Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio where we are immersed in questions of life purpose and life meaning per our 2015 journal, Exploring Meaning.
My Studio Guest, Susun Cooper, shares what is making her life meaningful.
I think you will love getting to know Susun …
As early as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with words and images. As soon as I learned to read I wanted a typewriter so I could make my own words. My first camera at ten, Girl Scout photography badge at eleven, as a teen hand coloring black and white photographs…looking back, I see expressions of creativity very early. The work I do now is an absorbing, intriguing, invigorating mix of these intense interests I’ve pursued all my life.
For many years I worked with youth, women and men coming out of state and federal institutions, making every effort to re-establish themselves back into their communities. I also worked in school districts as a liaison between teachers and families. Hopefully many children completed high school as a result of the drop-out prevention programs I facilitated.
- Another vocational interest has been holistic health. I have provided complementary deep muscle therapy, Creative Healing and Reiki energy services to many clients. I have also taught Touch for Health and Reiki, and am a Reiki Master/teacher.
My journey has involved studies in art, graphic design and photography. I have spent countless hours in a traditional darkroom and computer graphics labs. I discovered digital photography at its beginning; it brought me full circle…words and images creatively expressed through today’s technologies. Designing, photographing and writing, restoring and handcoloring heirloom photographs…all, working with words and images. I have been challenged by my graphic design work, as I focused on ways to share perceptions.
- Returning to the Sonoran Desert in 2013, I think back to the places I’ve lived since I left here over 40 years ago. In some ways coming back feels like coming home. Recently, I started a Life-Cycle Celebrancy® practice called Sunlight Ceremonies and Celebrations. I am hopeful my work as a Life-Cycle Celebrant® will bring a fuller sense of meaning to the clients who choose my services.
When expressing creativity, I experience my most personally satisfying, magical moments. I aspire to living a peaceful life and believe it begins with me. Placing into form what flows through me truly sparks peace within. I hope this sense of inner peace helps nurture a larger picture of peace on our planet. ~
Photo by Felicia Morgan
We need rituals at many times, whether for healing or transformation, celebration or mourning. To learn to create our own is to empower ourselves, and this can enrich our lives immeasurably. ~ Juliet Batten
RITUALS FOR A LIFETIME
by Susun B. Cooper
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants®, as trained professional officiants, promote and participate in the growing practice of personalized ceremony to recognize and observe significant life passages for individuals, families and communities. A new idea in America, Celebrancy as a concept began here in 2000, imported from Australia.
- Ours is a relatively young and constantly-changing society. Although rich with diverse, cultural traditions, modern life moves at such rapid pace, we often fail to pause, fully observe and celebrate its special occasions. As a result, we risk losing the importance of family and community ties: ways to commemorate the memorable times of our lives, hold those special, tender moments close, and share them with others.
Celebrants are ceremony specialists with a solid background in the history of ritual, elements of ceremony and cultural traditions. They listen carefully to the personal stories told by their clients, in turn enhancing the stories with relevant rituals and presenting rich and meaningful ceremonies to family and friends. They are skilled in the arts of lyrical writing and ceremonial public speaking. They also offer expertise in composing, managing and performance.
The Pew Research Center has pointed out that a growing group of Americans no longer identify with specific organized religions, yet often consider themselves spiritual. These individuals frequently turn to Celebrants to create events that honor where they are, along life’s pathway. This especially occurs when neither civil ceremonies nor organized religious rituals allow the depth of expression they desire. One example, perhaps, is a wedding, where the couple from differing ethnic or cultural backgrounds prefers to include elements important to both, yet are unable to find a more traditional officiant to fulfill their wishes.
- My own life’s journey has brought me to this new career of Celebrancy. Raised in a very strict religious tradition, by very strict parents, as an adult I found I could no longer embrace my parents’ faith and practices as my own. Instead, however, I chose to express what I consider to be a more open, inclusive and respectful lifestyle. I am sensitive to all traditions, orientations, races and creeds, and believe each of us has the right to observe our celebrations in ways we cherish. I think equal rights for everyone diminishes no one.
Celebrancy, to me, means offering customized ceremonies as a vital way to support happiness, balance, beauty and peace to members of our society. I have been trained to focus on the values and priorities of my clients, so their milestone ceremonies will totally reflect them and those being honored. Ceremony held in this way can magically transform an ordinary occasion into something quite extraordinary. This transformation can add depth and breadth to the meaning of life.
As a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, I truly feel called to serve those in search of precious, enriching ceremonies to affirm their stories of love and life. I have no agenda as far as what should be included. I only believe expressing and sharing our deepest feelings and convictions can profoundly nourish us and those we hold dear.
- Recently I established Sunlight Ceremonies and Celebrations, in Phoenix, Arizona. I am anticipating opportunities to help connect people through affirming and enhancing rituals we design together. Ceremonies may include engagements, marriages, vow renewals, memorials, funerals and celebrations of life. Birthdays, anniversaries, a house warming or a baby welcoming are also possibilities, among many others. We are only limited by our imaginations! I am delighted with the loving and heart-warming responses to the ceremonies I have already prepared and delivered. I consider it my great honor to assist those eager to observe a lifetime of unique, love-filled, memorable moments.
To be able to hear people’s stories, and help them tell their stories
in an authentic and heartfelt way is an honor. ~ Lisa Bloom
- Thank you so much, Susun, for sharing your creative light here in SunnyRoomStudio.
Journal Focus Question:
With personal growth, how has your life path evolved — have steps along
the way helped you to authentically express what has come to pass within you?
Thanks so much for being here; see you again Friday, January 30th, as our journal continues.
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