Right this moment, I am sitting on a brown leather couch in Soda Springs, California, wearing pajamas and glasses and cloaked in a mustard-yellow blanket. There is an extremely fluffy multi-colored cat named Roxy watching from her perch on the chair opposite, clearly enjoying the early-morning company, as the rest of the house continues its peaceful slumber.
Four hours from now, against the serene and eternally blue backdrop of Lake Tahoe, two of Bruce's childhood friends will exchange their vows in front of 30 friends and family.
And, while I am absolutely certain this wedding will be a beautiful and joyous occasion that will mark the start of a happy lifelong commitment, sitting here this morning:
I can't help but reflect on weddings in general, and how they fit into the big picture of what it means to live well.
Weddings are thoroughly engineered to be these hyper-perfect moments in our lives: the storybook celebration of love and commitment and romance and magic, a day that will serve as an eternal reference point for the rest of our lives as a couple and family.
What's wild is that people devote countless hours to imagining and designing The Perfect Day; the one that will finally, ultimately, express who we are as a couple and the perfect love that exists between us: the perfect dress, the perfect color palette, the perfect centerpiece, the perfect menu, the perfect soundtrack, the perfect guest list.
And yet, we've all heard of what goes on behind the scenes: the thousands of tiny decisions that make you want to pull your hair out for their meaninglessness; the wedding planner catering to every last ridiculous whim of the Bridezilla, who will later be found hyper-ventilating into a paper bag within her perfectly appointed bridal suite over some imperfectly executed detail.
As with so many other aspects of life, there is the external show of perfection, and the internal experience of anxiety, fear, control, and attachment.
This is the difference between the story you perform for others, and the story you internally experience every day you are alive.
My question is: How do we bring ourselves, internally, authentically, to match the kind of person who can live up to the external story of beauty and bliss? How do we get the inner story to match the outer one?
What would happen if we brought even a THIRD of the care and attention and imagination and focus that we routinely devote to engineering The Perfect Day, and used it instead to consciously design and develop the kind of self that's capable not just of throwing a lovely party, but of building the solid loving partnership that's supposed to come indefinitely after?
I truly believe that there is a huge disservice, to women especially, embedded within this idea of "The Perfect Day." Anyone can put on a beautiful face and throw a beautiful party; exceedingly few will be able to look at the photos twenty or fifty years later and think,
"How lucky I am, that the beauty of that day has permeated all of the days since then."
Isn't that what we wish for most, for ourselves and for others? If there were a way to stack the deck in our favor; wouldn't it be worth a little hard work, a little care and imagination?
Today, I will sit in that intimate crowd of just 30 people and believe with all of my heart that the story I'm watching is one that perfectly matches the one I can't see.
And I hope you will reflect on how YOUR life would change if you could somehow bring your inner and outer stories into alignment, in whatever context applies for you.
Next week, we'll take a look at one possible "how" behind this lofty reflection.
In the meantime, wishing you all the love and all the joy and all the celebration of this special weekend, because -- no matter where you are, or what you're doing -- there is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate.