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Monday, March 31, 2008

The Big Black Hole

Growing up, I had a feeling that I was empty inside and there lived within me, a big black hole. Throughout so many of my years, I tried to fill it up.

First, I tried by shoveling food into myself. And developing eating disorders that took so long to later conquer. Disorders that, to this day, affect my relationship with food. Then I tried to find my worth through my work. Devouring the world around me until I crashed and burned. Frozen into inactivity, I couldn't function. For over a week, I said not one word to anyone, I just couldn't speak. Thankfully, I had people around me who pulled me close and watched over me until I found myself again. Later, I invested everything in a relationship based on need, his need for only what I could provide. In the mistaken belief that I could make his life better and thereby obtain his affection. But none of these worked. I remained, throughout it all, empty. Hollow. Echoing inside.

It is only now, so very recently, that I realise all I needed was the kind of love that taught me to love myself as a part of it. A love which has totally filled that black hole. Which has cemented over all my cracks. Which has turned any negativity I have held against myself, into a feeling of goodness and well-being. Which has altered every shade of grey I have ever felt, into bright hues of hope and joy.

I never thought I'd ever lose that deep, ingrained feeling of emptiness. I'm so grateful to have been found and in being found, to have found myself. I'm now experiencing what it's like to be loved with a purity and honesty that helps me define myself. To be allowed to love someone back, with the same purity and honesty that my soul has always searched for, has longed to find. And equally, has longed to give.

And one of the best things about all this - that such a big part of this love, is loving someone as much as he loves me. Sharing our lives, our futures, our hopes and dreams. Sharing our selves.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Do

And we did, on 24th March!

While in Santa Fe, we eloped. While we work out the best of our several options, we are apart again, but not for too much longer. We just didn't want to wait, to be married.

