Since starting my business a little over a year ago, part of my work has been educating people about the work of a ritual designer and officiant. People connect with the work of a wedding officiant or a funeral officiant but some of the other life transitions I help mark have been new to folks – house blessings, pet blessings, healing rituals, naming rituals, etc. It is fun to share this work and see how people connect these rites of passage to their own lives.
Shortly after Rites of Passage launched, I realized that a big part of my work – while related – goes beyond ritual designing and officiating. Ritual and ceremony are one way for people to mark and make sense of the transitions we all face throughout life. Helping people plan for life transitions and explore the big questions that arise in the midst of life changes has become a significant part of what I do and is a privileged and a joy.
In describing this part of my work, I’ve struggled with finding a title. For a while, I tried on what it would feel like to call myself a coach – a Life Transition Coach or a Spiritual Life Coach. While I respect and admire the work of coaches, this title doesn’t resonate with me in relation to my work. More recently, I’ve been describing myself as a Spiritual Caregiver. This seems to more closely match my work and my identity (coming out of 18 years of pastoral ministry) but is still not quite right. Not all the people I work with need caregiving. Some of my clients just need a presence to accompany them through a life change and ask the right questions.
Lately, I’ve come upon the word “docent” and it seems to ring true. Very simply, a docent is a person who acts as a guide. In my own life, I benefitted from the presence of those who supported me and guided me through difficult transitions. In my work today, I walk with people through life changes, pointing out important landmarks along the way, and helping them explore the big questions that arise. Sometimes I share what I’ve learned about the world’s spiritual traditions or nuggets from my own experience. Sometimes I listen and ask clarifying questions to help a client come to their own understanding of the meaning of this particular time in their life. Always I support and encourage without judgment or answers.
At different times in our lives, we are all lost, found, or searching. As a Ritual Designer and Officiant, I help people mark life’s passages – big and small, joyful or challenging. As a Spiritual Docent, I walk with people through life’s changes offering guidance and support. With some clients, I fulfill both roles – designing and officiating rituals while guiding and supporting. With others, one role is more primary.
If you are facing a life change and could benefit from a supportive, guiding presence my work as a Spiritual Docent might be right for you. Please be in touch. We all need a guide at one time or another on this journey we call life.