant Halloween Wedding Inspiration

In the spirit of Halloween...
I present a few elegant (read: NOT cheesy!) Halloween wedding inspiration boards.




And for those of you who don't love the idea of having orange as a wedding color, I present two black and red gothic inspiration boards:

Love these ideas??? Check out my business website to set up a consultation with me and I can help you plan your perfect wedding!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Save Money on Your Wedding

  • Engagement Photograph Have a friend use a digital camera to take several great shots. All you have to pay for is the prints.

  • Use EVite for invitations for events such as the bridal shower or bachelorette party. Works especially well if your friends and family frequently use the internet.

  • Shop in bulk, try Costco, Sam's Club, and party outlet stores.

  • Use an MP3 Player or iPod instead of hiring a DJ.

  • Library wedding books can be great sources of inspiration and you don't have to pay for them!

  • Don't rush into booking vendors before discussing things with your groom and other key players of your wedding.

  • Choose a smaller bridal party, this equals less costs for bouquets, gifts, and transportation.

  • List every item on your budget and add a reserve for miscellaneous for things such as tips.

  • Venue capacity. Make sure the number of guests you are having will fit!

  • Your wedding gown should be ordered according to the manufacturer's measurements. Don't get caught up on the fact that it might not be your usual size

Like these tips? Visit my website or become a fan on facebook and set up your free initial consultation for more tips that will help you save on your wedding! http://www.powerweddingplanning.com/

Monday, October 11, 2010

Freedom to Choose Again

The spiritual world, as you would imagine, occupies a fair percentage of my thinking, pondering and contemplating. And it seems to me that this life, this world, is all about choices, i.e. this or that, up or down, light or dark, peace or pain. But, isn’t that what this world, Earth, is all about? Duality. Left and right, hot and cold, night and day, ebb and flow, you and me.

We came here to experience choices. We are so loved and so free that we can choose whatever we want to experience. And change our mind at any time – I might add. Change our mind at any time. We have the freedom to choose again.

Let’s bring that down a little closer. We choose how to handle each moment. We can get irritated when a driver cuts us off in traffic or goes too slow in front of us or we can excuse them because they didn’t know we were in a hurry. I can’t control the other driver but I can control my thoughts about them.

We could choose to be insulted by a remark or not accept the thought into our consciousness. We can turn off the tickle button so we don’t have to writhe on the floor and be in painful laughter (which isn’t funny).

We could pause and hold a door for the person behind us or let it slam in their face. We always have a choice AND we can always choose again and again.

This world is based on time. We can use it to our advantage or let it diminish us. I have the freedom to be blind or to see into my brothers, past their masks and fears and into the deepest corners of their hearts where love lives; where the presence of God is whole and complete, perfect in every way.

How will I choose today? What will I choose to experience?

Jeshua could see the wheat already ripe even as the plant was beginning to grow. He knew the perfection that was and is at the core of every person; that same perfection that was and is in Him. He chose to see health instead of sickness, life instead of death, wholeness, joy, peace, kindness, and love. He simply choose what He wanted to experience. And then did.

No matter what choice I make, I can always choose again and again and again. I have that freedom and so do you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tour of Best Events Showroom

Today I took a tour of the Best Events Showroom and Design Center, as well as their banquet hall (both located in Janesville, WI). The Showroom is filled with displays of the available rentals they offer for weddings and other events. A beautiful, colorful array of linens adorned every table, and each was topped with elegant place settings and centerpieces. The best part about this showroom: everything in it is available to rent for your wedding!!!! And the staff who work at the showroom are knowledgable and friendly. Great place for brides to go, even if it is only for a little inspiration.
















I also visited the Best Events Banquet Hall today. Again...beautiful! It is a large space, with catering and a bar on-site. This space is a must-see for anyone who is searching for a suitable reception space.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do You Need A Wedding Rehearsal?

The need for a wedding rehearsal depends on how large you’re planning to have your bridal party. if there will be more than the bride, groom and 2 witnesses standing up there before the Officiant the answer is “yes”, especially if there will be children as flower girls or ring bearers.

If possible, hold the rehearsal only a day or 2 before the wedding so that it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. You’ll have enough to do on your special day without adding in the rehearsal the morning of. On site is best, of course. But a similar setting will suffice in a pinch. If you are using an alternate site draw a diagram or floor plan of the actual setting and give a copy to all participants so they’ll have a mental image of the scene.

Who should attend? The bride, groom, their parents, grandparents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, (ushers) best man, best lady (maid or matron of honor) flower girls, ring bearers, Officiant and event planner. If there are children involved, have adult supervision for them both at the rehearsal and wedding in case the children need a quite place to rest.

