Do you feel any different?
by John Altieri, NIASZIIH practitioner
Gravity and I got married on a September afternoon, surrounded and supported by friends and family. It was an unforgettable ceremony, a truly special gathering of people creating a magical place. The memory of it has a wonderful waking dream-like quality that we carry with us each day.
In the days following the wedding, many people offered their congratulations, often asking, “Do you feel any different?” In some instances this was good-natured teasing; Gravity and I have been together for over nine years, so what could possibly change in a day? What impact could one ceremony have on nine years of momentum? The first few times people asked me this, I answered them without thinking, suggesting not much had changed. But that just isn’t true.
Things really are different. It’s not subtle. After that fall day, that ceremony, this commitment, in front of so many witnesses, I feel a vast shift. How could it be that our life is different now? It actually took years of creating what we didn’t want to start to step into a new place of what we want.
While Gravity and I have stayed together all these years, there were times our relationship would disappear into a fog. We didn’t completely grasp it at the time, but we were the ones creating the fog, the separation. There was a certain level of perceived safety in the separation we created. And at times, this fog defined our relationship. It actually held it together. We could be loners, looking at a partner through fog. We could create fog by getting lost in work or projects. We could clear it by making contact with each other, or by fighting. You may know this place; it can be an uneasy place to live.
I think I preferred the fog because I thought I would lose myself if I showed myself in the relationship. I had this image in my head, “If I get married, I will disappear.” And there are variations of this in my life, “If this, then annihilation.” At some point in my life, this had been useful for self preservation. But that time has long passed. It was time to step away from that. And I would find out if this promise of annihilation was true. Would I disappear?
The truth I’m living now does not bear that image out. While it seems obvious now, I didn’t realize that I was much more invisible living in the fog. It was not much of a place for a relationship--there was little opportunity to be witnessed. Gravity would reach out, and I would often be so mad at her for calling me out. She tried so many things to bring me out, but I kept thinking, “Just let me hide!” What I didn’t realize was that I had staked a claim in an unhealthy amount of uncertainty. It was not the most solid ground to live upon.
Over time, Gravity and I began to actively choose a new story for our relationship. Our new choices, based in our new way of looking at the world, were amplified by the ceremony. It brought us into focus, allowed us to see our new commitment.
As we decided to commit to showing up more fully to our relationship, we knew our sovereignty was important. A commitment to self was key for each of us even though it seems contradictory. “I commit to looking at myself with the eyes of love, knowing myself, and following my vision.” I’m not sure I could have learned to do this without others. Now Gravity and I choose to live this together. It brings a great deal of clarity. If there’s fog, we can know where it’s coming from, and how to move it. I not only am creating my sovereignty myself, but have a beautiful partner to see that person as well.
This new perspective is a gift of the work we did in the company of our healing class, people who were strangers, now family. We spent years with them: Amanda, Mink, Justin, Ben, Zeb, Jen, Ruth, Joannie, Carol, Carleigh, held in support of the teachers at wildernessFusion. They helped breathe life into the ceremony. All of this allowed our new path to become much more real. I feel it rooted in me, and it has changed our pasts, our nows, and our futures.
Our other vows help keep our sovereignties and our union in balance. I commit to seeing you, Gravity, with the eyes of love, without assumption, creating space for you to be your beautiful, shiny self.
Through all of this we have found a new place, for us to be together, as a family. I commit to choosing us, as a family, each day. To approaching our life together with lightness and love and creating a place that is balanced in body, heart, and mind.
Do I feel any different?
I do. Here I am. Here, witnessed by you.