A simple technique to ensure you don’t miss the moment.

This past Memorial weekend, I stayed in a huge converted barn with 12 of the most important people of my life.

It was a non-bachelorette bachelorette weekend. Instead of penis straws, we had candles infused with specific prayers to manifest our desires. Instead of the Vegas strip, our view was a gorgeous grass-fed cattle farm. And instead of getting drunk and going out dancing, we did rituals.

What if I miss the moment?

The dress that my sis brought for the ritual, hanging in the barn afterwards.
The dress that my sis brought for the ritual, hanging in the barn afterwards.

Let me digress for a moment . . . Over the previous couple of weeks, I had been feeling really anxious about my upcoming wedding. I’d started to have dreams in which it was the wedding day but we hadn’t done enough preparation and everything was a disaster.

In one of these dreams, Mike surprised me with a cake as big as a house, shaped like a car, with him as the driver. And the delivery guys plunked it down right in the middle of our wedding ceremony site.

In another one, everyone was arriving and I was halfway dressed and realized I’d forgotten to do my hair and makeup so I was a complete mess.

Needless to say, my psyche had been in need of some soothing.

I’d been really scared that the wedding was going to come and go and that somehow I was going to miss the moment entirely.

Marking Our Moments

But this past weekend, for the non-bachelorette bachelorette, my sister Ann and my friend Meggan Watterson orchestrated two really powerful rituals to mark my last days before the wedding.

One involved my articulating the things I was ready to let go of so that I could step into this next phase unfettered. I included things like beliefs I was ready to release and past relationships I was ready to let go of. I burned the piece of paper on which all of these things were written, and then I lit two white candles while saying a prayer of healing and detoxification.

For the next ritual, the entire non-bachelorette group stood in a circle on the grass behind the house, and I was asked to share my vows to myself. I was given a bouquet of wildflowers and a wreath made of twigs and leaves, and I wore a white cotton dress which my sister had brought for the occasion.

Then each of the sweet souls in the circle spoke their vows to me as I stepped into this next phase of life.

It was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life. Talk about feeling awash in love.

Pushing the Boundaries of Presence

Now, let me be honest: these rituals made me feel uncomfortable.

I worried about what everyone else in the group thought. I worried that they’d think it was too weird. I worried that I was taking up too much time, energy, and attention.

I felt extremely vulnerable saying the things I wanted to release and making vows to myself out loud.

Our progress-obsessed culture often forgets to mark the transitions.

We don’t have as many rites of passage marking the important moments of our lives as cultures in less technologized and slower paced times had.

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A giggle fit during ritual #2.

By taking the time to consciously let go of the past and welcome the future in, though, we slow down so we don’t miss the moment.

What I have realized is that we put so much pressure on big days like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries because culturally we don’t take any other moments to pause and acknowledge our transitions.

We hop right from one job to the next without a moment’s thought.

We end one relationship and jump right into bed (literally or metaphorically) with the next person.

What I did this weekend was to let my life as a single woman end. I felt the grief of it. I felt the joy of it. And I was witnessed in all of it.

And, not surprisingly, I no longer feel anxious about the wedding.

The day will be what the day will be. I know it will be glorious. And I also know it’s going to go by quickly.

But the rituals of this past weekend tuned me in to a new frequency of consciousness about this transition.

Now, rather than obsessing about the color of the napkins or what type of ribbon I should put on the wedding favors, I can be present.

Here’s how to not miss the moment:

If you’re feeling obsessive or anxious about an area of your life, stop and ask yourself whether or not you’ve taken time to mark your most recent transitions.

  • Is there a relationship that you’re needing closure around?
  • Have you rushed right into the next project without acknowledging the work you did on the last one?
  • Has there been some other shift in your life that you never took a moment to mark?

Slow down and take the time to digest the moments of your life. There are some things that you really only will experience once.

twitter_standingYour life is magnificent and it deserves the time to be noticed.

How do you mark your most important transitions? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below – I’d love to continue the conversation with you!

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47 Responses to A simple technique to ensure you don’t miss the moment.

  1. Kate

    Thanks for sharing this. Can you believe I was wondering why ain’t u writing a new blog.
    I have been miserable as one project just stopped midway and they told me they don’t require my services. It was a huge blow to my ego as it was good money.
    Wht I learnt from our article is I need to take in Wht all I have achieved. Savoir the moment

    Bless u kate!

  2. I love reading your posts Kate! The circle must have been such a beautiful experience.

    Makes me think I could do more taking the time to appreciate moments like that. I tend to look more to the future and sometimes forget things I’ve already accomplished. THanks for the reminder to appreciate too. I’ll make a start by journaling about them!

  3. Kate, I am so happy for you. Your description of being in the moment for an important life transition was beautiful. As a mom of a now 20 year old I remember planning a huge Bar Mitzvah and waking up with those same type of anxious dreams you described. Once I slowed down and remembered that the only person who cared about the color of the napkins and the kids favors was me, I released the worry and ENJOYED the incredible moments with my family and friends. Best Wishes for a wonderful wedding and many happy times to come.

