August 25, 2010

{Tying the Knot}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
As you're preparing for your wedding, you will hear and see lots of familiar "wedding expressions" in your daily routine that are actually rooted in the past. Like "tie the knot"....

You've probably heard some of the stories of its origin: how a couple would tie a rope or scarf in a ceremonial knot as a wedding ritual, symbolizing their connection and faith to each other. Perhaps you know of someone who has used a version of the ritual in their ceremony.

But did you know that the original ceremony -- from the ancient Celtic culture -- was a very intricate weaving that would entwine the couple's hands within the knot at the same time? This Celtic love knot pattern consists of complete loops that have neither a beginning nor an end. It was difficult to do and took a lot of practice by the couple, becoming like a meditative rehearsal for intimacy. The purpose was not only to create a "symbol" of the continuance of life and love, but was actually to help create or deepen an intimate bond between the couple.

Imagine doing this ceremony with your beloved: you are standing face to face; you feel the cording on your skin as it binds the two of you together; your hands become entwined; you are drawn even closer as you look into the eyes of your beloved, that intimate moment of looking into the "mirror of your soul" through another.

This is the purpose of all ancient wedding rituals: to create an intimacy of connection for the couple; to connect hearts for a lifetime. And the wisdom of the Celtic love knot ceremony takes it even deeper: entwining the heart of your relationship for inner-growth and self-discovery ... and the experience of practicing unending love together. Relationships don't always last, but the love that brings people together can indeed be everlasting with a little bit of practice.

Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

[Photograph: April Groom]

August 18, 2010

{The Prickly Beloved}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
The old British sixpence coin became legendary when it was included in the 19th century bridal rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence for your shoe.” Before the fabled sixpence existed in the British Empire, coins minted in Scotland used the image of their national flower, the beloved thistle, as a symbol of honor. Then later the thistle joined other botanical images—roses, leeks, and shamrocks—in a garland on the back of the sixpence coin itself. 

I wouldn’t consider the picturesque thistle a romantic wildflower—full of prickly leaves and bristly stems. Author Laura Martin concurs in Wildflower Folklore: “Since the language of this plant is defiance and surliness, a young lady would probably not be pleased to see thistle in her bouquet from an admirer.”

However, beloved it is and a perfect aide memoire . . . a reminder right there on the back of your sixpence coin that it’s great to have people around who love us even on our “prickly” days!

Whatever flowers you use for your wedding, or whatever images appear on your bridal coin, be thankful for all the choices you have. And those times when you’re feeling a bit thistle-like (pretty to look at, but a tad prickly), at least blow loving “long-distance” kisses to your fans and let everyone know you’ll soon be back in full bloom!

Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Bridal Photograph: Julie Mikos]

August 11, 2010

{Relaxation Response (sigh)}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Did you just sigh? I've noticed that when a woman becomes a bride, she sighs a lot.(Happy sighs, woeful sighs.) Being in love (sigh), having a looooong to-do list (sigh), finding the perfect dress (sigh).

Let's make better use of those sighs and turn them into intentional deep, long, soothing breaths. This way you can stay relaxed while engaging in your busy life and planning your wedding (sigh).

Breathing guru, Dennis Lewis, says in his wonderful book, Free Your Breath, Free Your Life, that "a long, slow exhalation turns on your 'relaxation response'." Hmmm. So how about a little practice right now?

Breathing through your nose, take a deeeeeep, slow inhale; and then allow your exhale to be even sloooooower and longer. Don't rush, enjoy the ease of letting go with each exhale ... like a long, luscious sigh. Continue this relaxation response whatever you're doing. Just pay attention to your breaths ... especially those longer, relaxing exhales (sigh). 

Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

[Photograph: Missy McLamb]

August 4, 2010

{Standing On Solid Ground}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Our fascination with shoes started long before designer labels or “Sex and the City.” Shoes—for obvious reasons—were first created for protective covering but then evolved into status symbols (sometimes rather foreboding ones) as well as objects of beauty and sexual allure.

Historians tell us that the symbolism of footwear in connection with marriage and luck dates back to antiquity. An old custom in China, tossing the bride’s red shoes from a roof, ensured the couple’s happiness; the ancient Inca Indians of Peru exchanged sandals to seal the marriage deal. In more recent history, perhaps when your grandparents or their parents married, couples rode away in a car with shoes tied onto the bumper as a sign that prosperity would follow them!

Whatever shoes you wear for your wedding—or even if you go barefoot—be sure that you’re “standing on solid ground” as far as your heart is concerned! Keep checking in with yourself while you are planning your wedding to be sure that your focus is on your relationship and that your attention hasn’t gotten lost in the busyness of wedding “things.” (Like what shoes look the best with your dress!)

Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

[Photograph: Kristin Spencer]