My Love Story

~Annie & Eben Get Married September 15th, 2011~

 

The Proposal

 

New Years Eve: 2011

Mine commenced with 20 friends in an epic beach house on a cliff. Our room looked out on an oceanic panorama. I love it when you can’t tell where the water ends & sky begins.

New Year’s eve initiated itself as a masquerade ball. I dressed up as ‘Love’, Eben dressed up as ‘Fear’. Between the two of us we had all other emotions covered. 

Once the group congregated, we sat down in a circle and set our intentions -for the evening & the new year.

I proclaimed that 2011 was going to be the year I cultivated and honed my feminine intuition, something I’d recently begun using as an existential compass.  For the last while I’ve been exploring a new technique.  Since Intuition seems pre-lingual and pre-cognitive, when an option array is presented by my mind (ie: will I eat thai, chinese or italian? / should I go to the party or do some work? / shall I live in NYC, SFO or  LA?), I climb into each possibility, imagine it already happening (now) then scan my body for a feeling of expansion or contraction.  I’ve been mapping out somatic markers that indicate ‘yes do this‘ or ‘no, not now‘.  And when I’m at a choice point I feel inside my chest to see which option(s) invokes opening/ relaxation (yes) or closing/ retraction (no).  Every time I go with the choice that feels more expansive, my life gets bigger.

When the offering of intentions came round to Eben, he looked over at me and said he wanted to focus on developing the strongest, deepest relationship founded on honesty and true partnership.  2011, he claimed, was going to be the year he took on becoming the most beautiful version of himself, allowing love’s sharp tools to sculpt him.  

I smiled at his public declaration, silently swooning.  For those who know him, Eben is a lighthouse and a trampoline.  As the smartest man I know, he’s my favorite teacher and my most revered mirror.  His heart -a labyrinthine playground with trap doors and golden bridges- is littered with poetry.  His mind is a cathedral, a paean to knowledge & thought.  As robust as a fortress, as exquisite as a Faberge egg.  He thinks the way Bach sounds.  

But it’s the way he syncs his heart and mind that leaves me breathless, that’s nothing short of an art form.

As the event progressed, more rituals and ceremonies unfurled.  Two women were placed in a special candle-lit circle surrounded by open hearts & bright eyes, to celebrate their recent pregnancies.  We each sent a blessing into their wombs and offered words of wisdom.  A young 3yr old named Sofia (who’d experienced this same ritual while still on the ‘inside’) leaned over to kiss their bellies.  She ran off to bed, leaving delight in her wake.  

The final countdown was held around a crackling fireplace, we all shouted 10 down to 1, with glasses raised high.  And as the clock struck 12, I turned to kiss my lover for the first time this year.  Little did I know, it would be the last of its kind.  

One would think, midnight on NYE would hold peak excitement for the evening.  But not this time…

Soon after, Eben gathered his tribe in yet another circle, placing 3 women at the front of the room: his ex-girlfriend Rose, myself and his friend Shannon.  Rose was the only other serious romance he’d ever had.  He kneeled before her and began to recount all the hard-won lessons learned from their relationship.  He thanked her for being his teacher, for enduring the drama, and for preparing him so perfectly for me. Then, body to the ground, he bowed to her in reverence.

Next was Shannon, Eben kneeled in front and verbally appreciated her impact across his life, thanked her for unwavering support over the years, for being an inspiring example of motherhood, for always being a safe place for him to land and for introducing him to Rose.  Again, a deep bow.

Then Eben came over to me -in the middle- and kneeled again.  He began with epic affirmations.  Said I inspired him to be a better man, that I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met, that my love had redefined him, said that he’d never known intimacy like this was possible. He continued with a list of reasons he’d fallen in love and those aspects he cherished the most. Looking directly into my eyes, Eben paused & took a deep breath. I felt a vacuum of silence descend like the low tide before a tsunami. It was then he leaned forward on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

Was I surprised?  Yes & no.  Electricity shot through my body. Then I felt a soft, familiar ecstasy.  We’ve known for a while we were meant to be life partners.  So this ritual, though profoundly meaningful, felt more like a decoration.  Or perhaps I was just in shock.

I screamed “YES” really loud. Twice.

Everybody clapped & cheered.

On Jan 1st, 2011, Annie & Eben became triumphantly engaged.  So that’s our intention, to “be engaged”…in each other’s lives, in our dreams, with friends and family, but most of all be engaged in the finest dance this side of the milky way, True Love.

