Tuesday, February 18, 2014

back from boulder!

Okay, so I am fighting a nap right now as I write this - for some reason I'm resisting lying down for fifteen minutes.

We were just in Boulder, CO for wedding meetings and to have a slice of winter for Buddha's sake.  There was beautiful snow on the ground, I squealed when we first got out of the car...I miss winter so much.  We flew Southwest from Burbank to Denver and seriously it's the best way to fly.  I didn't know I loved Southwest.  We left early in the morning (the way I like it - sun carries less of a *doom* feeling) and the pilot was joking and making everyone laugh as we boarded.  Our flight was less than half full so there was a ton of space.  I wish every flight was like that.

We arrived to this:

I have always dreamed of a winter wedding...with snow on the ground, lots of sparkles and glitter on the clothes...hot chocolate...spiked warm drinks..fireplaces...mmm.  Oh well, spring will have to do.

Our cabin:

The Dining Hall, where our reception will be :

We're both getting so excited now.  Walking around the cabins, imagining everyone living in this little wedding village..It's kind of like my dream Washington state wedding that I always wanted - but in Colorado.  We really lucked out with our vendors too.  We met with our photographer Jamie, who is a young married who just had a baby girl.  I love meeting other girls around my age at my stage of life - it's very empowering.  I found her through APW, so I obviously trust her, and we got a discount :)

We also met the new event coordinator at the Dining Hall who is lovely, and had a heavenly food tasting.  Seriously I am so excited about the food. Food is my favorite part of being alive (and maybe Nirvana too). Sooooo excited about the food.  I'm not going to post our menu details till after wedding, but there's a Southern influence and it's all vegan except for a fish option in the entree and a seafood appetizer.  Very grateful to have a supportive spouse to be ;)

We met our officiant, Carolyn Carpenter, and she is divine.  We found her on a whim through the internet and luckily we totally clicked.  She sent us so much information on different rituals from various cultures and ceremony ideas- I can't wait to start planning the ceremony.  

J gets all the credit for finding a great planner for us - Katie James of Little Bird Celebrations, who actually was born in J's hometown.  

It takes such a load off to feel like you have other people on your team that know what they are doing.  It's not just us anymore.  

Lots of J's best friends from her college family still live in Boulder so we spent lots of time meeting up with them.   One of the things I am looking forward to the most is all of our friends and families meeting and our worlds finally colliding!

Valentines breakfast:

Out & About

We also got our rehearsal dinner location squared away.  Checked a lot off our list!  Now we should actually think about ordering those invitations, geez.  I was wishing we could stay another week...I was daydreaming about an alternate reality where we could live there and we could breathe fresh air everyday and sit in creeks...sigh.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Article on Ritual

Ironic, on Facebook today the site Elephant Journal shared this article, which is literally exactly what I was blogging about yesterday!

Perfect timing and wonderful article!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

feeling life and creating ritual

This wedding transition brings up a lot.  I've been waiting till I'm REALLY out of it to do a proper post on it, but that's pretty impossible too because it's probably too big for typing and screens.  Nothing could do it justice. Throughout the journey of the past year, I've gotten really close with my existential anxiety.  That's such a funny way to describe it, too, because I just call it being alive and WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. 

 As a highly sensitive person (if you think you might be one of these people, I recommend the book Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aaron), I have always been acutely aware of time passing, moments slipping away, death, mortality, etc...basically one big constant connection to the sadness and pain of loss.  Loss of this moment, loss of that person I just saw in the grocery store and I wonder about their family and I hope they are doing okay - I feel like the Loss Fairy sometimes.  But underneath my pillow I get the "existence hangover" instead of money.  Instead of being all excited about my new tooth that's going to come in, I get anxiety.  And the problem is, our culture is very ignorant about and dismissive of anxiety (which again, I simply call "feeling life").  There are no tools taught on how to feel your feelings.  That is the opposite of the mentality society creates.  We are conditioned to move on, that feeling is weak, that we cannot handle big feelings, and the list goes on.  We are completely void of connection to our bodies and What We Actually Are.  We are in complete denial of the blueprint of our psyches and our feeling-bodies, and yet we wonder why we find ourselves short-circuiting?  Doesn't matter, there's a pill for that.  We are a culture of "fixing" and instant gratification and there's no time to slow down and feel.  To willingly feel the shift inside of the constant letting-go and then free-falling that leads to rebirth.  Our culture is so, so, so void of awareness of transition, or that anything is going on internally in our selves for that matter.  We live on the outside, our souls glued to material objects, running from instead of inviting in.  We project onto the outside world so we can avoid feeling.  Because it might be too scary to realize how vulnerable and fragile we are, and just how uncertain everything about our existence is.

