January 2, 2013

Taking Out the Garbage After the Wedding. ~ Grace Bell

Photo: María

Two days ago I got married.

Some very interesting moments in life are the days after a huge celebration or big event (like a wedding!) that marks some occasion in a human life. Graduations, birthday parties, funerals, retirement celebrations, housewarmings, promotions, births…

Human beings love to connect, gather and create time together to announce or claim a change, to see each other in person, to express appreciation. We have done this for thousands of years in thousands of traditions.

It seems we love to express ourselves and be witnessed. There is something beautiful about gathering. It is fun.

All that happens consists of words, music, sound, body language, colors, movement and communication. The sound goes out into the air, and disappears.

People show up and address the entire group, or only speak to their neighbor, or are silent but physically present. People gather at the appointed hour. Then they disappear, too.

One moment is full of people and sound and laughter, or crying, or talking…another moment is full of only a quiet living room with sun breaking through a window and furniture all about, and a computer screen.

Everything that happens changes and shifts into something else.

There are plans, and dates, and ideas; there are visions created. Then the date comes and the visions are realized in form; then there is more.

Yesterday, the day after my wedding, I walked from room to room in a big empty lodge that used to be full of people, with a huge black plastic garbage bag over my shoulder, and collected things that, according to me, belonged in the bag.

Taking out the garbage, I thought: This is also celebration. I fill the bag, I walk to the dumpster, I see trees and gravel. I see a little frog hopping, then pausing. I watch the frog for a while. My daughter comes, and then gets her camera to take a picture.

Just like pictures taken at the wedding.

Everything fills, and then empties, like the tides. Sometimes things are very full, sometimes very empty.

There I was, in a celebration that for decades has been called a wedding, and it was very “full,” if seen in light of the people, food, colors, art, love, hugs, kisses, smiles, voices and music.

In the show called a “wedding,” two people are present. Although there isn’t always a bride, in this one there was, and I played that role.

We love theater! Stories! Feeling! Seeing! Thinking! Talking! Singing! Watching!

How fun! The gathering up of all the movement and people and all that was present, including sun, eagles, breeze and sky…all of this was a dance! No purpose but to express!

How incredible that ultimately there is no purpose for a gathering of people come together to mark an occasion except to express.

We all witness together in any gathering, whether there is one person or two or a handful or a crowd, and yet everyone sees something a little different, everyone takes something unique, everyone offers something just by being themselves.

Nothing more.

And now, alone the day after with the bag of garbage, this is also part of the dance…how could it not be? The dance continues.

Taking out the garbage is just as fascinating in so many ways as the actual wedding. Very different, but fascinating all the same.

“There is only one rule
On this Wild Playground….

‘Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved’s Divine

O, in the Beloved’s
Wonderful Game.”

~ Hafiz

I watch and notice. I am taking out the garbage. What do I think is not fun about that…if and when I think it’s not fun?

That is the place for inquiry into this present moment. Garbage here now.

How can this be as beautiful as the day before? How is this also a celebration?

Because it is.


Hafiz poems and excerpts are from Daniel Ladinsky’s Penguin publications The Gift, Poems by Hafiz © copyright 1999, and I Heard God Laughing, Poems of Hope and Joy © copyright 1996 & 2006. Reprinted by permission of the author.


Grace Bell, MA, has healed from very troubled experiences and changed the course of her life by questioning her thinking with self-inquiry, especially The Work of Byron Katie. She has healed her life by changing her beliefs about her experiences of divorce, cancer, a violent relationship with food and eating, scarcity with money, underemployment and depression and enormous stress on a daily basis. She facilitates many individuals, groups and teleclasses with people all over the world, so that everyone can learn to be free and experience peace, no matter what. Grace is found at www.workwithgrace.com.


Editor: Jayleigh Lewis

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