Nearly 20 years ago, some dear friends asked me to speak at their wedding. Since the third installment of our story is still in process, I’d like to share with you what I shared with them - one of my first attempts to express publicly some themes you’ll see in that third installment - A Love/LOVE Story: The Alchemy of Intimacy.
A Wedding Talk
Look into each other’s eyes. Feel into each other’s hearts. Everything you need to know about love is right here. That’s because who you ARE is love. You are children of the Universe, children of God, who is Love. You are created in Love - and of Love. It’s your essence. You cannot not be Love.
Love has no opposite. I used to think hate was the opposite of love. Then I thought fear was. Now I believe that everything we do is either an act of love, and therefore an expression of who we are, or an act of searching for Love, because we’ve temporarily forgotten who we are.
As you know, we spend much of our time in that state of forgetfulness and searching. Traditionally, weddings are a time when a veil is lifted. Today, you lift a veil for us. You help us all remember, once again, that Love is where we come from, it’s where we’re headed, and it’s who we are right now. Thank you!
Today, you are affirming spiritual partnership. This is a grand and glorious, bold and brave thing to do, a wonderful adventure. You’ll have great fun - playing and working together, laughing, loving, building, discovering. Plunge into the exhilaration of it all. Drink deeply. Don’t let the temporary nature of all joy dampen the fullness you feel.
Spiritual partnership is a challenging opportunity for healing and wholeness. And, as you know, it’s not always fun.
We have these wounds inside us - fears of abandonment and not belonging, fears of not being good enough, fears about losing ourselves as we try to be close to another. Spiritual partnerships shine a spotlight on those wounds. I guarantee you: there is not a sore spot in you that will not be unearthed by your relationship.
Being together is going to hurt sometimes. You may feel like your relationship is going awry. You may even be tempted to look back on today and wonder if you did the right thing. Don’t worry, mates. This is your relationship doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to expose your sore spots, so you can heal. It’s supposed to invite you to stretch beyond your habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, acting and reacting. That’s how you realize wholeness.
When hurt happens, the first impulse is to tighten up. You’re going to want to run like crazy or fight like a banshee. You’ll want to go to war with the pain and build barriers to protect yourself. And, sometimes, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Here’s my invitation: Notice this tendency to tighten. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Breathe gently. Soften to your wound. Stay present to yourself. Offer yourselves the gentle light of awareness and the tender mercy of compassion. Sometimes our hearts have to break in order to grow.
You’re going to misread each other at times. You’ll see each other through lenses shaded by old wounds. Breathe. Breathe. Soften to the process. Stay engaged. Soften and open to grief - yours and your partner’s.
Invest your energy in knowing and being known. Reveal all you can to each other. Be naked and vulnerable - in joy and in sorrow. See each other with soft eyes - and clear eyes. Make room for complexities and contradictions. Cherish the mystery. Free each other, as you free yourselves, to be and become.
When you love this way, you’re not just doing something nice for yourselves and for each other. You’re helping all of us. Not to put any pressure, but the Universe is counting on you. Your love grows, not just yourselves, it grows the Universe. Love is the Energy of the Universe and when you love well, you contribute to an expanding Universe of Love.
Trust your love. It’s who you are. Trust your lovability, your worthiness to receive. And trust your love-ability, your capacity to love. It’s boundless.
In her poem, Wild Geese, Mary Oliver writes: “…let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”. As you embark on this amazing adventure, let the soft animal out of its cage. Let it purr. Let it roar. Like a bonfire, let it warm you. Let it warm your household and your community. Let it warm all of us. And, while you’re at it, let it warm the Universe.