To say we're both ecstatic, would be an understatement!

~~~~ 0 ~~~~

Irene Swain, our Officiant, has kindly given special permission to reproduce the words she spoke at our service (with the request that this is not duplicated for any other wedding, unless it is material quoted by an author), so that our friends and family may share in our special moment:

[TO THE COUPLE]: ________ and ______, face each other holding hands; so you may feel the gift that you are to one another.

Marriage, and the union it symbolizes, can be one of the most wonderful of human experiences; for Love, in its infinite manifestations, is truly what life is all about. Today, we come joyfully to acknowledge the commitment of ______________ and _____________, to share their lives in marriage.
The essence of this commitment we honor as marriage is the conscious choosing to live your life fully with another, in one’s entirety, as lover, companion and friend. It is therefore a decision that is not to be entered into lightly; rather undertaken with great consideration and respect for both one’s partner and one’s self.

"This Love of which I speak embodies patience; It looks for a way of being constructive. Love is not possessive; Love is neither anxious to impress; nor does It cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; Love can outlast anything. Love is in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen."

Love does not demand; Love compromises. Love does not possess; Love frees. Love softens our rough edges and strengthens our best qualities. Knowing we are loved inspires us and invites forth our best effort. Offering our love humbles us and cultivates an inner joy, an inner peace.

May we celebrate the choices made by someone dear, even when they run counter to our own desires. We are each blessed with a destiny, unique and necessary to ourselves and to the others in our lives. We must be allowed to travel our own individual path to fulfillment. Let us not bind one another and know real Love.

The realization of Love’s many levels is the highest experience that we human beings have; and this is the meaning of our lives. The sensual part of love is one of life's greatest joys, and when this is combined with real friendship and continued growth in understanding, both in the marriage are infinitely enhanced.

Love not only consists of gazing into each other's eyes, but of looking together in the same direction. The day-to-day companionship, the pleasure in doing things together, or in doing separate things, and in delighting to exchange these experiences, is a continuous and central part of what a man and a woman who love each other can share.

Marriage is the intimate sharing of two separate lives; yet this sharing must not diminish, but enhance the individuality of each partner. A marriage that lasts is one that is continually developing; and in which each person is individually developing while growing in understanding of the other.

Deep knowledge of another is not something that can be achieved in a short time and real understanding of each other's feelings can develop fully only with years of intimacy. This wonderful knowledge of one’s marriage partner, grows out of fully caring for each other so much, that one wants to understand as completely as possible what the other is thinking, feeling, and experiencing.

Thus it is possible to share not only your joys and successes, but also share those times of challenges, personal doubt, sorrow and feelings of failure. To be known in this way, to be understood and accepted in this loving manner, is a priceless, precious gift.

While marriage is the union and intimate sharing of two lives, it can enhance the differences and individuality of each partner. You must give yourselves in love; but you must not give yourselves away. A good and balanced relationship is one in which neither person is overpowered or absorbed by the other.

Thus, it is out of this tension and balance between separateness and union that Love, whose incredible strength is equal only to its incredible fragility, is born and reborn.

_________________ and ________________, you are both in love and you are in love with each other. To love is to create; is to laugh; is to play; is to share; is to dance; is to fly; is to prevail; is to grow; is to smile; is to dream; is to live!

We are joyfully gathered here today to celebrate the love which _______________and ___________ have for each other, and to give deep and loving recognition to their decision to love and accept each other totally without reservation. Into this state of marriage these two persons come now to be united.

These are the hands of your best friend, soft and strong, and full of love for you; that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other; today, tomorrow and for all your moments together. These are the hands that will work and play alongside yours; as together you create your today; thus your future. These are the hands that will hold you, when fear or grief assails your heart and mind. These are the hands, that will countless times, wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands, that will tenderly care for your children; and the hands, that will help you hold your family as one. These are the hands, that will give you strength and honesty, when you need it. And these are the hands, that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours; still giving you the same unspoken tenderness - with just a touch.

[TO THE GROOM] Do you ___________, take ___________ as your wife? Do you pledge to share your life honestly and openly with her; to speak the truth to her in love. Do you promise to honor and respect her; to cherish and encourage her fulfillment as an individual, through all the changes in your life together?

[TO THE BRIDE] Do you ___________ take ___________ as your husband? Do you pledge to share your life honestly and openly with him; to speak the truth to him in love. Do you promise to honor and respect him; to cherish and encourage his own fulfillment as an individual, through out all the changes in your life together?

(Minister asks for rings): These rings are made of precious metals, a symbol of the riches that reside within each of you. And as any metal is purified by the white heat of testing; so will your love be purified by the tests that are given to you through the many seasons of your loving.


__________, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am; all that I will become; and all that I have. I promise to stay by your side as your husband (wife); to respect and love you, without reservation; comfort you in times of sorrow; encourage you to achieve your goals; grow with you in mind and spirit; and cherish you, for as long as we both shall live.

As _______ and _________ have vowed to be evermore understanding, honest and loving toward each other; formalizing in our presence the existence of a stronger, greater, and more profound union between them; we bear witness to the ceremony they have performed - the ceremony that now names them - husband and wife.

I should like at this time to speak of some of the things, which we here present, and those not here, yet thinking of both of you, wish for you.

We wish for you a love that makes both of you better people; that continues to give you joy and enthusiasm for living; that provides you with energy, patience and understanding to face all the responsibilities of your life together.

May your hearts be filled with an abundance of generosity and gratitude towards each other. May you appreciate and compliment each other’s differences. May you be patient and kind toward one another. May you listen and hear each other; and walk together peacefully, while giving loving time and conscious attention to any differing points of view. And may your sense of humor and playful spirits always continue to enliven your relationship.

We wish for you a home - not just a place of stone and wood, but an island of higher understanding, tolerance and serenity, in a sometimes seemingly confusing, complicated world. We hope that your home becomes a place of personal, private joy and retreat, and also serves as a temple, wherein the values of your life are generated and upheld. We hope that your home stands as a symbol, of humans living together in love and truth, seeking harmony amidst any adversity. We hope that your home encompasses the beauty of nature; that it has within it the elements of simplicity, joy, love, truth, peace and a harmonious balance with all the rhythms of life. We wish for you a home filled with melodious sounds of kindness, laughter, welcome-ness, understanding - a home with all the characteristics, which represent the highest qualities of men, of women, of family.

