About Pam
What Led Me To Become A Celebrant

It was the daycare lady that introduced us. Andy says he fell in love with me the
moment he saw me standing at his front door, in a sweatshirt and hiking boots.
I remember tears coming to my eyes, when he simply asked if I was thirsty,
it had been so long since someone had cared about my welfare or feelings.
How was it that I had forgotten what it felt like for someone to be concerned about my comfort my needs?
I grew up in a religious home,I grew up in a religious home, but
I struggled with faith and a woman's worth most of my life. I always found myself at
odds with certain tenants and questioned the inconstancies within the dogma.
I questioned those in authority and was often seen as rebellious.

Chocking up my doubts and perceptions of wrong doing to the human element within church administration, worked for awhile. I was comfortable with it's rituals and traditions and believed that raising my children with its basic beliefs was the right thing to do. When the reality of the abuse that the patriarchal order was allowing within my home and within my work with the women and youth of the church, I chose to leave.

I recall taking a walk, something that brought great solace to my soul, when a large tree fell in a nearby forest. It crashed it's way to the ground, which shook under my feet. I noticed that no one came running from their homes, no one stopped along the road. No one else had heard it fall. I saw myself in that tree. The lack of a witness, didn't make my suffering, my pain, any less real.

During this time, I returned to school and began work on degree by earning scholarships and grants. Each day was a struggle, but I always felt guided and trusted that I was doing the right thing.

For me, religion became confining and didn't represent my world view. I'd never been comfortable with a belief that there was only one way to find happiness, one way to believe, one way to live. The idea that men were chosen over women or that one people was chosen above another never rang true to me. As human beings we all want the same thing, to be our best selves, to embrace this beautiful world around us and connect with all it's living creatures, and to unite our hearts with all people.

When I met Andy I was in the midst of my rebirth. It took me bit longer than he to realize that we were destined to be together, but once we decided, we never looked back and our relationship has weathered stepfamily dynamics, teenage rebellion, accidents and injuries all the while standing side by side together.

When we married we joined our two families into one strong trunk, based on love and respect for each other. Our children thrived and grew. We focused our attention on providing them with memories that could sustain them throughout their lives. Here again, I found my true self, teaching my children to value themselves, each other and the world around them. We celebrated every milestone, every holiday with joy.

After working several years in a high power sales job, I took time off to explore my writing and completed two books. My focus was on the staggering changes that happen in the lives of young people, particularly pre-teens and how their eyes begin to see beyond their own lives and into the world. How their desire for justice increases and their compassion for those less fortunate can grow. Coming of age is such a delicate time in our lives and finding mentors and strong images to focus on is so important. It is here that the trunk can gain so much from remembering its roots, where they come from and the strength and beauty they already carry within them.

It isn't surprising then, that when I stumbled on the work of the Celebrant Institute and Foundation I naturally felt that I had found my call. I believe that all the events, good and bad in our lives are significant and need to be acknowledged in meaningful ways. Celebrating our milestones helps us to bridge the transitions that naturally occur in our lives. I have now learned the art of ceremony and ritual. I understand it's power and why throughout my life I've always felt the need to mark important changes and growth in significant ways.

It is my strongest desire to bring the magic, the power and guidance that personalized ceremony can bring to important life events. I also understand the importance of standing as a witness to these life changing moments, like the tree that stands, season after season witnessing what happens around them.
Author Pam Torres
Project Madison Series