  4. Hi Kate, wow I loved this post. It was a very timely post for me as I’ve had a significant relationship in my life come to an end and I felt a lot of guilt and regret surrounding how it ended. Instead of pushing on and finding something new to do without processing I undertook a seven day releasing ritual which saw me meditate and journal on my feelings and the relationship. Ultimately I forgave myself and undertook a ritual which saw me burn the pages I had written while saying prayers and while it was the first ritual I’ve undertaken I was surprised at the power of it. I now no longer feel any guilt and feel like I have really processed my feelings and towards the end of the seven days I’ve had an exciting new opportunity to focus on myself and building a new business present itself to me. I love rituals and will definitely do it again! xx

  5. Love this! Transitions and the small moments are of equal relevance as those big moments! All of life is transitory… and while we walk this earth everything is about cycles. I am 41 years old and due to an accident my husband had at work am transitioning from 20 plus years as a stay at home mom to the primary bread winner… returning to school and working at the same time! This blog post has given me the idea of honoring this process in a similar manner so I give it to myself as a gift instead of something I was thrown headlong into..perhaps easing my way through this transition instead of feeling like I’ve been hit by a train ;) Thanks for sharing your path.

  6. Thank you for sharing, Kate. It’s such a wonder to move through life and realize how quickly it passes us by. I am also in transition, relocating my family to a new town and more profoundly watching my children end another school year and transition into their next phase as well. It’s comforting to know that even you, my distant friend, feel fear and uncertainty and the reminder to honor every precious moment is even more beautiful. Regarding your wedding, I’d love to share with you that while much may not go off as you planned, there truly is nothing like being surrounded by the people who love you most in the world watching you pledge your love to the person you love most and that is the best recipe for an memorable day worth savoring. Thank you again for sharing and I wish you so much joy, laughter and oh so much love on your gorgeous day. Best, Jill

  7. Kate: This was so moving and so beautiful; thank you for sharing with all of us. I felt like I was right there in that barn with you. My best wishes to you and Mike for a glorious wedding day and a happy ever after.

  8. SOO awesome, Kate!! I’m glad you had this experience. It is so true, as I’m older than most of my friends, getting married this year as well at 31…I love this idea of celebrating & noticing the transition & doing it your way. It’s meaningful & momentous for you.

  9. Sharing advice I received before my wedding pert near 22 years ago (7/11)…..your wedding is the only time in your life that these particular people will be gathered together. Enjoy each moment!

    I’ll add that it might serve you to keep your focus on your marriage relationship and not so much on the time-limited wedding festivities. Hard to do at this stage of the process.

  10. How lovely and sacred your beautiful non-bachelorette bachelorette weekend celebration, I enjoyed reading this so much….I immediately gave grand closure to anything that was lingering for me, getting beyond forgiveness into acknowleding the blessing that may be clothed as pain, grief, loss….thank u! May you continue to shine brightly!

    Magda

  11. I loved this post and even as I read it, I was thinking which of my friends could I do this with, without feeling too self-conscious or out there :) so loved how honest you were about the experience. Good luck for the wedding day.

  12. Kate, thank you for this. I find that having been in the military for so many years, and now as a retiree, I am not used to slowing down and appreciating things. Sometimes I feel bad or lazy when I’m not rushing around making things happen. Thank you again for sharing the ceremony you did with your loved ones.

  13. What a beautiful way to celebrate and honor this part of your life. You gave me the idea to have a special celebration with both of my kids before they leave for college and a new hockey team this August. I think they will really benefit from having a ceremonial experience as they start this new chapter in their lives. Then I will have my own as I move into being a part time empty nester! Thank you <3

  14. Thank you for this sweet post. Your non-bachelorette weekend sounds so rich, special, sweet… Exactly how I envision mine… Should I marry again (I shall!). Your simple dress on the barn door will be my symbol of sack ring the moment, marking transitions. ☺️

  15. Lovely Kate, thank you so much for sharing this experience. I’m a mother of 2 daughters (25 & 22) and even the say they don’t want to get married, when that day comes I’m going to create a simular ritual for them. Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. Beautifully written and perfectly timed. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 5 wonderful years as my daughter enters school in the fall so will I into a year long Nutrition course. While the next phase of my life and her’s is eagerly anticipated it’s not without a bit of sadness. I’ve been busy planning and organizing our last couple of months so not to miss a second before schedules and study take over. I’ve been searching for a way to mark this transition now I have an idea, a quiet beach here is Nova Scotia (our favourite sunny day destination) my daughter and I present in the moment. Writing our thoughts and dreams on the sand to be washed away with tide. Enjoy and savour every moment of your wedding day!

  17. Beautifully written, Kate. Thank you for sharing. I especially low the idea of your vows to yourself! At weddings there is so much emphasis on the vows to our partner – rightly so – what do we promise to them or perhaps to the relationship. It nearly feels like that you as the person are not important anymore. When in a relationship there is a you and a her/him and then there is a together. Vows to ourselves can be used in other transitional periods, heck, just in everyday life as part of self-care I should say. It is, however, beautiful and perhaps once in a life-time opportunity to hear vows from your friends. What a great support :)

    • yeah – that part was really powerful. And the cool thing is that we don’t have to wait until we’re getting married to do vows to ourselves!

