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October 28, 2010 Behind the Scenes by Rev. Lynn Rogers - InterfaithChaplain.com
I love performing weddings in Puerto Vallarta for so many reasons - our exquisitely beautiful location where the sea meets the mountains, the gorgeous weather, the delightful couples who feel called to celebrate their special day here, and, as it turns out, the warm community of friends who are always ready to make the extra effort.
While many people who choose a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta work with a wedding planner, Ron and Dianne's plans for an intimate ceremony included a "party of two" and a modest budget that didn't fit into the usual model.
So when they emailed me in search of someone to officiate, they asked, "Can you help with the arrangements as well as perform the ceremony?" I said I'd see what I could do. Next morning, at my favorite coffee shop, I put the question to the gathered locals.
A dear friend, and most excellent photographer, said that since it was a week-day wedding in October, he was available and would love to work with me. Another angel offered to do the flowers. Others knew of boats for rent and soon the pieces fell into place.
Over the next month or so, the bride, groom and I spoke and emailed, and together created a personal ceremony that would truly reflect their feelings, language and wishes for their dream wedding.
Several weeks before the special day, photographer Josef Kandoll and I checked out their hotel, found the perfect beach location for the ceremony, and scouted the best photo ops along the route we will take to get there. We planned the food and special surprise treats and chose a cake. We met with the captain of the boat who will take couple sailing off for a private sunset cruise, and he happily volunteered to do everything possible to assure a perfect few hours on board.
What a delightful day for me, and, with the support of so many wonderful people, I know this couple will enjoy the Puerto Vallarta wedding of their dreams. And while the celebration will be just for the two of them, alone on the beach and sailing away, a community of love, support and friendship will anchor their special day... behind the scenes. Update: Since this article was published, Ron and Dianne did indeed have the wedding of their dreams. Here's what they had to say:
You went above and beyond to make our wedding off the charts wonderful!! The extra touches – the bouquet, the cake, the wonderful basket of goodies!! And then, when we returned to our room, you had thoughtfully done the rose petals and chocolates!! We were talking how we are both minimalists and would have been great without the touches, but how much more romantic and endearing you made this experience. Thank you for adding the flare, class and beauty that both of us would have missed!! We didn’t realize how different it could have been! And we are appreciative beyond words!! Thank you again for such a fabulous and unforgettable experience!
(photo by Josef Kandoll)
November 08, 2010
Maybe it's because I'm 65 that I prefer life coaching to traditional psychotherapy. Though trained in both, coaching is what I seek personally and offer professionally. At this time in my life, I'm more interested in making changes that move me forward, toward feeling fulfilled and satisfied, than in looking back at what caused my problems/challenges, issues, and I've found that my clients also find this approach more effective in helping them reach their personal goals.
What's the difference between coaching and therapy?
Life coaching focuses on your life in the present and future so you can expand your options, take action and move on. The coaching relationship, based on a growth model, is collaborative. Because the relationship between client and coach is peer-to-peer, boundaries are more flexible.
Clients are usually looking to get unstuck in some part of their life; to identify what will help them move forward, setting goals with the coach. It is more action oriented, outcome driven, and often more short-term than therapy.
The focus of therapy is often the past and present; how come we think, act, behave as we do. In therapy the relationship between therapist and patient/client is hierarchical. Based on a medical model therapy invites a diagnosis, made by the therapist with goals set primarily by the therapist to help the client "heal" an old wound. Because the therapy relationship is hierarchical, boundaries are more rigid and dialogue is not a part of the process.
While traditional psychotherapists and life coaches may both work with fully functioning adults facing challenging situations, helping them make changes and accomplish meaningful goals, their framework and approach are significantly different. A bonus with coaching is the option to work by phone if desired, eliminating travel to appointments.
Three different situations in which coaching was their option:
Paul and Elana had been living in Mexico for six years Following Paul's diagnosis of brain cancer, he and his wife Elana were referred to me by their neurologist. Paul wanted no information on his disease or condition - he just didn't want to hear it. As far as he was concerned, "the doctors knew best" and would tell him what to do.
In contrast, Elana researched everything - she knew options, asked questions, challenged opinions. How were they to communicate? Their kids in the states were insisting that they "come home." They were overwhelmed with treatment options and questions about the future.
Our work together was focused, intense and often very funny. The couple found the strengths in their differences, learned how to talk about their fears and concerns, shared their dreams, remembered stories that gave their lives meaning, set a course for effectively coping with the "disease," and went about living their best lives.
Marianne and Bob retired to Mexico. For a long time, they focused much of their energy and attention on the move, closing up their lives in Canada, and then trying to learn where the market was and how to get their phone to work.
Now with the busy-ness of all that behind them, questions arose - What matters now? What do we want to let go of in this new life? Have more of? What are our dreams and how might we fulfill them? The dialogues generated by these questions helped Marianne and Bob consciously choose their future.
Diana is 34, single, living in California and successful at her work. And she's feeling stuck. She can't get herself to apply for a promotion or end a relationship that seems dead in the water. Together we explored the thinking that keeps her where she is, looked at her desired outcomes, and designed steps to reach those goals. Our partnership was collaborative, supportive and challenging.
