Why we go to the mountains…

It’s in our nature to connect to some places on this earth — deeply, to our bones — and to hold the stories of experiences there very close to our hearts.  It’s why I hike in the mountains, and choose to climb to the top of the Continental Divide again and again even though it can be brutal to get there.  And it’s why some people choose to mark an important transition in life in the Colorado mountains.  Mountains can be sacred places to us — places where we connect with a power much bigger than our little selves.  And somehow that balances us, makes us whole again, scrubs out the stress and petty distractions and life gets very real.  And then no matter what difficulty you had to go through to get there, you come out the other side smiling and better connected.  It all feels very right.


Deer in the Eagles Nest Wilderness above Copper, photo by Diane.  Wedding photo in the mountains above Keystone, by Phillip Johnson.

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Couples Choice Award for Weddings

Great News!  Lyrical Life Ceremonies received a Couples Choice Award from Wedding Wire.

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“I’m ok”….


So for my birthday, I decided to give myself an adventure. Though last year I completed the Colorado Trail (about 480 miles from Denver to Durango) I tackled the more difficult alternate route this summer. It’s comprised of 80 miles through the West Collegiate range along the Continental Divide, west of Buena Vista and Salida. I’ve hiked it in 10-20 mile segments by myself, and had just 18.6 miles left before I headed up to the trail again on the last weekend in September. As you can tell from these photos, I slid under the wire as Fall arrived in the mountains. When I reached the Divide for the second time that day, it was at a tall cairn, barely visible through gathering mist because clouds of sleet and hail were moving in. The only ones up there were a ptarmigan (a bird that spends its entire life in the alpine), one other hiker, and me. The other hiker was younger and quicker, but it was good to see another person up top even if only for a few minutes. After he vanished down the trail in freezing mist, I knelt down in the gale to check my map, photograph my bird companion and be on my way. I knew I had grown into this 5-year adventure when, in conditions like that with several miles to go, I bent down to the GPS Spot device that sends a signal to family members showing where I am and — smiling — pressed the button that says, “I’m ok.” From the end at Monarch Pass, my husband walked almost a mile up the trail to meet me. I was glad to see him, grateful for his concern…and a cup of hot chocolate never tasted so good. I’m not the same person I was five years ago. And “I’m ok” with that.


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We are all pilgrims. Who will we meet?

I heard words this summer that became my mantra during many hours of hiking — mostly in the West Collegiate Range of Colorado, but recently, in Montana with my daughter Grete and son-in-law Zach. Those words seem to me to fit this series of pictures, taken on a trail outside Whitefish, Montana, in Jewel Basin. “We’re all on a pilgrimage. Who will you meet on the trail, and what will you say to them?” We came upon this mama goat by surprise, and were more surprised that she approached us as close as she did. We backed off the trail into the brush to let her pass, while telling her softly that we meant no harm. Good words to consider — who have we each “met on the trail” and what have we said to them?  I’m making an extra effort to keep these words in mind when I work, when I hike, and wherever I may be.

Goat 1 - Copy Goat 2 - Copy Goat 3 - Copy

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News! Diane is a new graduate

In January, Diane achieved her Masters Certification as a Life-Cycle Celebrant — the highest level of certification by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.  As of 2016, she is the only Celebrant in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain Region to have achieved her Masters.  To earn this certification, Diane provided a comprehensive sample of her work on all types of ceremonies,  She also documented all she has done to build from the ground up the Celebrant Services program for Dignity Memorial and Advantage Funeral Homes in metro-Denver.

Diane was one of the speakers at CF&I’s graduation ceremony.  In reflecting on the Masters experience, Diane said, “This was an opportunity to reflect on what it takes to master my craft.  I’m very glad that I could gather and review the work I’ve done, find the threads of wisdom borne from experience, and share what I’ve learned.”

For Diane, Celebrant ceremonies are the opportunity to be of service to people, bringing all her skills to bear on honoring the big moments and transitions in their lives.

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Transitions Always Involve Stories

Grete & Zach

Grete & Zach

Behind every wedding, every graduation, every birth, every milestone achievement, every new job, every retirement, every move to a new home, every memorial service…there is a story. And one of the simplest but most significant ways we can honor someone and the threshold they are crossing is to take the time to hear that story.

The picture above is from my daughter’s wedding this summer. The dear friend who officiated the service captured our couple’s love story and we all enjoyed hearing it at their wedding…evoking an especially proud “Whoop!” from the good folks at Liquid Descent where these two met as rafting guides. There were tears and laughter, shouts of joy and moments of reverence – just like life. In this picture, Grete and Zach are listening to each of their parents read a blessing of their marriage. Hanging behind them are prayer flags. Guests wrote their names and a short prayer, blessing, or whatever they wished on a flag and hung it on their wedding bower. The bower was made of aspen poles that her father collected and put in our garage when Grete was two years old. I always wondered what they were there for! But to bring the “story” behind the poles to a happy conclusion, there they were, holding the wishes and blessings of everyone at her wedding.

Ceremonies can be simple or, if you wish, elaborately inclusive of all the details you think should be there, but they should always include a good story. At the next milestone, consider having more than a party. Pause and share the story.

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Sept 23 – Presentation on Life Ceremonies and Book Signing

Life-Cycle Ceremonies

  • Is there a Milestone coming up in your life?birthday3.jpg
  • Why not celebrate it with a ceremony personally suited to you.

Diane Gansauer, Life-Cycle Celebrant and founder of Lyrical Life Ceremonies, will give a free presentation on

  • Why ceremony has left Amercians’ lives but shouldn’t…
  • What Life-Cycle Celebrants do…
  • How to create personal, meaningful ceremonies to celebrate life

Wednesday, Sept 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm

HearthFire Books and Treats in Evergreen

Diane is also a contributing author to the new book Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life, which will be available at the presentation.

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Colorado Trail Completed!

SAM_825On July 26, 2015, I completed hiking the Colorado Trail — a 486-mile route from Denver to Durango.  I had started on April 7, 2012, in hopes of hiking the trail little-by-little each hiking season and completing it before my 60th birthday.  Done!  I’m so grateful for Colorado’s beauty — a place I have made home, built a career, raised a child, and along the way, met some truly remarkable people.  This was a walk of gratitude.

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New Book Release

celebrant_Book_Image 5.20.15

Great news!  An article by Diane is included in this newly released book.

Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life is a compilation of ceremonies and rituals written by experienced Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants® from all over the world, who share their wisdom. It’s an excellent resource for those who want to better practice mindfulness in their day-to-day lives, for wellness, healthcare, and death care professionals, and for all lovers of life.

Here is summer 2015 reading at its best and a book for all seasons from Celebrant Foundation & Institute Publications.  Available now on Amazon as a paperback (very reasonably priced under $14) or as a Kindle e-book.

Diane’s article talks about honoring the elders in your family.

Copy this into your browser to find the book on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0990440605?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00


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Celtic Harp Retreat

20150517_07532320150517_072038 (800x600)At the beginning of May, I joined harpist friends in Colorado for our annual Celtic Harp Retreat.  It was a wonderful relaxing weekend of music and friendship.  There was a labyrinth on site.  Some of us walked the labyrinth on Sunday morning….or played while our friends walked.  Walking a labyrinth is an ancient form of meditation.  No one quite knows how this came to be, but very old labyrinths have been found on several continents.

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