 And when we touch down into that place of uncertainty, all hell breaks loose and we feel the surge of the forgotten and abandoned self come rushing to the surface.  It's that surge that we must learn to welcome, to sit inside, to call our friend.  That's the gold.  We then learn that the fear that has been preventing us from self is just that- fear.  Fear based on messages we picked up along the way that compartmentalized until we were frozen in our bodies, paralyzed by our world of things and doings.

Once we are in the free-fall, there is opportunity for reconnection, for true connection.  For tribal connection to the Earth as a heartbeat in its rhythm.  Getting married is a ritual, a rite of passage; marriage is tribal.  As a way to ground myself and bring meaning to and rooting to my existence, my therapist has often suggested finding ways to create ritual.  It's huge for us highly sensitive folk.  My therapist's son is very similar to me and together they have created rituals and meditations for him to do in the morning and at night.  My Buddhist practice requires ritual, although I have been SO lacking in my discipline lately.  When the morning and evening prayers are fully chanted, that's about an hour and a half a day.  Which, really, I should be able to do considering the time I spend writing online.  Making altars, setting a routine with meditation instead of just whenever I feel like it...Throughout this process I am trying to be more mindful of each moment, of the dance between the outside world and I.  I try to make conscious connections to the earth when I walk the dog, even when I wash dishes.  I try to send little prayers and words of gratitude and acknowledgement to the things my ripples reach.  

Last night a good friend of mine came over for hot tea and girl talk.  It's so good to have that sisterly/womanly/tribal bond.  Both of our spouses (spouse-to-be for me) were away and we were just two women, sitting by the figurative campfire talking about crops and babies.  And the moon.  We definitely need to make that a tradition.  I freaking love traditions.  Maybe that's why I love Christmas so much and the holidays.  It's rooting and grounding and you put your heart and intention into it.  The cooking, the decorations, the smells, the marking of another year passed.  The quietness.  The way that you turn inward, we stay indoors and stay warm and cozy.  And here in Los Angeles, we watch the fake fireplace on the TV and say things like "It's FREEZING out there!!!" 

This week we are going to Boulder to meet with wedding people and taste food and FINALLY HAVE WINTER BECAUSE IT'S SNOWING THERE.  I can't wait.  It's also another opportunity to set intention for our wedding day- FOUR MONTHS AWAY- and share energy with the nature that will bear witness to our union and hold us as we cross to the other side.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

when people leave

I didn't even know Philip Seymour Hoffman's work that well (I'm ashamed to say) but it doesn't lessen my sadness around his death.  I always feel a somewhat selfish connection to people I admire.  But it's more than admiration.  It's a sense of understanding, of feeling that that person, too, feels the spectrum of emotion and existence.  That they "get it".  That they are somehow a kindred spirit of mine ( I told you it was selfish).  There's something in the eyes, in the essence, in the energy.  That we've both seen something and understand. Death is always sad and thought provoking, especially when it grips someone so talented, so dedicated to their craft, and yet so helpless at the hands of drugs.  I didn't see this one coming at all.  Drug-related deaths leave me feeling bewildered, confused, frustrated, and just plain sad.  Sad for his partner, for his three children, for all of his loved ones that have to hear the news today.  Sad for his spirit, which is flying now, on to the next, but hopefully always hovering and intertwined in those he loved and was loved by.  Sad because he wasn't "taken" from us, this wasn't some random tragedy.  He was 46 years old and he took himself away.  Addiction leaves gaping holes in its path..

It's unfortunate that it's incidents like these that force you to reflect, to reconnect, and to pay gratitude.  I am grateful for his work, for the example he set for actors and artists.  He reminds me of why I want to act in the first place, he takes me back to the roots, to the heart, that often gets lost in the limbs and muscle of a career.  I am thankful for the opportunity to experience the spectrum of life in a healthy way - through acting, through bringing souls together.  Through bridging gaps and reminding us that we are not alone, that we are one breathing body with one heartbeat.  His death reminds me to wake up, to stay alive, to keep going.  He reminds me of my pure love for acting.  His death cleaned my lens, the lens that so often sees the bullshit and the phoniness of this business.  With a clean lens, I am thankful that I get to act, and that I have his work to watch and to remind me of my own heart.

I am just so sad it has to be with this way.  "It's not fair"s are trickling through my mind.  I hate death.  I always have.  I want them all here.  I don't like goodbyes, I don't like endings.  I can't handle the sadness it brings, and I can't even begin to imagine the pain his family is feeling.  It's not fair.  I'll sit with my anger and sorrow and act like I am at peace with death, but it's the furthest thing from the truth.  I hate it.