January 20, 2013

{The Wedding Spotlight} Part Two

[The following is part two of a two-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride...from a section called "Loving the Skin We're In"enjoy!]

One of the “mantras” I shared with brides in my former shop, as a reminder to really pay attention during their quintessential rite-of-passage, was something like: “However you 'be' while planning your wedding is how you’ll ‘be’ in your marriage.” And years later when I read the expression, “how you do anything is how you do everything,” it seemed the experts agreed with me!

Working with countless brides through the years, I encouraged a woman to use her time in the bridal spotlight to look inside, find and be guided by her inner voice; to love her body just the way it is; to ask for what she needed and don’t be afraid to make “unreasonable” requests in support of her well-being; and, if possible, find someone who is a wise listener she can talk to about anything. (Many bridal shopkeepers become that “good listener” and sympathetic ear for a bride’s concerns and life stories.) The inner-process of a bridal rite-of-passage—which can be a very intuitively expansive feeling—is the perfect time to deepen relationships with family and friends while hearts are already open. It’s the perfect time to complete any withheld communications, to say the “hard stuff” with love, to heal old hurts and wounds, and especially to practice forgiveness.

After their wedding and once they’d become part of a married couple, many women reported back to me about what they had noticed. By staying focused on their relationship during the wedding planning hustle and bustle, it was easier to notice what was in the way of making a deeper connection in their marriage. Long after the wedding day is over, when the day-to-day routine replaces the spotlight, looking inside makes a difference.

Even though Diana didn’t seem to have a reflective practice at this stressful yet expectant time of her young life, I believe that something was guiding her, moving her into a divinely destined future where she would be calling attention to the importance of where women placed their attention. Looking back at that time, her life brings up queries not only for brides, but for all women. When women attend to things important to their hearts, something changes immediately. When Diana put attention on her jealousy and upsets, she made herself sick. When she put attention on where her heart led, she felt more at peace, on purpose, and she lit up the world. ~

[Upcoming post....another book excerpt from The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride called "Who's Inside the Dress"....]

[Photographs: top by Julie Mikos; middle from Martha Stewart]

January 6, 2013

{The Wedding Spotlight} Part One

[The following is part one of a two-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride...from a section called "Loving the Skin We're In"enjoy!]

Years after her wedding, Princess Diana looked back on her time as a bride in the blinding spotlight—when she was just barely twenty years old—as being confused, dazed, frightened, extremely tired, unwell, and without a foundation to help handle the trying situations and self-doubt. Nor, it seems, did she have anyone to talk to about it all. Whether it was concerns about marriage and fidelity or not receiving enough attention from her groom; whether it was the focus on her appearance or confusion over what outfits were appropriate in her new role; whether it was being dazzled by the glittering pageantry of being a princess bride or all the attention the media put on her clothes and image; whatever combination of circumstances, there were telling signs of her distress as chronic bulimia set in.

“Diana, like many nervous brides,” explained her wedding gown designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel in A Dress for Diana, “must have lost about a stone and a half in weight [over twenty pounds] during the run-up to the wedding, so we made lots of toiles [mock ups of the dress in muslin], each a bodice size smaller.” Or as biographer Andrew Morton described it: “Weight simply dropped off, her waist shrinking from 29 inches when the engagement was announced down to 23 ½ inches on her wedding day.”

Diana’s control issues and manipulative nature carried over to her body. We learned years later about the severity of Diana’s health concerns with bulimia—caused by the kind of problems that start early and go deep. Obviously most brides don’t have to deal with such serious extremes. (Although, fueled by an obsession about appearance, we hear of brides on severe pre-wedding diets that have little regard for overall health and well-being.) Of course “loving your body” is not only a dilemma of stressed-out brides but such issues tend to get magnified around weddings. Through observing brides in my former shop, I found when they focused obsessively on appearance or the fluff and froth of their wedding that it could be a cover-up for deeper issues needing to be addressed. Issues like pretending that this step (into marriage or into marriage with this person) was right for them.

As Princess Diana later reported about her feelings on her wedding day, she may indeed have had doubts whether or not she was doing the right thing; she may have felt insecure, even jealous; she may have been searching for her future husband’s close friend Camilla Parker Bowles in the pews as she walked down the aisle; she may have been feeling ill from a lack of sleep, from her crying bouts, and from her secret bulimia attacks. And she may have hidden all of this from the cameras and the world—or not. Do we ever really hide what our heart calls forth? ~

[This is part one of a two-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride...from a section called "Loving the Skin We're In." Part Two posted soon!]