Love and fear – a quick reflection: Kerry-Ann Stanton

Love and fear – small words, great import in our lives!  At least I think so. I led a Master Class at the CANZ (Celebrants Association Aotearoa New Zealand) Conference recently and as part of our learning journey we looked at love and fear in our lives as Celebrants.  I would like to share some of that exploration with you.

Entitled “The Pivot Point”, the session aimed to examine that ‘moment between standing in our authority and experience, and getting out of our own way, to truly be of service to our client’. 

Our pivot point could be considered our ‘growth edge’, or our ‘learning edge’.  It implies choice, the ability to observe and make changes in direction, to be in movement, while at the same time being a pivotal person, someone who can be relied upon.

To be able to pivot, to be a pivot or to be pivotal requires knowing ourselves deeply.  This in turn means we accept work we can do and work we know we can stretch to, leaning into our ‘already knowing’ or mastery.

From my perspective we bring who we are ahead of what we do.  Everyday how we live is how we ‘celebrant’ and how we ‘celebrant’ is how we live.  To know ourselves is a lifelong process, what in my coaching work we call the dance of ‘being and becoming’.  Our work is to keep doing the work or get out!  Part of my speculation was that when we live and work from the place of love we achieve more and experience more than when we live and work from our place of fear.

We explored words, and activities that settled, soothed, nurtured and reassured us as Celebrants; things and people and happenings that stimulated and extended us and had us ‘in love with life’.  Not surprisingly our list included: flowers, music, the beach, whānauwhanui, story-telling, coming home, poetry and candlelight.

We then explored what unsettled, stirred us up, and/or generated a ‘fearful’ response in us?  Our responses: anger, lack of magic, matters beyond our control, scarcity, not being prepared, and criticism; and so on the list went.

When we work from ‘fear’ in its many manifestations we can get stuck, stuck in patterns of behaviour that don’t serve us or the client:  awe, consternation, timidity, grumpiness, frustration, stuck in our particular groove of how a ceremony must go, etc..

When we work from ‘love’ in its many manifestations we have flexibility, care, the ability to pause, ask good questions and work together.

If we can know our love and fear patterns my premise is that we can manage them in the moment.  As a Celebrant I can take a deep breath when a client wants something that makes me fearful.  I can pause, and then find a loving place to respond to them from.  I can respond in a way that really demonstrates my willingness and skill to be of service.  It might mean doing it their way rather than my way – what a marvellous opportunity for us all.

Arohanui Kerry-Ann

Resources that shaped this piece:

Cousineau, Phil, “The Art of Pilgrimage – the seeker’s guide to making travel sacred”.  Conari Press 1998

And two powerful poems that speak to this truth of Love and Fear:

Love and Fear by Michael Leunig in his “A Common Prayer – a cartoonist talks to God”.  HarperCollinsReligious 1990

A Morning Offering by John O’Donohue,  in his “Benedictus – A Book of Blessings”.  Bantam Press 2007