June 23rd 2013

Our Coming Together

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We met in the context of zen retreat and became fast friends, sitting long hours in the zendo and then laughing hysterically on breaks while goofing around.  I think we were both always struck by the feeling of each others' hearts.  We've been gifted this unique community of friends and a beloved friend and teacher, Diane Hamilton, with whom to play and deepen in the rich textures of this being human.  After being friends awhile, and once we were both single :), Rob asked me to coffee.  "My heart is moving toward you completely, and it's not going to stop," he said.  "This feels inevitable, but right now I'm a free bird..." I said, clutching my "independence," while also knowing this was the man I'd marry.  Two weeks later a letter from Rob cracked me open.  I remember the words "What do you want Brooke Gessay?" and tears streaming down my face, a whole-body answer coursing through me:  You.  This.

A year and a half later, and we've been blessed beyond belief.  Together we've seen countless ordinary, extraordinary conversations, lots of laughter and many tears, deep zen and Integral practice and retreats, Rob's authoring of two (!) books, my co-creation of a duet performance, Choose One, with Lauren Beale, my brother's marriage, our nephew's birth, the death of our beloved friend and Dharma brother, James Yakusan Baye, and recently, our ordination as zen monks, by Diane Musho Hamilton, Sensei and together with the Two Arrows Zen Sangha.  We live right next to open space in beautiful North Boulder, across the street from Rob's sister, brother-in-law and two nephews.  It's snowy outside, and we can see the pure blue sky over foothills out our window from where we are sitting together on this couch.

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Our dance of relationship is a living question of deep union and pristine autonomy, one-yet-two.  We know each other so well - our quirks, gifts, and faults - and yet remain a complete mystery to one another, a source of endless tenderness and awe.  We are bound in service and love to this dance, to each other, and to the world.  May our marriage be an offering to the greatest good, whatever that may be, and the awakening and wellness of all beings.  

"The Wedding Vow"
by Sharon Olds: 

And yet, I had been working toward this love
all my life.  And then it was time
to speak - he was offering me, no matter
what, his life.  That is all I had to
do, there, to accept that gift
I had longed for - to say I had accepted it, 
as if being asked if I breathed.  Do I take?
I do.  I take as he takes - we have been 
practicing this.  Do you bear this pleasure?  I do.