June 11, 2014

{Open Your Heart}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
With all the commercial hype, canned traditions, and tantalizing nonsense out there, it’s an extra daunting time for whomever is planning a wedding—whether it’s the bride, her mother or both! So several years ago, I created “Open Your Heart” CDs for these busy, task-oriented women. Not only as a way to support their ease and well-being, but the short, guided relaxations were also designed to help their choices come from the heart. (I’ve been to so many weddings where the character, soul and intimacy have been squeezed out of the wedding day because of the stress to “get it right” instead of relaxing and simply “sharing your love.”) 
So I introduced my CDs —a version for brides and another for all women—at one of those big, splashy bridal extravaganzas. During the afternoon event in the hotel’s grand ballroom, my team and I greeted the rush of visitors—hundreds of brides with their wedding entourage in tow. And for those brides, mothers and members of the wedding party who paused at our booth, I shared the benefits of slowing down during their wedding planning time for a few moments of relaxation and ease. (You’ll “feel better” and “look more beautiful”—and with some of the brides I threw in “have better sex” to really get their attention!) Some of the brides-to-be looked rather bewildered when I mentioned “relaxation,” reacting with words like: “I’m just too busy/tense/crazed to slow down and relax!” Hmmmmm.

As many thousands of brides as I had worked with over the years in my former shop by the time I did this event, I figured I’d be met with some resistance to the notion “that being calm and not reactive” equaled  happier relationships. (So the nature of the reactions I received certainly didn’t bode well for peaceful marriages and family life ahead.) Nevertheless, it wasn’t surprising that just as many of the mothers of future brides and grooms spoke up with: “I’m the one who needs this CD!”

I think we can all use support in slowing down, relaxing, and bringing ease to our bodies, mind and spirit no matter the tasks we’ve taken on. As the wise Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh prompts us: “Breathe, smile and go slowly.” (And I say, a more beautiful bride is a more relaxed, in-her-heart bride!)

Find a way to ease your noisy mind...remember, deeeeeeep easy breaths. Create your own ritual of stillness—a meditative womanly ritual for deep relaxation—one that would be a gift of heart-opening ease (a gift to you, to him, to all!) Even if it’s only five minutes of quiet solitude a day: in the early morning before your busy day begins or as an afternoon break; after a bath to continue your relaxation or before bed to support deep rest. Find your quiet hub; find your inner stillness. Open your heart.

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

[Photographs: J Nichols Photography]

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