Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


June 2006

Wedding on the Brain

I woke up at 2:40 thinking about wedding stuff.  It was the first thing that crossed my mind as I got out of bed this morning.  I don’t remember my subway ride because I think I was deep in trance envisioning the ceremony.


On this blog once before I noted a stream of consciousness that was surprisingly effective at clearing my head.  I shall do it again…ready, set…

  • just the two of us
  • u2 city of blinding lights
  • elevators
  • pidgeons
  • arthur’s theme
  • need to check email
  • animal food
  • rainbow trout.  rainbow trout?
  • there are worse things
  • higher stakes
  • rolling hills
  • need to clean the cat box
  • how will I price this deal
  • my gumball machine is half empty – no half full!
  • I need a pedicure
  • iced coffee gets watery
  • need to untangle my telephone cord
  • kill the blackberry
  • friends in low places
  • sunsets

OK STOP.  That always feels good, in a weird way.  Write down whatever is going through your head – no editing, no judgments.  Just let it go.

The Ability to Pause

I went to graduate business school.  At said school, the way you "won" in the classroom was by taking limited information and quickly coming to a decision about what to do.  This obviously was in a workplace setting through case studies, but it was really training for life in many respects. 

That training was no doubt valuable (I paid for it for years after!), but I think has gross limitations.  While we can never have full information before making a decision, we need to be careful not to rush to judgment in life.  It’s easy to quickly label a person or a situation, and act according to that label. 

I loved Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now.  He has a new book A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose which I have not fully read, but I came across this passage and wanted to post it here as it clearly illustrates the value in having the ability to pause as a key ingredient to thoughtful living. 

Words, no matter whether they are vocalized and made into sounds or remain unspoken as thoughts, can cast an almost hypnotic spell upon you. You easily lose yourself in them, become hypnotized into implicitly believing that when you have attached a word to something, you know what it is. The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have covered up the mystery with a label. Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being,  is ultimately unknowable. This is because it has unfathomable depth. All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of the iceberg.

Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came. Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you. This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art. Van Gogh didn’t say: "That’s just an old chair." He looked, and looked, and looked. [And saw!] He sensed the Beingness of the chair. Then he sat in front of the canvas and took up the brush. The chair itself would have sold for the equivalent of a few dollars. The painting of that same chair today would fetch in excess of $25 million.

When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost long ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness. And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images. For this to happen, you need to disentangle your sense of I, of Beingness, from all the things it has become mixed up with, that is to say, identified with. That disentanglement is what this book is about.

The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you. In this way, cleverness may be gained, but wisdom is lost, and so are joy, love, creativity, and aliveness. They are concealed in the still gap between the perception and the interpretation.  Of course we have to use words and thoughts. They have their own beauty – but do we need to become imprisoned by them?

Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much. Language consists of five basic sounds produced by the vocal cords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure: s, f, g, and so forth. Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in its depth?

Bridezilla’s Revenge

My sister (I have a sister) got married this year.  She had a funny saying "Don’t let Bridezilla out of her cage!" when people would start to rattle her chain.  She is right.  I am thinking I might write a book or a movie called "Bridezilla’s Revenge" and have a big ugly bride with streaked lipstick and frazzled hair as the protagonist. 

A few examples of why brides go insane:

– you have to care about things like table linens.  who really cares about linens?  you think you don’t but if you are a bride, you have to pick a darn linen.  then people who seemingly don’t care (should not care) have an opinion "well why did you pick that one?"

– you get all sorts of crazy questions: what are you doing with your hair?  what is your theme? (theme? I am supposed to have a theme? "uhhmm, it’s a wedding theme") what is your borrowed, blue, old and new?  are you taking pre-natal pills?  are you getting your teeth whitened?  (that is like a "do you want a breath mint" question…ah, do I need to?)  what are your colors? (this last one is my favorite.  colors?  I need colors?  well the dress is ivory…oh maybe that is like a crips/bloods question – gang colors!  yes you need colors).

– all of a sudden, hair matters.  you become more concerned about hair than you ever were before in life.  I am getting my hair highlighted.  get hair highlighted too soon and it won’t look fresh; get it done too late and it will look too bright.  it has to be JUST right.  there is practically a two hour window you need to hit to get the perfect color.  are you kidding me?

– speaking of hair, you have several people who like to remind you that you need to look the BEST YOU HAVE EVER LOOKED that day.  no pressure.   

– people all of a sudden become helpless in the presence of a bride (I would like to think this is because of her stunning radiance…).  "where do we go?"  "when do I need to be there?"  "what should I wear?"  "how do I get there?"  these are all questions for the bride.  these are questions from otherwise self sufficient people.  from adults.  adults who have gotten places before, picked appropriate clothing for themselves and have managed to be on time at other functions without needing someone to tell them what to do. 

– weddings are a bottomless pit of money spending.  I had lofty thoughts of not falling into this trap.  it’s unavoidable.  even if you do it on the cheap, it’s still non-stop cha-CHING time.  placecards: $50; site fee: several thousand dollars: DJ: $900; a calm bride: PRICELESS

Let’s keep this last point in mind – a calm bride: PRICELESS.  Nobody likes an ugly person, especially not a raving mad lathering at the mouth woman in a white dress.  It ain’t pretty.  So please, if she asks you to do something, do it yourself and try not to ask for her help.  Just get it done.  She is the one who needs help.  Follow her directions.  Don’t ask for anything special or any "oh can you just do this one little thing for me" questions.  Assume the groom has a brain.  He can answer questions.  He might even want to. 

This is a public service announcement.  Keep Bridezilla In Her Cage.

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