First I’ll give you the traditional procession line-up and then current happenings.

The groom’s family and friends sit on the right. The bride’s on the left. Both front rows are saved for the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom.

Order of entrance after all guests have been seated is:

  • Grandmothers and mothers are escorted by usher or groomsman.
  1. Grandmother of the groom – followed by grandfather
  2. Grandmother of the bride – followed by grandfather
  3. Mother of the groom – followed by groom’s father
  4. Mother of the bride
  • Officiant, groom and best man (if no side access available)
  • Bridesmaids escorted by groomsmen
  • Flower girl(s) and ring bearer
  • Best Lady (maid or matron of honor)
  • Bride escorted by her father

That’s the traditional way but you could do it any way you like. It’s your wedding. If you’d like the girls to walk in single file then the groomsmen would stay in the front after they sat the grandmothers and mothers or enter from the side.

The bride could be escorted by the groom, her mother, step-father, brother, uncle, sister, grandmother, aunt or walk in alone. The bride could change partners part way down the aisle.

The Officiant could be escorted by the groom. The groom could escort his mother.

Some personal suggestions of my own:
Bride walks on the right of her escort and stops at the end of the front row of seats. As the groom steps forward to meet his bride, the father kisses the bride. The father shakes the groom’s hand and then steps to his left to sit. This way the father is free of the bride’s train. The groom offers his arm or hand to the bride and together they step forward to the Officiant.

When small children are involved they are usually more comfortable sitting rather than standing through out the whole procedure. Show them where they will sit and by whom they will sit. This will be the adult that is responsible for the care and comfort of the child.

Very young children could be walked in by a bridesmaid or the maid or matron of honor. I’ve been in weddings where the couple did not take this into consideration and a father or bystander carried the child down the aisle. Needless to say, the man was not prepared nor dressed for the occasion and it was very awkward.

If you don’t have a wedding or event planner, have someone who can help at the rehearsal and the day of the wedding who will signal each person when to walk, open doors for the bridal party (if applicable) and signal the processional music.

A few other miscellaneous items about “the walk”:
  • Each person simply walks to the music rather than step-touch-step-touch. A natural step is more relaxed and less taxing.
  • Flowers are carried at the waist/stomach area and not flopped down in front of “you know what”.
  • The gentleman, who is escorting a lady, bends his proffered arm at the elbow and his forearm gently rests in front of his waist. That looks better than letting the arm dangle.
  • And the last thing is – smile! If you look happy you’ll feel happy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rock County Fall Bridal Expo October 10th

Check out the Rock County Fall Bridal Expo this October at the Pontiac Convention Center in Janesville. It is being held on Sunday, October 10th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per person.

A trunk sale is being held by Brides Number One and bridal gowns will be sold from $250 or less! Other dresses (including bridesmaid dresses) will be $50 or less! Cash only for this sale.
There will be prizes and giveaways, beautiful gowns, flowers, and samples of catered foods and wedding cakes. Check out http://www.besteventscatering.com/ for more information.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Experience the Experience! A Walking Meditation

One of my favorite places to contemplate is when walking around Lake Johnson in beautiful Raleigh NC. I was there today breathing in the clean air and delighting in the different scents. I marveled at the sense of smell that dogs enjoy. That lead me to the oneness theory, then, why are we here.

It occurred to me that one reason we become human is to experience diverse situations, issues, relationships, cultures, thought patters, etc. The problems lie in what we hold onto and the issues and situations that become our embedded stories.

There is nothing wrong with remembering an experience even a painful one as long as we don’t incorporate the pain and suffering into our psyche.

As I walked, the thoughts became a walking meditation. It’s a delightful process, one that I recommend enjoying often. Once you get the hang of it, let your imagination soar. There is no limit to what you can join with, feel a part of, sense, and imagine being. It’s all a part of our human experience.

This is the meditation: as you walk (or sit) be aware of your body and what it’s touching. Become aware of your breathing. As you start to concentrate on your breathing and the air, be the air that you are taking into your lungs through your nose and say to yourself, “I am the air.” Feel the air filling your lungs and becoming part of your body and your blood. Hold that thought and fully experience the air and the scent that it carries. Then release it.

Feel the wind on your skin, hold the thought to fully experience being the wind and release it. Imagine being the path you’re walking on experience being the path and release it. If a leaf falls, be the leaf disconnecting from the tree and be the falling leaf. Watch it float and settle on the ground and imagine what it feels like and release it.

