We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Nealon Garone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
A current favorite is actually a mini poem by Gregory Orr: “To be alive: not just the carcass. But the spark. That’s crudely put, but… If we’re not supposed to dance, Why all this music?” His succinct words remind me that no matter how much ugliness there might be in the world, there is so much more that is breathtakingly beautiful. Whether the simple delight of a nice walk with a friend, or watching a robin splash in a bird bath, or gazing at a spectacular sunset… there are many reasons to dance when you’re paying attention to the music. Some days (months…years….?) I have to dig deep to hear the joyful music of life, but it is always there.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create custom ceremonies for life’s big moments… so that they feel genuinely momentous. From baby blessings and mother blessings, to weddings and funerals and all sorts of rites of passage, I create bespoke ceremonies that move and transform and delight. In a world that seems to place a lot of value on rapid, transactional interactions, I take pride in diving deep, and really taking the time to get to know my clients so that I can create a ceremony that truly reflects who they are. Covid seems to have shown many of us the value of slowing down, and I am proud that I create unique ceremonies that help slow us down enough to be able to take in the significance of the moment. It is always a challenge to advocate for thoughtfully slowing down in a world/culture that seems to always want to go go go, but here at mid-life, I have found it easiest to just be me. My ceremonies are inclusive, and I aim to connect with everyone, so that we can luxuriate in our kinship and let go of what divides us. I know that all of us humans — whether we identify as religious, spiritual, or secular — have a sense of the sacred… We all have moments that bring us a feeling of awe. That is what I like to illuminate in ceremonies. This is why I say that ceremony matters, that it is important to pause, to celebrate what connects us, to say thank you for all the goodness, and to not bypass what hurts. In ceremony, we weave the stories that not only bind us together, but that can give us a good dose of beauty and joy to take with us when the ceremony is complete. Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, quite honestly, I would take them away from the crowds and concrete jungles, and into the hills. Depending on the season, cross country skiing and a soak in a hot spring, or hiking and soak in a hot spring. Camping off some hidden dirt road. To freak them out a bit, I’d probably take them on Trail Ridge Road, to delight in the (sometimes terrifying) feeling of being on top of the world. I’d have to take them to a show at Red Rocks, a quintessential Colorado experience if you are a music lover. Maybe dinner at the Gold Hill Inn, so they can take in a classic mining town. So yeah — I’d get out of the city a bit. 😉 Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to Naomi Rose Ehrich, my commadre in all things ceremony, she of Santa Cruz Officiant fame, partner in crime at Owl and Rose Ceremonies on Etsy, and general good friend who supports me at my worst, and at my best.