When someone asks you if you want to be the one to “marry” them, its definitely an unexpected surprise. Well, unless your regular job includes standing in front of pews and waxing religion on the regular.
Mine, sure enough, does not however so I was astonished when I was asked and felt like it was the icing to my professional “portfolio” cake! I’ve been blessed to be present for transformative healing work via massage and bodywork, as a birth-doula, and even assisting as much as I could to comfort terminal illness. Yet, no wedding ceremonies…
Mind you, I’ve been a member of 7 different wedding parties and dreamed of my own wedding for as long as I can remember, yet I haven’t been gifted that opportunity.
But being asked to stand in front of 80ish people, and be the voice of a ceremony, captured in hearts forever, definitely felt a little scary.
I’ve had a history of shutting my voice down, or e x t r e m e l y amplifying it when highly emotional. I’ve played large roles in ruining relationships because of this. Pay no mind to the abandonment issues behind the curtain as well here folks. 😉
But when Neva, a beloved client of a few years, asked ME of all people to stand before her, her fiancé and their family to serve as the officiant of their wedding I could not say no, regardless of personal fears. My heart was ecstatic with the joy of being a part of her ceremony and serving her heart and love somehow.
Neva is a fire-cracker of a human being. She loves fearlessly and uses her life as a vessel of change for the world. In the time that I’ve known her she’s touched countless children’s and people’s lives with the non-profit work she tirelessly works towards.
As most of my clients are encouraged to do, she picked up a yoga practice to support her sessions with me, and her needs for health and vitality in order to maintain her fervent life of servitude. I, of course, suggested she go to Sage Yoga & Wellness as it was my favorite studio in Boise– even before I started working there myself. Once I transitioned to working at Sage, one of my most favorite aspects of being there were the fleeting smiles and hugs from her as she rushed to or fro her noon-time class.
As I stood at the front of the group, my heart was pounding yet, a heavy sensation of presence laid upon my body and calmed me. I was deeply grounded in the spirit of the beautiful landscape, Hansen Guest Ranch in Swan Valley, ID. The guests were radiant and they calmed me with their individual allure, sitting in rows amongst golden dry grass, with a gorgeous low-lying sun, kissing the glory of a father walking his daughter down the aisle. Her smile, from ear-to-ear, and head-bobbing between looking up to see it all and shying away, in her emotion and tears.
I was surprised by the tears welling up inside of me! I thought to myself: ‘No, no… NEVA is supposed to be the gusher… not you!! Get yourself in check Heidi!’ Instantly I stuffed my tears and emotions and remembered my purpose there that day… to hold space and speak clearly.
I was so nervous. I have a long-standing fear (and joy) of sharing my passions in front of a group, especially when it involves speaking. I have been tirelessly trying to shed this fear, signing myself up for opportunities left and right that push me outside of my comfort zone. Which I knew being the officiant would do, yet I also knew the level of my own failure at this, in my past attempts- a shaky frail voice, scattered thoughts and ramblings, and a huge ball of ‘what a loser!’ thoughts that take over my head and heart.
That day when I practiced with the wedding party, parts of that self showed up. My voice wobbled. I messed up the words- big time, calling Swan Valley Sun Valley and in general got confused about the ceremony’s flow. A part of me wanted to cry, but the big ball of “what a loser!” was too big to let the tears come through.
My son was with my boyfriend and I for the weekend, he was being a super-duper-hell-fire-toddler. Which is what sitting in a car for hours on end, with no naps, and a lack of sleep will do. This played to my benefit when I took a solo-trip in the truck to try to coax him to sleep. With a few minutes alone with my thoughts, I knew it was my chance to get rid of my big ball of lame and reclaim my power. I thought.. ‘Hmmm, what could I do to strengthen my voice?’ Immediately spirit claimed: CHANT! ‘Oh yes, the chakra seed sounds. I’ll chant to strengthen my throat… plus this used to always put Lucas to sleep!’
I began Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Om’ing in style. Over and over. Feeling the ball of ick and simultaneously feeling my light, and doing my best to diffuse the ball of ick and reclaim that portion of my body. The vibration of the mantra, both in meaning and its sound took over and dusted all the little remnants of ‘ick’ out of me! I felt like myself again! It was great.
