I proposed yesterday. It was a surprise, for Michelle, timing-wise, though we believe in open conversation around big life decisions. So as we walked across the long lawn beneath the towering, snow-painted Flatiron mountains, she had no idea what was about to happen…
Watch me get engaged!
Now, with video! Thank you so much to Ryan for filming. And helping me find the spot. And helping me look at rings.
Want to read the rest of the below excerpt? Click here:
“…You don’t say those “could be it” thoughts outloud, so early, but there was an ease to being with her, living with her, communicating with her, cuddling with her, biking and walking and eating and laughing with her. That ease was different than infatuation—it was, and is, the ease borne of a lifetime practicing open communication, grounding ourselves in the present moment, and having our values and personalities match like legos—different, yet fitting.
A year later, I’m grateful. I’m [spoiler alert] planning to possibly propose to her next week, when we go to the mountains, for a long overdue trip to my ancestral home and the hot springs (and she’ll snowboard, while I try and fall, not having grown up doing that skiing stuff, we could barely afford rice sometimes).
It’s an open secret, really—I’m a big believer, as I hope you are or will be, and our culture will be, in open communication around important life decisions. Do you want children? Do you want to marry me? Do you feel x or y about living here or moving there or…etc. Be open about it. You can find the surprise and romance around the edges, as I will (she doesn’t know when it will happen, though she has a good idea).
In any case, it’s been a long journey of being alone, and dating, and mostly being alone, and working, and waiting, it felt like, for her. She’s here. I wrote a whole book about waiting for a relationship such as this—one with air in it, one with open communication, one with humor and silly dancing and tough conversations, sometimes, and making love and cooking and cuddling and all the Things I would like to do with Michelle.” …read the full article here.
Article coming from Michelle, soon, check back! Will be linked here.
Thank you everyone who helped make this happen—and keep it secret from her! And thank you to Zeal for the non-alcoholic Hot Toddies (don’t worry, dear friends brought scotch and organic vegan ethical local champagne for us, but I’m also a fan of warming folks up after an hour in the cold and folks were driving) we needed ’em!
So I’ll write more when I’ve had a rest, but: I met Michelle a year ago. Some of that story is here.
Today being our one-year, pandemic-compressed anniversary… [more later]
A sketch of the plan I sent to a few close friends who helped to organize:
Here’s the pro photos via Timmy, our old Elephant Magazine photographer!
Now, with Michelle! English:
We walked across the lawn…somehow, she suspected nothing:
The ring was antique, from 1908. And took quite a Goldilocks-like story to find an ethical, crafted, quality ring. Michelle loves sapphire, and I wanted something super-ethical, and well-crafted, so antique quickly became something I looked for.
The ring I finally settled on, not for, combined my love of warmth—yellow gold—ethics, and craft—antique, with the gold carefully folded over and over itself, again and again, strengthened like a samurai sword, shaped by hand…not molded or set as are modern rings, and sapphire, which Michelle loves, with diamonds and platinum.
Our Edwardian, century-plus-old engagement ring was from Hernan, via Etsy (which offsets carbon emissions via shipping) who spent hours with me on the phone talking over my many questions as I learned more and more, and also helped me resize the ring and choose an antique ring box, where I got to express my love for warm, rich, bright, bold, regal colors—maroon, white, and gold, in this case. I also would love to express our thanks to Classic Facets, where I hope to get our wedding rings, and Gypsy Jewel, Todd Reed, and Angie Star, locally, for their role in our journey of education and learning.
There was a zoom just about immediately after the proposal with friends and family from around the world:
But Michelle’s mom, Magdalena, and family and dear friends wanted to warm up and get food, so they went for food, and I hustled forth to say hello to them (didn’t want to tell them not to, since we were all cold and hungry, but also I was the zoom host and needed to make sure the video worked, luckily Lindsey or someone started the call) and back to get on the zoom call…five minutes late, as per usual:
From my book, Things, written 6 years ago, a few quotes, plus favorite quotes I included in the book:
“When I fall in love, truly, our love will help one another to face outward, not merely inward.
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but
make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea
between the shores of your souls.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I am not afraid of anything but filling your space. You need and deserve that and I would not like to be a part of anything other than love in your life. And as you and I both know, in our bones, in our blood, in our mindstream, in our calm moments…love is made up of space just as the earth is made up of water.
I would like to communicate with you about difficult things.
Love can survive fear only if acknowledged.
Things are not easy, always. A love affair is not imagination. It is the vicissitudes of daily life. It is two lifestreams intermingling. It is heavy silence with nothing to say. It is inadvertently making big deals about small nothings. I would like to hear you give voice in the hard times—then I can know this is a river of true love, and not merely a shallow standing pool.
Love is not fantasy, it is bricks and mortar. Relationship is earth. Love is fantasy, too. It is heaven: dreams and hormones and the pleasure in biology and sudden laughter. It is the rub between the two that creates sparks: earth striking against heaven.
It is communication that is water that cools those sparks, and gets us through the fear of loss, the difficult times, the simple arguments over dishes or the serious arguments over ethics…”
“I know what love is and it is friendship, set afire.
The kind of love I’ve been brought up to look for isn’t a lifelong picnic. It’s a partnership, with loneliness built in.
In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another (Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show, they just tell), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:
Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.
Society’s notion of matrimonial love is what’s selfish. I know a lot of folks who do good for the world…until they have a wife, husband, children…and suddenly they have an unarguable excuse to forget this whole holy fucked up wonderful world that is crying, dying, begging, pleading and needing our help.
So I say this: I don’t just want to love a woman who loves me. That’s a good start: half the battle.
But the whole battle—love is war—is if she looks at me and says, “go free, do your thing, and in return I want to be able to go free, and do my thing, and your thing and my thing may be totally different, you might travel, I might travel, you might want to work instead of having dinner and I might want to work instead of having dinner…”
When I find a girl who loves what the whole point of life is…
“And while I’m here I’ll do the work. And what’s the work? To ease the pain of living — everything else, drunken dumbshow” – Allen Ginsberg
…more than our marriage, well I’m ready to get married.