Thursday – 3rd March 2011
Wow what a day! As I mentioned yesterday, today is Zoe and Gaurav’s Promise Ceremony Day. In short what is meant by this is it is the Indian equivalent of our engagement process where each person is promising to be a lifelong partner with each other. Of central importance is that the families of the “bride and groom” accept the new daughter/son into their families.
What happens is Gaurav’s family has the priest come and preside over the occasion. He has already been consulted and he has chosen this time as an auspicious day and time for the ceremony – this is chosen according to astrology – and incidentally he does this for all significant ceremonies that happen. He says lots of prayers in Sanskrit which includes lots of blessings of Gaurav and Shelton and I as Zoe’s parents and Zoe and Gaurav’s parents.
There is much blessing of the union of the two families and the priest uses flowers which are mainly marigold petals, fruit, sweets and other items as he says his prayers. The main focus of the prayers is blessing the relationship and giving thanks to the gods that they have found each other and blessing the bond as a new beginning and calling on all the gods of the universe to bestow prosperity, happiness, good fortune, success, wishes that life will be sweet and all that is good and that they are starting with the right foundations… and blessings for a long-lived togetherness…Part of the ritual is tying some strands of wool around our wrists to invoke protection which one wears till they wear through….
Question for you: what family values are supporting the longevity and protection of your primary relationship?
Interestingly the betrothed don’t actually say anything to each other or even sit with each other during the ceremony. There was a real sense of 2 families joining together and accepting the new child into their family and the responsibilities of that – which very much included the extended family. Its importance to the family was obviously very strong as Gaurav’s sister and brother-in-law took the day off work to be there. At the completion of the ceremony led by the priest the 2 families exchange gifts and money in envelopes which is worked out according to a precise formula. There is an amount we give to Gaurav, Gaurav’s parents, his brother and sister, their partners and his sisters 2 children who are 18 months and 6 years old. Gaurav’s family also gave gifts and money to Shelton and I and to Zoe’s sister.
Question for you: what promises have you made to be a certain kind of partner/parent/friend that you need to revisit and review?
As I reflect on this experience many things stands out for me. Four are central.
Firstly, how touched I was to see my daughter so happy and for her to have a partner who loves her deeply and is making a life-time commitment to look after her and care for her well-being and happiness.
It’s hard to describe the feeling for me but as a parent it feels like another milestone has been achieved. Maybe parents need to have more of a “handing over” ritual or ceremony to their sons or daughter in-laws. I’m sure the Indian culture has something for this…..
Secondly, how important family is and how being in this experience where family is paramount has reinforced for me how family and extended family is a primary value for me.
Thirdly is the importance and beauty and sacredness of ritual and ceremony. The feeling was that the rituals strengthened their commitment and there was even a feeling that it deepened their love for each other. Extraordinary! I think this is an aspect that we in Australia need to explore…..
Fourthly, it is a beautiful reminder of how different is the world that each and every partner comes from and what is “normal” and thus unconscious behaviour for each. It is a big reminder that we all need to be constantly crossing the bridge into the world of the other, being curious and respectful and with an open mind and heart and having an attitude to understand and validate the other while letting ourselves be genuinely influenced by the other.
As well as using the TOOLS of: having curiosity, crossing the bridge, creating a ZNZ (Zero Negativity Zone), remembering the big A in our life is Attitude, I am also reminded of Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit – The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Seek First to Understand, then to be understood….
Question for you: Where in your life do you need to seek to understand and let yourself be influenced by someone important to you?
Question for you: What do you find hardest at the moment in crossing the bridge to visit the world of another?
May your day be joyous and may you feel protected and cared for by those who love you…. I think about you reading my sharings and I am grateful and send you my love….Susie
“Everything has to do with loving or not loving”…. Rumi.