I knew I wasn’t quite done yet. I now had my body back, but I needed to start the process of calling in my spiritual entourage for support. Ganesha showed up first, as he often likes to do, to help me create a safe and strong transition into my potential-loaded moments as the officiant. I chanted to Ganesha and felt his masculine protection and knew through my experiences and faith that his energy would show itself.
As I fueled up the truck on the way back to our lil’ Sleepy J Cabin, I prayed. I called upon the rest of my multi-denominational crew and felt even more nourishment… yet a little too much nervous excitement, and just wanted to get it started and over with.
When I got back to the cabin, my boyfriend helped me and reminded me that it was about Neva and Dave and just to keep that in mind when I’m speaking. Which did help me focus on my intension of why I was doing it in the first place.
Yet as I stood up in front of the guests, watching Neva and her father walk down the aisle, next to Dave and his beautiful children serving as best man and maid of honor, I knew I had the heart to hold the space of the ceremonial words and love for the entire group. I wanted to be heard by everyone there. I wanted to represent Neva, Dave, and family and reflect the awesomeness of every person that was there, back to themselves.
The level of pride, honor, or ungodly emotion that I was feeling just made my lil’ self-critic, doubting voice disappear. I was in the presence of Godliness and I was about to let my Goddess shine.
Still, I did not know this at the time. I felt it, but wasn’t until retrospect set in, that I could even put words to it.
I loved standing up there, seeing the details of the clothing and expression in the bride and grooms faces. Looking around and seeing the eyes of the familiar and newly acquainted faces that offered their presence to me. I loved the message of the ceremonial vows that Neva, Dave, and I co-created. I loved seeing the love and innocence of the children looking up at the parents of this newly forming family, their gestures of love in hugs and hand holding.
I loved that Neva and Dave really wanted to honor their guests and how I ended up weaving it into such a large part of the ceremony. I loved that we all focused our attention and hearts towards the Metta prayer. I again, felt, the power of this group and my body turned ancient. My legs, my body, my being, solid as stone.
After the ceremony, I enjoyed waiting and walking out with the guests. And another one of my long time beloved clients was in the audience and helped me carry the stones that acted as the altar space at the head of the ceremony. Before I could even make back to drop off the stones and join the rest of the wedding party, I was stopped and told by a guest that she was deeply moved in the ceremony and it was very special in many ways to her. I could see it in her eyes and feel it in her as well. It sounds cliché, but I truly could see my inner godliness shining back at me through her eyes. The experience of Namasté. 🙂 (Side note, this guest had traveled from Tokyo just to be there. What love!)
When I joined the wedding party, near the outdoor bar area for a toast, two magnificent bald eagles flew within 20-30 feet of us, slowly encircling us and some trees in the grove. I was literally ecstatic and the moment I saw them, I grabbed Neva’s shoulder so she too would see them right away.
Bald Eagles represent very high spirit energy, truly the highest in the region of Americas we call home. I took it as a sign from my spiritual entourage that it was a job well done, gratitude for us to pay homage to & empower the Metta prayer, and proof of the presences of the mother and father that have passed, between both bride and groom.
Little did anyone, or does anyone that was present know, this event reclaimed my life in ways that I don’t even understand fully. In the past 2-3 weeks, I did a hypnotherapy session to release unconscious pain and suffering embedded within my body and through this, connected to an experience that I’d always intuited… that of me being hung for witchcraft in a former life. Once a witch always a witch… 😉 Now, and I assume then, I always use my magic to bring love, light, and healing into the world for the benefit of all of its creatures.
In my prep for serving this ceremonial space that day, the image of the wound area and the turquoise and pink light that healed me returned yet again. But this time, to remind me that it is the newly embedded “story” within my throat and heart-space.
Besides the birth of my son, I can easily say that serving in Neva’s ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done with this lil’ ol’ life known as Heidi J.
Thank you for reading and blessings to you and yours~*
May all beings: have fresh clean water to drink, have food to eat, have someone to share love with, have a home, find their true purpose, be well and happy, and be free of suffering.