  18. I love what your friend and sister did. Not everyone wants a stripper, penis ice cubes, etc… But we do want to be valued and recognized for all that we were and what we are becoming. I think you make a wonderful point that we should pause and reflect on all our transitions (maybe in not such an elaborate way). What a truly special way to help you ease into the next phase of your life!

  19. What a beautiful way to celebrate your Divine Feminine self and what powerful meaning that has for year to come. Too many bachelorette party’s today involve people getting “trashed” from too much drinking and fighting. I will share this with my daughter when it is her turn!
    This will be part of the foundation you build for you and Mike. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend your time prior to your wedding. It is profoundly beautiful!

  20. This is beautiful Kate. I love that you took the time to mark this really momentous and special occasion in a way that feels real and right to you, even though you felt a little uncomfortable with it.

    Where I live in Southern Oregon, this kind of thing is “normal”, and I relish in that! My friend is about to give birth to her second boy, and we had a “Blessingway”. Instead of silly games and plastic gifts, we took the time to honor her transition, bless the baby, give her special prayers and wishes for a smooth birth. We listened to her fears and helped her let them go, and sang a song to the baby in her womb. It was special and meaningful, not just to her, but to all the women who came. It gave everyone a sense of belonging and presence in the moment. and was really special.
    There were some women there who had had a traditional baby shower, and they spoke to how deeply this more sacred circle touched them. It seemed to give permission to dive deeper and to expect more honoring for the mamas.

    Blessings on your passage!

  21. Oh girl, so lovin’ your style!

    How beautiful + transforming to create these rituals to help you move forward with more grace + ease.

    Soooo happy for you, Kate.

    Truly, this next step will change you forever…and in such profound ways. I believe our relationship journey is one of the most spiritual journeys we’ll take…

    Wishing you an open heart, a present mind, and an abundance of joy + well~being as you unite in love.

    xo,

    Denise

  22. Hi Kate!

    Thank you for this beautiful post. It makes me feel good to witness women be so freaking amazing.

    Your wedding is going to be so amazing. I wish you an experience even better than you’ve ever imagined.

    Your sister and friends are genius to mark this rite of passage in such sacred ceremony.

    Namaste~

    Jennie

  23. This post was just divine! I’m so glad you had loved ones around to remind you to slow down and to help you honor this magnificent transition!! I definitely agree that we forget to do this as much in our current culture and oh how I love rituals and marks for transitions.

    When I finished my very first online course I created a huge paper banner and my boyfriend took pictures of me “running” through it :) He also posted congratulations posters all over our apartment. But recently so much has been happening and I haven’t truly honored it. Looking forward to creating some more rituals in the coming days!! Thank you so much for the suggestion / reminder.

    So much love to you and Mike during the rest of your wedding prep and on the big day!! You’re right, no matter what actually happens, it’s going to be absolutely fabulous. xoxo

  24. Thanks for posting this Kate! I’m getting ready to get married within the next few weeks and a ritual is exactly what I need to create closure surrounding my past relationships. I come from a culture steeped in tradition that I’ve lost touch with in the last several years. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of honoring transition by setting a beautiful example in your own life!

  25. Wowzers! I am now asking a friend to help me devise a transition ritual for my move from full-time employment of 9.5 yrs with the same organisation, to becoming a self-employed EFT Tapper… Yikes! I blame B-School entirely! Haha! It’s a scary, but exciting time and I have been questioning my sense of calm, but after reading you blog, I realise that I am calm because it is right and I DO need to take some time to breathe… And, more importantly, it’s OK to take time to breathe!
    Thank you for your insight (and cute pictures – what a great bunch of friends!) x

  26. I love this!! I remember something similar a few weeks before my wedding. We had just moved most of my stuff out of my apartment (I was moving into my husband’s house.) I stood alone, in my empty kitchen, looking at my empty living room, eating tuna right out of a can and drinking red wine out of a travel coffee mug. It was my last night alone, in my own apt, but it also symbolized my last night in that life. That chapter was closing. Time to move forward. I remember crying. Not sad tears, but just something I needed to release. It was a beautiful moment and I’ve never looked back. Thank you for putting into words what that was and for reminding me that I need those moments for each new phase of my life!

    xoxo

  27. Oh Kate, this was divinity. What a beautiful weekend, and what an important time with your peeps. How sweet that you also shared your vulnerabilities — so authentic. I have a friend who leads alternative weddings and ceremonies, and I’ve shared your article with her. (OK, tagged her in a fb post…)
    My hubby and I have only been married less than 2 years, but we’ve gotten married 3 times so far. It’s just a fun thing we do :) But I’m going to add in your transitioning ceremonies, as I think you hit on something so important, so crucial, so overlooked.
    Yes, your article did make me cry. Awesome.

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