We wish for you full, meaningful lives, enriched by your relationship with one another. In the years ahead may you say: Because you have loved and respected me, you have given me an ever deeper belief in myself; and because I have witnessed the good reflected through your words and actions toward others; I have received from you a faith in the goodness and caring of true humanity.

May these two people now married, keep this covenant which they have made. May you be a blessing and a comfort to each other; sharers of each other's joys; consolers in each other's sorrows; helpers to each other in all the elements of life. May you encourage each other in whatever you set out to achieve. In trusting each other, may you trust life; and not be afraid to live more fully. May you not only accept and give love and affection between yourselves; yet also together show kindness and consideration for others.

We can experience no greater truth from Love, than the truth to love more openly, more honestly, and more deeply. We can expect nothing from Love, except what Love gives. We do not always consciously choose what life experiences may manifest for us; but we can shape the spirit with which we shall meet them.

_______________and ____________, may all that you have already become, which has brought you to this day; and all you will become as a loving effect of it - in the lifelong joining of your hearts and your minds - continue to show you your purpose. May you always stretch your vision of who and what you are as a couple and as individuals. May you always be brought most beautifully and steadfastly into the presence of yourselves and of one another; and may you live long and happily fulfilling all that you are.

It is now my great pleasure and joy to present you for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. _____________!

___________, you may now kiss your wonderful bride!

Apache Blessing:

Now you will feel less rain for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel less cold, for each of you will be warmth for the other. Now there is less loneliness, for each of you are companion to the other. Now you are two individual persons, yet there is a joined life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and may your days together be good and long upon the earth. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness, which your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives; remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness, and may your days be good and long together.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Flying the Friendly Skies

Up up and away in just over 24 hours from now. I'm so excited. We both are!

And the fact we've managed to s-t-r-e-t-c-h another two days out of our busy schedules, to just 'be' together, is quite simply awesome.

Both our cameras are charged and ready, I've heard it's a great area for sightseeing. But first we'll have to get out of the hotel room. With reviews like this, it might not be so easy:

The rooms at the Inn of the Anasazi are not overly large, but they are very comfortable. We liked the southwestern-style cow-hide chairs, high table and fireplace in our room, but the real standout was the bed. The bed is so high off the ground that it comes with stairs to reach it – this is fitting, because the bed is so comfortable that you feel as though you’re sleeping on clouds. It was definitely difficult getting up each morning – if Santa Fe weren’t so pretty, with so much to see and do, we might have wanted to stay in bed longer.

It sounds like getting out of bed is going to be the biggest challenge of the entire trip. Mind you, even with a normal bed, my love and I do find that to be somewhat difficult.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Three Years

17 March 2005

An anniversary in my life. A sad anniversary. I lost my Dad on that day. My precious, beloved, brave, amazing, exceptional, adored Dad.

It doesn't seem possible that a whole year has passed since I wrote this.

I still miss him today, as much as I have every day for the past three years. So much has happened in my life, so much he'd be proud of. I took care of my Mum as best I could after he left, especially right at the end. I hope that helped the grief he must have felt about leaving her on her own.

I believe he would have been overjoyed to know that I have finally found the right man to share my life with. He would have poured him a drink and clinked glasses with him, telling him that he was happy for us - I know, too, that he'd have added something along the lines of "You'd better bloody well look after her young man, or you'll have me to deal with."

Well Dad, not to worry, I know he will. He's strong and good and kind and handsome and loving. He'll make you proud. And we'll drink to you on our wedding day and wish you were there with us. But I know you'll be watching over me that day, as you have every day since you left. I still feel you here with me but I do miss you so very, very much.

I always will.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hopping Mad!

Do you remember this from a previous post:

"Bad - the asshole husband of a friend of my mother's, to whom she lent money, seems to think he doesn't have to repay the loan. I'm going for his throat when I get back. Can't decide whether to threaten a lawsuit, report it as extortion to the constabulary or as undeclared income to the tax department, or perhaps just kneecap the bastard!"

Well, upon my instruction, the people handling my mother's estate wrote to him, requesting repayment of the loan and got this wonderful missive in reply:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am sorry for not having responded sooner but I work away and only pick up my mail every two to three weeks.

With regard to the enclosed letter, I did receive £10,000 from Mrs A in August last year.

I do, however, dispute that this amount is outstanding.

I told Miss A about this on several occasions, but she was not interested in anything I had to say regarding her mother.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

I opened that this morning and was hopping mad. How dare he imply that he had told me this on several occasions! From over a dozen emails I sent, he replied only twice, both times refusing to acknowledge that the entire amount was due to be repaid, referring to it as "balance due", which I disputed. He even once said "we need to work out a repayment schedule". Now he's disputing that the amount is outstanding?!

He keeps shooting himself in the foot - in one of the emails he told me that he visited my mum every week and brought her cigarettes, intimating that should be deducted from the amount borrowed (even if he had, I calculated a total of 750 pounds not 10,000 pounds) and now he's saying he only gets home every two to three weeks. Caught!

So I called their home number, got the wife. She answered with "hello" and after telling her who was calling and why, I got nothing. Not one single f'ing word. I know she was still on the line, I could hear the TV blasting in the background. When I finally got tired of her non-response to everything I said, and my money ticking away with nothing from her end, I told her that if I didn't hear from one of them within 24 hours, I was taking this to the police. I've been told that unless this asshole can produce written proof it was a gift - and I am positive that does not exist - then it's a viable police case for theft.

I can't believe that people my mother was so kind towards, have treated her like this. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Very Quick Update

I wish I had more time to write but I don't even have time to put my thoughts together right now! Am in the middle of the blueprint planning stage for a new HRIS (Human Resources Information System), which is chewing up not hours, but days of my time. And that's besides all the other projects I'm involved with, not to mention day-to-day matters such as recruitment and operational support.

My update:

1. Things with Mum's estate are moving, but slowly.

2. Sometimes work feels overwhelming and I'm doing my best to keep my head above water.

3. I'm flying again, at Easter, for a three-day FIVE-DAY!! trip to Santa Fe with my love. I'm stoked!

4. We are moving closer and closer to being together. I'm more than stoked!!

I miss writing but I do still manage to read, and thoroughly enjoy, you all.


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