I’ve been on an intentional quest to have the best life I could possibly have. As I look around me, at my family and friends, and within me, at my state of being, it seems like I’m doing a pretty darn good job of it. Still, there are occasionally “off” days – and on those days I often spend some time thinking about a better day and conjuring up the feeling of what THAT day was like. In the process, I get even more well-practiced at feeling good, AND I also get to consider the following questions: What do I consider to be the best days of my life (so far)? What characteristics do they share? How can I have more of them? What does the nature of those days tell me about what I should be doing with my life? I believe that the answers to these questions, combined with nurturing the feeling of an excellent day within you, can keep you on an ever-more-positive path in your own life. It’s the Law of Attraction working for you, bringing more goodness your way the more that you focus on goodness. And when a day isn’t going quite your way, you can summon up the feeling of one of the “best days of your life” to put a totally different spin on whatever’s got you down (see this interesting article on the Joy of Sadness by Steve Pavlina).
The other day I had something of a Eureka! moment. In true Eureka! fashion, this realization occured to me at a totally random time – driving somewhere with my wife, Tonya. We were (I’m sure of it) talking about something totally different, when I suddenly exclaimed, “I get it! I understand why weddings are so powerful!” Toni was all ears, in her I-love-you-husband-mr-non-sequitur kind of way.
I can imagine, so vividly, standing at the hearth (we were married at a Bed and Breakfast in upstate NY), surrounded by some of my best friends in the world, waiting, waiting, waiting for my lovely wife-to-be to appear. I was trembling – with anticipation, with love, with excitement, and I can remember looking out over the people gathered there, who were all looking back at me, expectantly, with smiles on their faces and love in their eyes. I hadn’t even MET some of these people yet (Toni’s extended family members), but we were all there, waiting for the SAME moment. It was quiet, so quiet – and nerve-wracking – I had my best man Jay tell me a joke to help me relax a bit. A perfect laugh as I stood there shaking in my shoes…
Then someone gave the signal, and my best college friend Peter Sharpe started playing the guitar. It was the most beautiful melody in the world, as I remember it, and that was only slightly because of the tune itself – it was primarily because of who was playing it and the intention with which we we all listening to it being played. That music was the sign that it was all finally in motion, and we all watched as each member of the bridal party came out of hiding to usher in the ceremony and my lovely bride.
And then Toni was there, all of a sudden, and it was almost like I had never seen her before. She was radiant, amazing, gorgeous, and the smile on her face was ENORMOUS. I couldn’t help but start crying then (just like I’m crying now, as I write this) – they were truly tears of sheer joy, just love bursting out of me right there for everyone to see. She walked up our short little aisle, with her father at her side (who was also smiling like crazy – thankfully), and then we were there, the two of us, our friend Louis, and everyone gathered to help us make it all official – every single person focused on the same purpose.
The ceremony itself is something of a blur in my mind. We had all of these candles to light – Toni couldn’t make the lighter work, and I couldn’t manage to stop shaking long enough to light anything – so that provided a bit of comic relief as things began (my advice to you – practice everything down to lighting the lighter!). I remember staring into each other’s eyes through tears, I remember Louis’s voice, I remember watching our rings get blessed as they were passed around the room, from friend to friend, I remember that I crushed that wine glass under my foot with the force of a giant (for fear that somehow I wouldn’t manage it).
I remember our kiss, which was so new to me, and I was so glad that I had waited ’til marriage to kiss her.
Ok, I’m kidding about the waiting part. But it was new – they were, after all, my WIFE’S lips! (I’ll spare you the picture.)
And the music – I think it played as we left, as that’s how I hear it in my memory, anyway. The lovely piano of Romeo’s Tune (Steve Forbert), and the words that Toni and I had sung to each other many a night leading up to that moment. Everyone standing, smiling…
Toni and I do share something special between the two of us – even more so now that Dash is around – and the moments where we’re really connecting are indeed some of the best moments of my life. But that day (that whole weekend, really) was all the more special because we were there, all of us, family and friends – and especially in those moments, of the ceremony itself, we were all totally in alignment, of the same mind, of the same purpose. That’s what came to me in my Eureka! moment, the realization of how weddings bring all these separate people together and focus them into a unified moment of collective anticipation, collective love, collective happiness. It’s powerful stuff.
So what are some of the best moments of your life? What makes them so special to you? What does it tell you about what you need more of in your life? Identify those moments, savor them, and keep them handy in case an off day threatens to send you spiraling off in a less-than-positive direction. Because for me, when I spend some time, say, writing about such a wonderful day for me, I can look outside at my deck that needs staining, or the pile of dishes that needs washing, and I can feel the exact same love that I felt on my wedding day. And then the positive feeling grows, just like that!
great to read about your wedding – and thanks for including the photos! You guys look so happy! Thanks too for the Steve Pavlina link – don’t know how many times when happy I’ve thought, boy, this is just like having a good supply of ammo! Seriouslies, I like the computer game analogy, but prefer the sim-game to the shooter game idea – check out http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/science/14tier.html?ei=5070&en=258c7f406ca83387&ex=1188532800&pagewanted=all for an elucidation of this…
What a beautiful entry, Neil. I was almost crying as I read it too. Next time, we’ll be there!
Em – you’re welcome! And that article…well…I’ve been looking over my shoulder all day – much appreciated!
Robyn – next time? Oh, you mean “next time you have a best day of your life” not “next time you get married” —-right?
It IS all about the law of attraction, isn’t it, Neil? It’s the easiest and best way to make all your days almost perfect. (Not just the perfect ones.) If you’re having an off day for whatever reason, you just conjure up the day you want. Soon you’re day will take on the same tempo and beat, because you put it there. I love it.
Great article! I’m digging the blog. Thanks for the mention of the music at the wedding. I assumed you were thinking of other things at that moment, so nice to know you appreciated it!