My unique coaching style integrates more than 30 years of experience as a licensed California psychotherapist and my work as an ordained interfaith chaplain and life coach. I find coaching effective for a variety of life issues such as:
• Change/transition in all areas of life • Relationships and intimacy • Living with life-altering illness • Health, aging and lifestyle • Spirituality and growth
If you're wondering if coaching might be of help to you and you have questions, please call me at 322-151-3639 or email: email@example.com.
Throughout our lives we deal with loss. Every choice we make means not choosing something else. Some changes are invited, welcomed, planned for - retirement, a move to a new home, or country, a different career. Others are not invited, appreciated or planned for - a sudden change in health, the death of a partner or friend, financial reversals, job loss. Whether or not a change is welcomed, it is rarely without stress, some anxiety and most definitely, loss. Something is being left behind.
The stress of that loss and how we acknowledge and grieve it will have an impact on and be impacted by your overall health, your support network, your belief system, spiritual and religious beliefs and so much more.
It’s a process. No one way is the right way. What is important is to allow yourself the space and time. Tell your story. Your life, your loss - there is a magical healing when we are heard and acknowledged. Some people tell their story (with changing versions over time) a few times, and that’s it. For others, it may take years.
I’m reminded of a woman who came to me for counseling a year after her husband’s death. Friends and even family were a bit surprised at the length and depth of her grief. She and her husband each headed a different department at U.C. Berkeley. They traveled independently for work, had different as well as the same friends, and were anything BUT a co-dependent couple. However, as the wife spoke, I learned of a 30-year relationship. Of each supporting the other’s growth and development. And how, no matter where each was in the world, they would speak each day and evening before sleep. She reported that telling each other of their day WAS the reason for it all. They were deeply and wonderfully connected. Probably the most difficult thing for her was the expectation of others (and their surprise), that she did not “get on with her life” in a more expedient manner.
Being part of a couple for a large part of your life, with the ups and downs, is still a major part of how we identify ourselves. Learning what we like and how we like to do our lives as a “solo” person takes time. It takes quiet. It takes allowing moments or waves of grief, and moments of clarity and even a sense of purpose.
How and in what way you choose to work through this and create your future will be your very own personal road map. There are signposts and help along the way. Professionals and friends and family are eager to support you.
I bless you on this part of your journey and hope to hear of the moments of joy and surprise as well as those of missing and loss.
Pablo the Pelican – Case #584 The day, Sunday, began as do many of my days - sitting in my swinging chair on my seventh-floor balcony with a cup of cappuccino watching the pelicans dive for their breakfast. It’s been almost three years since I first wondered how long I could sit watching this before getting bored. It hasn’t happened yet.
This morning, something different. I saw a pelican struggling in the water. The tide was receding. Sitting on the water, the pelican looked fine. At the water’s edge it was clear he (she?) was injured. I scanned the beach searching for the red of a bombero’s outfit for help. None in sight. On the way to the beach to see what I might do (no doubt I’ve read too much of All Creatures Great and Small), I found Don Leo, our security guard at the desk. “Help, help, ayuda me (close enough),” I yelled. Given my oh-so-poor Spanish, I began a mime, hopping about and dragging a broken wing (ok, arm). Don Leo understood and phoned the “turtle patrol” people. Seemed to me they might know what to do.
At the beach, the pelican struggled. Finally, a bombero! Together we wrestled the pelican to shore. Well, he grabbed the frightened bird’s flapping beak and I offered support as we tried to quiet him down. Don Leo brought a large box, and someone provided a towel so we could wrap the bird and try to protect it’s visibly broken wing. Needless to say, the pelican, now named Pablo (another story) didn’t get that we were trying to help. He tried to free himself, to snap at us. The bombero finally tied a string loosely around his/her beak and the bird began to quiet.
Up five flights of stairs (elevator broken at the moment), the bombero carried Pablo to deposit him at the street level entrance and return to his work, while I awaited police arrival.
I expected the car to arrive at any moment. Nope. An hour later, Don Leo called again. “Yes, (they said), someone will be there. Busy now.” Ok, now I was really getting upset. There must be something more I could do besides sitting and waiting! What do I know about pelicans? How long can they be out of water? Without food? Isn’t he going to be too hot wrapped in a towel? Maybe I should sing to him ( yes, that IS a joke). Time passed. What to do? Perhaps I should get a cab and take Pablo to town to a vet. Good plan, why wait? Seven calls later, leaving messages with various vet’s offices and no responses, it was clear I couldn’t just ride around town with a large bird looking for help.
Up to my condo. Who to call, what to do? A frantic (ok, maybe that’s too dramatic) call to a friend in the states who knows lots about wildlife. Alana assured me I had done the right thing. That all I could do was keep the bird in a dark quiet place with as little activity as possible until help arrived. Yes, I might cool the towel with water, though if Pablo was in shock, I might not need to worry about keeping him cool.
Between internet searches for a fast course in pelicanology and trips back to the front entrance to sit with Pablo and wet him down, it was more than five hours before he was taken away. I wasn't there at the moment "they" took him.
I spent much of that time sitting by the box with this magnificent bird. On his side, bound in the towel, one large eye stared up at me. He wasn’t struggling. He seemed to be breathing regularly.
That’s surely the closest encounter I’ll get to have with a pelican. I hope I was of some help. I don’t know where Pablo was taken or if he could be saved. Maybe to someone he’s just case #584. It’s definitely a time I wished I could better communicate in Spanish. Not that Pablo would have cared, but I might at least now know what became of him.