Be the rock and release it. Be the tree and release it. Be the worm and release it. Be the person coming toward you and release it. Be the sound of the cricket and release it. Be the water, feel its soft wetness, the flow of the current or its stillness, experience it and release it.

As I walked I felt an itch. I became the itch fully, went into and experienced the itch all without touching the itchy place. When I was ready to release it the itch dissolved. It had been experienced and release. I could have held onto the thought of being itchy and possibly escalated it into a rash that I could show everyone how much discomfort I was having keeping the experience. Or I could go into it fully and release it.

Make no judgment of something being good or bad. Be it. Experience it. Have no concern of nice or ugly. Imagine being a slug, a bird, a feather, a spider, a turtle, a web. Simply experience the experience and let it go.

This will help the next time you get mad or feel angry. Be mad. Be good and mad. When you’ve had enough of being mad, let it go. When you can experience the feeling fully and let it go you have released it. It’s gone. Don’t carry that anger around to poison your system and every thing around you. Be angry, address the issue and let it go.

Write me, if you like, and tell me how it went for you.

Experience the experience and let it go.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dare To Be Different

I’ve been writing and performing some out-of-the-box weddings lately that are inspiring as well as unusual. I’ll tell you about a few of the most recent ones.

A man proposed to the love of his life in the morning. She called me shortly after noon to ask if I would do a wedding on short notice. They applied for and received their license and were married IN a lake that evening of the same day.

I’ll explain a little. The couple wanted a serene outdoor setting and chose one of NC’s beautiful near-by lakes. Attending the service would be the couple, her 2 children and 2 friends as witnesses. As soon as we arrived at the location, the children couldn’t resist the welcoming water, kicked off their shoes and waded in. They didn’t want to come out! So the bride took off her shoes (and pantyhose) and strolled in too. The groom decided it looked like a good idea, popped off his shoes, rolled up his pant legs and meandered in after them. There was no way I was going to stand on the shore so I joined the 4 of them in the water and we laughed all the way through the ceremony. The 2 witnesses dutifully recorded it all on film.

The next outdoor wedding was to take place in a magnificent garden complete with gazebo, pond, foot bridge, exotic flowers and manicured lawn. And then it started to sprinkle. We waited for awhile but the clouds insisted on kissing us with its moisture. The bride remained focused on her garden dream wedding. The chairs were wiped off, umbrellas provided and the wedding party processed in between the raindrops. No one really got wet, just delightfully cooled.

The very next day was a wedding in front of a log cabin. We still had clouds but their purpose was to shield the sun. This was another perfect nature setting. The green lawn sported white chairs draped with golden bows. The center aisle held a white carpet strewn with flower petals. At the end of the aisle stood an exquisite arch covered in flowers and positioned between 2 deep pink crepe myrtle trees in full bloom. On either side of the archway were 2 white columns standing as sentinels, topped with lacy ferns. The bride’s gown was elegant in its simplicity, gently decorated with pearls to match her single string pearl necklace. The ceremony included a hand fasting which extended into a hand holding ceremony. It was just the right touch without being overdone. After the service, a lavish feast of homemade treats was served on the back deck.

The point to remember is, “Whatever you can conceive can be achieved.” In my book, the impossible only takes a little longer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Children In The Wedding Party

So, you’re thinking of having your 4 year old niece as the flower girl and your fiancĂ©’s 5 year old twin nephews as ring bearers. After watching the children run around and rolling on the ground while they’re playing you’re having second thoughts. At the same time you don’t want to offend anyone in the family by not allowing the children walk down the aisle on your special day.

With a tiny bit of preparation it could work perfectly.

First off I highly recommend a rehearsal the day before the wedding. Children (and adults) feel much more secure knowing exactly where they are walking from, where they are walking to, where they will stand, how they will exit, and where they’ll go after they process out.

Second, have someone, who is not in the wedding party, assigned to the children. Sometimes when the child is very young the excitement can be overwhelming and they need to leave the room to be taken to a safe comfortable place where they can be calmed down. This seldom happens but it’s always nice to be prepared just in case.


Third, I favor the little ones sitting down after they walk in rather than standing up with the rest of the wedding party. However, at one wedding I performed, the 2 year old flower girl was the daughter of the Matron of Honor and the little one wanted to stand by her mother. Fine! The little girl simply got up from her chair, walked over to her mother and stood there, happy as could be. It was a nice added touch. It’s was better to let her stay then to try and convince her to take her seat.

