I don’t know about you, but when spring comes around, I feel the urge to look at my world and take the opportunity to make changes. A lot of people do this as part of their new year resolutions, but for me, spring resonates as a start for new beginnings; maybe it’s to do with the change in light and new buds and flowers that have started to grow.
Upon my reflections, I realised that I had never shared some of the thoughts that led me to Sky Meadow Bakery. So in the spirit of new beginnings, I thought I would reach out and talk a bit about the ideology that sits at the heart of my little business - celebration and ceremony.
Our lives are made up of an accumulation of significant and defining moments and I passionately believe in recognising them, all of them, from the very small personal victories to the big life changing events. By giving these ‘markers’ our attention and focus, we validate them in our lives, we stand back and look at them and recognise their impact.
I try to notice and do this in my life regularly and I really feel the benefit and impact this has. I have had customers tell me that they have ordered their birthday cake for their event as part of the routine, but not until they had actually collected it did they feel the true significance. The cake was the symbol they needed to mark the celebration. If you think about it, cake features at some of our most significant celebrations - birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, christenings even funerals. I knew that when I wanted to start my own business, it needed to be something that I cared about and enjoy; I think this is important no matter what you do, work takes up such a large proportion of our time - why not love it?
I have always used food as a way to show kindness, whether that’s making a comforting hot chocolate when a friend is feeling down, or bowl of hot veggie soup when someone is ill, a home cooked Mexican feast for a birthday celebration or a wedding cake for friends having a small ceremony. It takes effort to plan and create and shows the other person that they are worth that time and energy to you, that you want to give them something that comes from the heart. Baking specifically, for me, helps me relax. I find great comfort in following a few steps and letting the recipe release my brain from over thinking, and in the end have something delicious. So it made perfect sense to me, that I should bake delicious cakes for people to use to mark their own celebrations and ceremonies.
When I was planning on writing this, which has been surprisingly much harder than I thought it would be, I spent some time thinking about what the difference between celebration and ceremony is. Celebration, to me, is nearly always about the positive, even if it is a celebration of an ending like celebrating someones life in their death. There is of course grief in death, but also a lot of celebration and joy when remembering their life. As I said at the beginning, the celebration can be big or small and equally can be marked in large and little ways - but in doing it, in celebrating them, you add a lot of meaning. You are saying I am worth the recognition, I am proud of myself, I deserve this. This might not be a comfortable concept for a lot of people, which is why it’s important to take into account the way in which you celebrate - not that you shouldn’t at all. It might be that you treat yourself to your favourite coffee from your best coffee shop and sit in a happy place and reflect on what it is your celebrating. It could be calling up a group of your friends and going out to celebrate together. Whether big or small, just doing it will have an impact. It may feel odd at first, if you are not used to it, but give it time and you’ll see the benefits.
On another note I think it’s important to say that you don’t need other people to celebrate, you can do it privately if that’s more comfortable - and definitely never wait for someone else to do it for you, there can be something quite empowering about doing it for yourself.
This is where I see the difference in a ceremony. I think ceremonies are there to be witnessed and shared with others. I see ceremony as something that gives weight and significance to a moment and having that witnessed gives it more meaning. Ceremonies tend to be at key transitions in our lives, the death of someone we love and holding a funeral or memorial, choosing to commit to a significant other and having a wedding or legal ceremony, passing exams and having a graduation...the list goes on. Thinking of those examples though, we typically choose to have these occasions observed and they provide importance.
If we don’t take time to stop for a moment and look at what we are doing and achieving, how do we recognise the significant points in our own lives? If this is not something you have done before, consciously, then maybe give it a try. The next time you do something that you are pleased with yourself for, take a moment, choose something that means something to you to reward yourself with, sit and reflect on what you’ve done, give yourself a pat on the back (physical or metaphorical) and celebrate.