 

 

Annie & Eben’s Wedding Vows

 

  1. I vow to accept, appreciate, and protect your individuality, your freedom and your solitude.
  2. I vow to create a safe space to express ALL of your emotions – fear, anger, jealousy, lust, shame, joy, excitement – and to welcome your deepest truths.
  3. There are no sins in this relationship; no want or request is off limits. Bring me your honest, open heart…and whatever you ask for, the answer is “yes.”
  4. As we each develop in our unique ways and at our own speeds, I commit to staying at your side and encouraging you to evolve at your own pace.
  5. With our partnership as my highest value, I vow to listen to your needs and desires, synchronize with your body-mind-sprit, and collaborate to create something beyond what I am capable of myself.
  6. I vow to create an extraordinary sex life for us. I will encourage your expanding sexuality, your fantasies, and your sexual inspirations – without judgment or embarrassment.
  7. As the foundation for our growing love, I commit to creating longevity, health, and energy through nutritious food, regular exercise and intentional rejuvenation.
  8. I commit to alchemizing our conflicts into deeper intimacy, to hear your perspective, to feel your pain, and to use these conflicts as access to our greatest growth opportunities.
  9. I vow to co-create my future dreams and visions with you. Together we will craft the best environments and contexts to facilitate their fluid emergence.
  10. I will treat your family as my own, and stay committed to their safety, health, growth and expanding potential.
  11. I dedicate this relationship and our love to the development and actualization of all humans and all of life. I offer our love as a crucible for the future of evolution.
  12. I commit to live my life as conscious art that inspires others to love more fully.
  13. In recognition of our relationship as connection to all Being, I will continually re-cognize the oneness of the infinite, the true source of love, consciousness and creativity.
  14. I commit to continually evolve these wedding vows; always refining, transcending, and including them as we grow together.
  15. I vow to protect our relationship with my life, and I commit to seek trusted advice, support from friends and outside experts if ever it feels threatened.
  16. I vow, through every heartbreak, through every wound, through every doubt, I will faithfully find my way back, reconnect my love to your heart, and stay
    with you forever.

 

For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke~

  

How did I know HE was the ONE?

Annie: Walking into a dusty tent looking for my friends at Burning Man, I first saw Eben speaking to a group about the future of leadership. Within 15 minutes of listening to him, I knew he was unlike any man I’d ever met. I sat and stayed riveted for the rest of the talk. The way he spoke, his bold ideas, the raw agility of his mind, it was breathtaking. I was infused with mild vertigo (excitement/ terror). My heart soared at the possibility that someone like that existed.

Later, while we courted, I continued to see distinct features and signs that Eben was not only made for me, but I was made for him. His bookshelves mirrored mine, his emotional tenacity was on par, his body felt like home. The resonance was uncanny. Our strengths supplemented each other in all the right ways, as did our shadows. Moving through my insecurities entailed him moving through his. The very lessons we most deeply wanted/ needed to learn were required from this relationship.

I had never pursued a man before. This time I did, but had to move through deep fears -of being naive, deluded, honest, and vulnerable. After I exhausted what my brain could do to win him, only then did I surrender my heart. And that’s when he finally recognized me, in an instant.

But how did I know he was the one? I don’t think it is something you can know, it’s not a belief that can be verified or justified. It was just real…the way my existence is real. I can’t prove it, I can’t explain it, it simply was the case. And the more I got to know him, the deeper and more real it became. Certainty and objective Truth don’t really exist, but if they did…that’s how I’d feel about him being the one. However far I thought love might take me, it goes way further than that. It goes to infinity.

  

How did I know SHE was the ONE?

Eben: A part of me has always felt “wired” to look for my mate, my partner – yet another part of me felt “wired” to be independent, free, un-committed and un-obligated. I now see these two drives, although appearing at odds, were perfectly calibrated to “reserve” & ready me for Annie.

I had completely given up on ever finding a “partner” in life -to the point where I’d accepted being single for the long-term, and began designing my life accordingly. In fact, when I met Annie, I was so committed to this idea of staying single that I didn’t even recognize her. Wayne Dyer wrote a book called “You’ll See It When You Believe It.” That’s a great insight, because it’s completely counter-intuitive yet completely right.

In the case of finding a partner to build a life with, I couldn’t see it as a possibility because I didn’t believe in it. It was shocking, humbling, relieving and exciting to meet the woman that was not only a perfect match for me in terms of who she is in this world -but who also believed in Love enough for both of us. Annie came and found me, she took me somewhere I’d never been before, and showed me how to feel more alive than ever.

I can remember the exact moment, on January 24th, 2010 when I looked into her eyes and really SAW her. She and I had spent time together in many different settings before that day – but, the way I like to imagine it is – I didn’t believe in Love until that moment.

When I finally realized that she Loved me, and saw her magnificent vision of what Love could be, she instantly became a different being in front of me. In that moment, I fell in Love with her. It was a Singularity in my life that I will never forget.

 

“Whenever you’re worried, scared or feel confused, just ask yourself ‘What would the most extraordinary woman in the world do?’…because that’s who you are.” ~Eben Pagan~

  

Annie Lalla

I am a dreamer, always was.