Fourth, be prepared to go along with whatever the child or children would like to do (unless they’re screaming their heads off). Children are always cute no matter what they do (with the one screaming exception). At a recent wedding that I officiated at, the flower girl and the ring bearer started to walk in together as planned. But when the 4 year old boy saw the 6 year old flower girl dropping petals on the ground he stopped to pick them up and proceeded down the aisle after her, picking up each and every petal! When he finally reached the end of the aisle, he ran to his dad declaring, “Dad, I saved all the petals!!” Cute!

Fifth and most importantly, they are stepping outside of their box. Praise them and tell them what a great job they are doing and how important they are to the ceremony. They will never forget your sincere gratitude.

What is my guidance on having children in the wedding party? Go ahead. Be prepared. Give them directions. And let them be their beautiful, innocent selves.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Women Planning Their Weddings at Work

I found this article online at Forbes:
http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/22/wedding-planning-the-knot-wedding-channel-websites-forbes-woman-time-working-brides-survey.html?partner=whiteglove_google

With so many women using work time to plan their weddings, I think they should considering hiring a wedding consultant. By doing so, women can still have the wedding of their dreams, but their work will not suffer during the process.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review of The Modern Bride Survival Guide





















The Modern Bride Survival Guide is the most inspiring and practical wedding planning book I have come across. It is without a doubt the most visually appealing wedding planning book available. This book is basically a "best of Modern Bride magazine" display. It has many of the features we already love about the Modern Bride magazine and plenty of lovely photographs that get your creative juices flowing.

This book is packed with tips from experts and fellow brides. Chapters are well-organized and cover every important aspect of a wedding in a simple yet creative format. Author Antonia Van Der Meer, who is also editor-in-chief of Modern Bride magazine, perfectly captures the fun spirit typically found in the magazine so many brides-to-be are already in love with, while delivering needed information to brides to help them through the stress and excitement of planning their wedding day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What's Your River Like?



Mine is White Water.......

Sunday was a great day. I was so excited to be alive and fully living my life. I was ecstatic! I was like a kid filled with Pop Tarts. Life couldn't get better than this.

And then Monday happened. Out of the blue came this massive sucker punch. The rug was pulled out from under me and I was on my face, down for the count.

Tuesday I was still wobbly and knew I had to do some serious meditating. Praying is talking to the Boss. Meditation is listening. The whole point is to not think. So I listened.

After a few minutes I felt "the connection". I don't know how else to explain it. It's God manifesting as Phran. Don't get me wrong. I'm not being God. God is being me and I am in complete co-operation with the experience that God would like to have as me.

It was pointed out that "we" have chosen an alive, pulsating, sometimes wild and dangerous, butt-whipping river to ride. There are smooth flat places when we can rest and enjoy the beautiful, spectacular scenery. But around any bend the land could pitch, rocks can appear big and bold or sneakily hide just below the surface where you can't easily see them.

Put that together and you have foaming, roiling, breathtaking White Water. And when you least expect it - a waterfall. YA-HOOOO!

I always have the choice to simply sit in the canoe and get bashed and tossed about, or take up my paddle, use my muscles and brain to ride the river.

Life, or a river, no matter how rough or wild the ride is not to succumb to but to relish, dig into, be a part of and go with to the end. It doesn't matter if you lose your shirt or break a paddle. Whoop it up and enjoy your journey!

PS. I got out of my funk and will live my life to the fullest - white water or flat water, I'll take what comes up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Life is a Piece of Cake

The world is like cake. Cake is not real food. We all agree on cake being something to eat but yours is different from mine. Mine is carrot spice cake. Yours may be chocolate, double chocolate, vanilla, yellow, white, devil’s food, angel food, black forest, German chocolate, with or without nuts, raisins, chopped fruit or orange peel, one layer or 10, with or without frosting/filling/icing, etc. etc. etc.

The cake is made up of the ingredients that we choose to put in according to our taste and what we want it to look like. The world is made up of our thoughts that reflect our preferences and what we want it to look like.

Its how my family likes it. Its how my mother/father always made it.

Some days it’s nutty. Some days it’s dry, stale and crumbly or moist and fresh. Some days it’s covered in whipped cream. Some days the cream turns sour. Some days we grab for a big slice and get a handful of crumbs. Some days we simply don’t want dessert.

Some never taste the cake. Some devour so much they become obese and throw their weight around trying to bully others.

Cake is not real food no matter how sweet it taste or pretty and artistic it looks. We will survive quite nicely without it.

The point is none of this is real. Our essence is beyond cake.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's a Personal Ceremony?

A personal ceremony is one that’s created just for you, your needs, your wishes. Maybe you have something to release and you want to do it in a profound and important way. Have a ceremony!

