Saturday, April 12, 2008

WEDDING SHOWERS: Open Your Heart to the Only Things that Really Matters

My daughter's wedding shower was last weekend. She's had the same best friends since junior high school, a real clique, they are all bridesmaids. But, long ago my daughter asked my cousin to give the shower, mostly because this woman knows how to make a great party. And she did.

The best part was the toilet paper wedding dress competition. It was the first game so everyone would get to know each other and be comfortable. We were in groups of four with four rolls of toilet paper each. My group won, by the way. Here's the best part. 

Wrapping, tying, braiding, poofing and bunching the best wedding dress out of toilet paper on my friend, Kat. She stood there with her arms outstretched the whole time, holding very still so it wouldn't rip, while we were all laughing and bobbing around her. If you've never played this toilet paper game, it is really a hoot, and the results were impressive: veils, bouquets, you name it. 

All of our toileted-papered brides were ready to walk down the aisle. They looked good, and after the photo-op we recycled the outfits. My team won because our bride had the biggest and best bouquet, according to the real bride who said it was a tough decision. Very diplomatic of her, I think. 

Anyway, the prize was this bottle of  shower gel that had a small box stuck to it with an ordinary-looking bottle of cologne inside. I didn't even think about how it might smell, I just keep rereading the back of the box.  

It says inner grace with the word 'grace' in bold and a much larger font. 

Below that, the part I like is "to know peace is to know God." It goes on about joy and happiness and mental turmoil until finally it gets to the point: To find peace you must shut off your mind and open your heart to the only thing that matters; the gift of the present moment, it is peace personified. 

Whoever thought that up for art design on the box must have a pretty good yoga practice.

There's a lot of turmoil living in Los Angeles. Just finding a parking spot makes the mind jump all over the place: oh look, that car's pulling out over there. Can I get there before someone else? I'll be late if I don't get that spot...   

Every time I go to yoga, I say to myself that my intention for the 90 minutes, and probably for the rest of my life will be to find myself in the moment, and just be there. Then I get caught up in doing various poses, holding them (and probably my breath), all the time wondering if I'm doing it right, or not. It can get ridiculous with my mind racing around wondering if this pose or that one will make my arms look better in a strapless dress...blahblahblah.

Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with appreciating that an on-going yoga practice makes you look better in your jeans and tank tops, or a strapless dress. We do live in a material world for which I, personally, am very grateful.

But those 20 minutes toilet-papering a wedding dress actually held me in the moment, with friends and family, at peace and with laughter. That's a lot of suspended moments. 

A lot of the rest of the time, I was eating or talking about the pomegranate trees that were in the yard at my daughter's school in third grade, or wondering whether I'd want to be 27 again. It was all fun. It reminded me of a yoga mantra. 

May the whole world be happy and free, and may the thoughts and actions of my life contribute in some way.  

What do you think?