It’s the cause of all my glory and my drama. Having your hero be Don Quixote saddles you with the difficulty of believing impossible things.

Cervantes said, “I’ve never had the courage to believe in nothing”, indeed. So I chose to believe in the most inspiring story I could find: that true love existed and that I could have it. This became a motif that informed my youthful dreams, my academic pursuits, my fascination with psychology, philosophy, literature, art and my final career as a relationship coach.

All I’ve ever cared about was love -giving and getting. It became a terrain I mapped out with every new experience. But I’m ready to give up the ‘idea’ of it in exchange for the real thing. And now, I care about creating myself as the most free, most alive version of myself; romantic love is but part of that game. I want to make a fundamental difference in the way humans interact with each other.

The space between people is the place where magic happens. My aim is to help individuals use that space to create the kinds of magic they want.

If there is anything you should know about me, it’s that I will fight for you to believe in at least one new impossible thing. Of course, by the time I’m done, it will have changed ever so slowly -into what’s possible; and you will be smiling.

 

 

Eben Pagan

One thing that seems to be consistent in my life is that the “next level” is a combination of leaving behind what I thought I’d never abandon, combined with moving towards what I thought I would never embrace. However, it’s always for the better, paradoxically enough.

I have done well in my life as “an individual.” I’ve created material success that I enjoy, relationships that are wonderful, and a life that is beyond where I ever dreamed I could be.

But I now realize that the next phase of my life is materializing right in front of me. It’s an opportunity to not only “live the dream” of being truly in love with the most magical human being, but also an incredible chance to face my biggest fears and “shadows.”

Annie has called me “midwife to the emergent”, since I’m often looking for ways to facilitate movement to the next level. My personal approach to life (as Jed Mckenna says) is “Further.”

And I’m going…

 

 

My Mind is…

By e. e. cummings

my mind is

a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and

taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and

chipping with sharp fatal tools

in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of

chrome and execute strides of cobalt

nevertheless i

feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am

becoming something a little different, in fact

myself

Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet

bellowings.

 

 

SONNET 116

By William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

 

For Anne

By Leonard Cohan

With Annie gone,

whose eyes compare

with the morning sun?

Not that I did compare,

But I do compare

Now that she’s gone.

 

 

Every Day You Play

By Pablo Neruda

Every day you play with the light of the universe.

Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.

You are more than this white head that I hold tightly

as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.

Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.

Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?

Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.

The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.

Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.

The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.

The wind. The wind.

I can contend only against the power of men.

The storm whirls dark leaves

and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here. Oh, you do not run away.

You will answer me to the last cry.

Cling to me as though you were frightened.

Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,

and even your breasts smell of it.

While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies

I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,

my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.

So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,

and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.

A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.

I go so far as to think that you own the universe.

I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,

dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.

I want…

to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

“Love is not for the faint hearted…it’s a gladiator sport.”

~Annie Lalla~

 

The Post Wedding Love Workshop

Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011

Place: Helen Mills Theatre, 137-139 West 26th Street

Phone: 212.243.6200

Time: 10am -7pm

As a participant of the wedding you are already invited! Please join us for this all-day workshop where we’ll be sharing our hard-won insights on cultivating love, understanding relationship dynamics, creating partnership through collaboration, transforming conflict into opportunities for intimacy and creating a safe space for your partner to express their feelings, develop their skills and be accepted exactly as they are.

Details also on our Wedding Website: www.AnnieAndEben.com

“The difference between love & true love is the difference between a very large number & infinity.”

~John Perry Barlow~

Annie and Eben would like to thank their family & friends for all their continued love and support…

 

Annie’s Family

Vidya Lalla: Thank-you for exemplifying female strength, courage & tenderness.

John Lalla: Thank-you for encouraging my wanton curiosity & quest for knowledge.

Rhea Lalla: Thank-you for reminding me to never apologize for my truth or my needs.

Sacha Lalla: Thank-you for calling me on my shit and seeing my greatness.

Shuan Lalla: Thank-you being brilliant and always going out of your way for me.

 

Eben’s Family

Michael Pagan: Thank-you for inspiring my love of reading, pursuit of understanding & sense of humor.

Rosanne Murranka: Thank-you for raising me “free” – which led me to believe I could change the world.

 

Annie & Eben’s Friends

Without you all being the inspiration and nourishment for our growth, we would never have arrived here: in love –with each other, with our lives and with reality itself.

You are shiny mirrors in which we see the subtle truths we could never otherwise see. Thank-you from the centre of our hearts, for calling forward our greatness, demanding our magnificence and loving us no matter what. We dedicate our relationship to your development and expanding love.

-Heartfully, Annie & Eben

 

 

This is where Annie & Eben first met: Burning Man 2009. We were both here, watching the flames, celebrating the end of one thing and the beginning of another. True Love…it’s the only way to fly.

Download My Love Story PDF