Bonfire night and the sky is full of fireworks here at the La Rosa Hotel in Whitby. This is an image from my window of the ancient abbey, stimulus for Bram Stoker's Dracula. La Rosa was a boarding house in Victorian times and Lewis Carroll was known to hole up to write here.
Winter seems to have arrived with full force and summer feels like an age ago. The lovely thing about my work as a celebrant is that I get to meet some fantastic people, build a focused relationship, and tune into them, albeit for a short time.
People generally gravitate to the people they connect with and who 'see' them and doing this work is no different. In fact when the chemistry is right it's possible to make a truly magical ceremony.
When imaginations fire off each other, the collective team endeavour means something special becomes possible that brings the best ideas together. As a theatre maker and writer each prospective ceremony is a time to roll up my sleeves, listen carefully and collaborate.
In the pursuit of access to ensuring that each ceremony is fresh and reflective of the person or people who are commissioning it I know that replenishing my own creative energy is essential. So after a few busy weeks of writing and conducting a range of ceremonies I have come away to Whitby in North Yorkshire to a creative writing retreat run by writer Claire Steele from Magical journeys. It's such a brilliant opportunity to pause and reflect for a while and to keep the writing flowing.
It's a source of new ideas and gives a little space away to attend to and think about the service I offer and how to continuously improve it. I learn so much from my clients about the things that matter to them and this in turn directs the way I write and structure ceremonies. Each one is as different and unique as the people involved of course.
When I chat to people it doesn't usually take long to get an initial feel for them and the things that are important. There's a direct line into what matters most. That's always what guides me in suggesting ideas, rituals, music, readings etc; and it's uncanny how often as the conversation flows the suggestions pop into my head. It's the most special thing to go away with the shape and structure emerging quickly and the desire to get pen to paper as soon as possible.
So I'm truly grateful for this development time and raring to go back next week to implement some new learning!