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On this website, the word transition has two senses or meanings.
First, we use it to mean “a move from one stage or state to another”. This applies to the seasons of human life, for example from birth to toddlerhood, to childhood, teenager etc.
The second, we use it to refer to the psychological process people go through following a life-changing event. “It is a three-phase process (Endings, Neutral zone & New Beginning) that people go through as they internalize and come to
terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about”. e.g., divorce, retirement; redundancy, sudden success, winning the ex-factor.
We have the knowledge, skills, and strategies to guide you through those
We read the following passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.There is a given time for everything and a time for every happening under heaven. There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time for planting, a time for uprooting (Ecclesiastes 3.1-2)
We can deduce the following from the Biblical text above.
First, this scripture shows us that every aspect of life and human existence is governed by the seasons of God in accordance with His sovereign timetable.
Second, life is a process, a journey from a starting point (birth, origin) to a termination point death (conclusion). It also suggests that the life course has a particular character and follows a basic sequence.
Three, it also contains the idea of seasons, a series of periods or stages within the life cycle. The process is not a simple, continuous, unchanging flow. There are qualitatively different seasons, e.g., birth, (babyhood), toddlerhood, childhood, teen or adolescent, adulthood, and death. There are also role transitions within the seasons of life e.g., employment, marriage & retirement.
Every season is different from those that precede and follow it, though it also has much in common with them.
The passage also informs us that the two most drastic transitions all human beings will make are birth and death.
Birth is the first transition we all had to make to commence our life’s journey on the planet earth. The arrival of a new-born in most traditions induces a euphoric atmosphere for the entire family, and sometimes the community and in few cases, even the world. An indescribable joy enfolds the mother when she holds that tiny bundle of life in her arms for the first time. All the pain and discomfort of pregnancy and birth are forgotten in an instant. Very few moments in life may hold as much wonder, and joy, and promise than the birth of a child. Months of waiting and anxiety are quickly disappeared as the baby miraculously appears. The new son/daughter fills your home with marvellous warmth. From that moment on, life is never the same for any member of the family.
Just as birth is our entry into the world so is death our exit from planet earth, it is the end of the earthly journey. For Christians though, life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain and everlasting dwelling place in heaven. So, for Christians this transition holds no fear but rather the blessed hope of eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
We will cross over from life to LIFE as we exchange this earthly tent for our eternal dwelling. We have the blessed hope of a coming season where God will wipe every tear from our eyes and “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4b). Looking for an experienced and competent celebrant? Click here for more information.
Second, between the two most drastic transitions are other transitions caused by life-changing events. Judith Viorist succinctly describes it as follows:
making our way from birth to death, we also must make our way through the pain of giving up and giving up and giving up… and confronting the many losses that are brought by time and death. These losses are caused by life-changing events. When you experience a lifechanging event, your life changes forever and you are never the same again. The journey to the new normal is not easy.
It is a psychological process. Get it right and you can live a normal or even a better life than before. “It is a three-phase process (Endings, Neutral zone & New Beginning) that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about.
Every transition begins with an Ending- a loss. When things change, we leave behind a piece of our lives. In the Ending stage, we are preoccupied with “what once was but is no more.” When we move or act, we are used to a certain sequence of events: Beginning, Gap, and End. Transitions follow a different sequence of events: End, Neutral zone, and New Beginning and this naturally causes anxiety. Endings are often tumultuous times, sometimes likened to an earthquake
Between the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another or a stage of life, there is a gap. This gap has been described by people in the field in different ways. Some in the field call it the neutral zone, desert, land between, the stage of discernment, wasteland, the void, the psalmist calls it the “valley of darkness” or shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) etc.
When we have gone through those first two phases of transition, beginnings will happen almost on its own. All of us are energized by new beginnings, especially after the dark, confusing, discouraging days in the neutral zone. It is like spring weather coming back after winter. It is great to feel reasonably at home in the world again. It is great to know, once more, who you are, where you are going, and what you are doing.
Transitional events are angels of annunciation and not harbingers of despair. Not as disasters to be avoided but challenges and opportunities to rise to.
Susan J Elliot says, “while the aftermath of a breakup can be a devastating time, it can also be a tremendous opportunity for life-changing growth. As unbelievable as it may seem when you are in the throes of heartache, this can be a rich and fertile time when you are most open and ready to make your dreams come true. A breakup can actually be a liberating time when you take charge of your life and make positive change happen- instead of waiting around for it to happen to you.”
The transition process requires not only that we bring a chapter of our lives to conclusion but also that we discover whatever we need to learn for the next step. Would you like to learn to develop the skills to navigate your life transitions, then click here