Bride-to-be Looks Beyond Life-Changing Accident

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

(CNN) — Fourteen months after she was left paralyzed by a pool mishap at her bachelorette party, Rachelle Friedman is having the wedding of her dreams Friday — and then some.

Joining Friedman and fiance Chris Chapman will be between 100 and 120 family members and their closest friends, witnesses to the couple’s can-do spirit.

“It just feels like a love story to people,” said Rachelle’s mother, Carol. “They are really great together.”…Continued

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Through Grief Into Life

March 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

After my husband passed away I put his wedding ring on a chain and wore it around my neck.  Then I wondered when my own wedding ring should join his in the same chain.  Then one day his ring, my ring and the chain were placed in a velvet box in my closet.

Life goes on.

I miss intimacy.  Not just sex but lying in bed with someone and watching TV, having candle lit dinners, and falling asleep with another person’s arms around me.  I also miss having a man around the house doing things I can’t.  And I miss my husband.

The other day a friend came over and hung the house numbers – I had taken them down while having the house painted – which had been resting in a drawer for the last six months.  His presence in a way made me feel as if I was again one half of a couple and I realized how much I like that feeling.  I love sharing.  I specially like to share the good things I accomplish in work, the fun stuff I do or the nice things I hear from others.  When I’m blue I most often prefer solitude.

After my friend or as a girlfriend called him – borrowed husband – finished the house tasks, I cooked a meal and felt compelled to light candles.  I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t add that I also felt physically attracted to him.  While handing him tools our hands touched and I felt his skin to be soft and smooth.  I watched his arms flex as he worked and my heart skipped a beat.

Life goes on.

This was the first time since my husband passed away nineteen months ago that I felt attracted to anyone.  But it was not the first time I thought about the possibility of being intimate with someone else.  Last month I bought online two sets of sexy lingerie that have been living in a plastic bag in my drawer since their arrival.  They are laying low waiting for the right time to adorn my body.

Of course all these feelings are in my head and heart.  I don’t know how or when they will manifest as a reality but when I daydream my needs for giving and receiving love exist without a hitch.  Kisses and touches happen in a most harmonious way and the shock of being in a new man’s arms after years of being with my husband do not stop me from experiencing the moment.

Reality could be somewhat different.  Fear and guilt might populate my heart. Do my feelings mean I love Chris less than someone else who forever will keep their hearts shut?

No.

I know I will always love Chris and he will always be my husband.  But I also know I have in my heart the space for loving and receiving love from another man.

Life goes on.

I won’t rush anything.  I try my best to live one day at a time as life has shown me that plans often go astray in life’s rambunctious nature.

But I do know one day all the love I have in me will find a worthy recipient and then again on a Sunday I will again wake up late with my man and make him brunch.

I am part of a community of men and women whose scars run deep but whose hopes and love for life keep us all going.

Life goes on.  We love, laugh, and cry but above all else we must live with the hurt and the hope.  It is our gift to ourselves and the ones we have lost.

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Love Celebration

July 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

What a great video. More than 5 million have watched it. Worth watching will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.

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Point Dume…

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

A small wedding party has climbed out onto a rocky promontory that overlooks the Pacific and offers a sweeping view of the Santa Monica Bay. From the beach a few hundred feet below I watch the windblown figures and imagine their vows rising above the ocean currents, and falling into the wind. The contrast between the fragility of these figurines, and the stillness and solidity of the ancient rock they have been momentarily set upon, is apparent on this windy day.

This rock was once a sacred site to the Chumash Indians who inhabited the region in another time. The body of water that lies between the Channel Islands and the mainland comprised the watery universe this people lived upon, adorning it with myths and ways that have been washed away, essentially without a trace. I wonder about the rituals that were enacted atop this rock as the Chumash and others before them made their passage through time.

Human beings tend to view their lives with a sense of ownership, an implicit assumption that we are permanent fixtures of the landscape we inhabit. We have been wired with a distinct preference for immortality and a strong distaste for its alternative. Our culture further barricades our sensibilities against the uneasy murmurings of impermanence that surround us. This leaves us unclear as to the terms of a natural contract whose only guarantee is that we are just passing through. It is an outlook that comes at a cost, as most delusions do.

Not long ago I listened as a Zen monk delivered a dharma talk that touched upon this delusion, and on the human capacity to pierce it. A consideration of the Buddhist idea of “insight” was central to this discussion. This is a term of particular significance in the Vippassana Buddhist tradition, whose central practices are referred to as insight meditation.

The definition of insight that was offered by this monk was unusual in its simplicity and directness. It did not elaborate on complex theories of mind, or offer sublime strategies to unveil the illusory and errant machinery of human consciousness. Rather, it defined insight in the following way: it is a recognition that we are all occupants of transient vessels, that each of us is confronted by the same fundamental circumstances, that the human lifespan is alarmingly short, that our passage through the world is a one-way, one-time trip, that we will all ultimately disappear without a trace. The natural consequence of such insight, the monk continued, is a disposition and an inclination to co-exist with our equally impermanent neighbors, in a manner that is conducive to peace and harmony. The attainment of such insight (which is tantamount to grasping the central Buddhist tenet of impermanence) yields an attitude of empathy and gentle regard. It generates a desire to maintain a consistent course of action in this singular life that is guided by an ethos of shared vulnerability. The inclination to over-power, to make trouble for ones fellow beings, is subdued by such a vision of life. It is a vision that situates each of us within a highly intricate and fragile ecosystem that is defined by its ephemeral beauty. Nevertheless, it is a vision rooted in hard reality, not  soft ideals and the benevolence it generates is a natural ethic that flows from an awareness of our mutual, magnificent transience.

There is a wistful sense of surrender in such an attitude towards ones own life and the lives of others. We have each been designed with the fatal flaw that insures our own mortality. In this, if in nothing else that may be apparent to us, we are undeniably and inescapably brothers. This recognition compels us to confront a simple and profoundly significant question: How do I wish to behave toward my brothers, what is the legacy I wish to leave when I too disappear without a trace?

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