There are two recent situations that have come up that are great examples of out-of-the-box ceremonies that resulted in healing and happiness. One was created to clear emotional and physical abuse from the psyche and to clear the way for a new loving relationship. What a great event!

Another situation had to do with healing and re-bonding an entire family. A client came to me dreading a family reunion that was to occur the following month. She told me that it seemed as if every time her relatives would get together, there would be bickering, back stabbing, dredging up the past, and hateful comments.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about - if it hasn’t happened in your family, it’s happened to someone you know or you’ve seen it on TV. Have you ever noticed when you’re watching a family squabble on TV it’s funny, but when it happens to you it’s not?

So, she HAD to go to this family reunion or she’d never hear the end of it (you know how that goes as well, I’m sure).

I asked for a great deal of information so that I could get to the core of the situation and create a ceremony that everyone would take part in, not be too far out, be meaningful, not offensive, yet accomplish the desired results. She wanted everyone to get along and to appreciate each other.

There was one more ingredient. The reunion was several states away and I would not be able to be present. No problem. The solution was a conference room and a speaker phone.

I produced a forgiveness and an appreciation ceremony based on Ho’oponopono and the Burning Bowl. Did it work? Rather than take my word of “Yes, it was a huge success,” let me copy here a note I received from one of the relatives:

Dear Rev. Phran,

Thank you for taking the time out of your weekend to conduct that ‘cleansing experience.’ My wife and I found it very helpful to ‘erase our blackboard.’ It truly rounded out the celebration for the family! We really appreciate the time, effort, and leadership you gave to us and our family. God bless you!

Sincerely,
Ron & Debbie S.
Whatever you would like to celebrate, clear, cleanse, release, or forgive, I can write a personal ceremony about it for you – which is a perfect way to mark the event with a positive and momentous experience!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Burning Bowl

Burning Bowl is a releasing ceremony that could be done at any time, at the completion of a year or during a prenuptial party. Simply put, you write down what you want to release and you burn the paper.

Too simple?

Think about that for a moment. You travel through life, day after day, and sooner or later you’re going to do something that you wished you hadn’t, or you develop a habit that is now annoying, or you hold a grudge, or you hurt someone or yourself. Personally, I don’t have to think too long to find something that I wish wasn’t a part of me, my thinking pattern, my life, or my personality.

Granted, writing something down and burning up the paper is not going to physically do much more than making a pile of ashes. But, symbolism carries a mighty punch: shaking hands, giving a hug, waving a whole hand, or just one finger. They’re all symbols that lead you to feel a certain way.

In order to write something down on this paper, you have to think about what you want to release. What bugs you about yourself? You’ll never know if you don’t stop and think. And don’t give me that “I don’t want to stop and I don’t want to think” routine! If you don’t take out the garbage your house is going to smell. If you don’t clear out your mind occasionally, your thoughts will stink as well.

So, the first part of the process is to stop and quiet yourself, pull in your energies and breathe consciously. This is also called “centering.” You’re not doing any thinking yet, you’re settling in and preparing yourself. No thinking yet, just breathing and being quiet. You may want to close your eyes or play some soft music to help you relax and gather your thoughts.

Take your time. Let me repeat that. Take your time. You have all the time there is. If you’re rushing, one of your problems may be rushing. Give yourself a break. No pushing, pulling, kicking or screaming either.

Do you want to be calmer? Want more patience? Release what makes you frustrated. Want more happiness? Release what makes you sad. Some days you have to decide to be happy and not leave it to chance. If you get upset, choose again.

When you think of something that you don’t want to do, or have, or be anymore, write that item down on your paper. Go on to the next thought and write that down.Take whatever time you need. This is your time for you.

The next step is to actually burn the paper. Only burn the paper – not your fingers, sleeve, table or house. Choose a safe receptacle in a safe place, preferably outside. Have water ready or a wet towel in case of an accident.

As you light the paper mentally release the thoughts that are written. Give yourself another chance to make amends, to be a little different, to grow and expand in wisdom and integrity. Make sure the paper is completely burned and the fire is out before you walk away.

No, burning the paper will not make you better, richer, taller or thinner. What it will do is to help you bring to mind what would benefit you to change in your life. You can’t rectify anything that you won’t acknowledge. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Finally, go celebrate! You’ve done some very good work. Congratulate yourself. You are your own best friend. Treat yourself kindly and say nice things to the person looking back at you every morning in the mirror. The Burning Bowl ceremony could be performed singly, in a group setting, by itself, combined, or within another ceremony.

Live life to the fullest. It's yours to enjoy.