Annie & Eben’s
“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
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.