Tag Archives: selflove

Selfmarriage – Big fat wedding or private ceremony?

A self-marriage is a very private inward process, so having a private ceremony makes sense. At the same time it feels like something I would like to share and celebrate with my family, friends and others as my witness. Sometimes I introduce myself as an introvert with exhibitionist tendencies 😉 so, I decided to do both, something private and something public.

On sunday March 12th, I woke up early and it was one of those early sunny springdays in the Netherlands, that make your heart jump with joy. It felt like the right day for my private ceremony. Also it was a full moon day that added that little extra special to it.

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I took a long shower and put on a little white dress that I had bought last minute on Ibiza the day before. I wore something old (my underware ;-)), something new (my dress and necklace), something borrowed (my earrings and the white flower in my hear – thank you Luna) and something blue (I polished 1 nail blue). I played music and danced, feeling very happy. Then around 11 o’clock I went outside to find a nice spot in the sun, under an old plumtree with my ring in my hand. I got married to myself at 11.11h saying YES to Life, Love and Myself, while putting on my ring. Then I opened up the champagne and celebrated dancing just by myself. It was beautiful.

Three months ago, when this idea came up, I saw an invitation from Parktheatre Eindhoven for speakers during the Dutch Happiness Week (13-17 March 2017). I applied in december with my selfmarriage idea, saying that I wasn’t sure how this experiment was going to end, but that I would like to share my journey and insights. They agreed and said I was welcome. So I invited my family and friends to come to this event, that was also open for others to attend. The local newspaper got hold of my story and published an article about it.

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Thursday March 16th Parktheatre. Because of the Dutch Happiness Week my selfmarriage event was open to the public, so besides my invited family and friends there were about 30% guests that I didn’t know, around 50 people in total.

I shared my three month journey towards my self-marriage and my insights along the way. My weddingvows are a summary of my insights that I fitted into the acronym LIEFDE (which is the dutch word for LOVE). My promise is;

Listen to my body, because my body knows

Invest quality time in myself and my relationships

Emotions (all of them!) are welcome

Focus on the positive (unless something negative calls for serious attention) and Focus on the Now

Dare to be different, to be myself and to show myself

Energy is everything! (I take responsability for my own energy and uplift energy of others where I can)

My (almost 8 year old) daughter Luna wanted to ask me some questions in front of the audience, that she prepared herself without me knowing what they were. She asked me How I felt after I married myself, Why I married myself and How I did it. Great questions!

Finally I asked the audience to think of one thing that if they were to marry themselves, what promise they would want to make to themselves and to write this down on a card to take home.

Then we popped some bottles of champagne and toasted on life, love and ourselves. It felt really heartwarming to receive so many smiles, congratulations and feedback that my story had touched their hearts and made them think about their own lives.


In the evening I took my family and boyfriend out for dinner. My parents gave me a special weddingpresent, a golden necklace from my mother. What a wonderful gesture of love ❤.

I couldn’t think of a better, more perfect way to finish this three month sabbatical playful learning journey. Monday back to work, feeling whole and happy.

Lots of Love

Annemarie

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Selfmarriage – dance with my shadowside

A funny thing happened on my morning walk a few weeks ago. It was a cold and sunny winterday in the Netherlands. At one moment the img_3664sun was behind me and I was walking along my own shadow for at least 1o minutes, the stream of water seeming to separate us into two. I waved at myself. Even tried some shadowy dancemoves and taking shadow selfies :-).

An #insight came to me. If I want to marry myself, I need to invite and welcome my shadowside as well. What I see as my shadowside are the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that I have put away into my subconscious, pretending not to be there. At some point in my (early) life, I have decided these thoughts, feelings and behaviors were not ok, and thus I was not ok unless I burried them deep. It is probably why so many people feel they’re not good enough. How can you believe you’re worthy and good enough if you hide parts of yourself out of fear, shame or guilt…

Shadowwork is about inviting your shadows to come out of the dark into your awareness and welcome them with your presence. Not an easy thing to do, because it can feel overwhelming and very vulnerable. I totally get my ego now, trying to ‘safe’ me by pulling me away from these strong emotions.  A thought that helps me is; nothing will come up unless I’m ready and able to deal with it. Although at times it felt like I almost died, I’m still here, alive and kicking. Maybe aspects of me actually did die. The ones that serve me no longer. What remains is a feeling of trust that I can be there for myself, even if things feel very painful. I know now that these strong ‘negative’ feelings will not kill me but flow through me like waves and make place for positive feelings once I allow and accept them fully.

I am a believer in the Law of Attraction (that which you focus your attention on grows), so I’ve always tried to keep a positive focus. That works very well, unless you’re using this positive focus to avoid something negative, because then it will only (subconsciously) fuel the negativity that you resist. And that will eventually show up in all kinds of ‘unwanted’ life circomstances. Untill you finally get it.

It was funny to realize that deeply connecting to myself resulted in deep existential feelings of loneliness. At least I understand now why I have a fear and a longing for connecting at the same time.

I also understand now, that; If we place the light outside of ourselves, in others, in circomstances to make us happy, to make us feel whole..our shadowside will silently walk with us. The moment this other person or the circumstance doesn’t give us what we want from them, our shadow starts to scream with pain, disguised in all kinds of weird behavior (anger, withdrawal, victimhood, selfhate).

The good news is; when we decide to turn inward and look at our own shadow(s) and accept them, that we put our own light on them and they will dissolve.

I’m a work in progress and that’s ok. Learning to dance with my shadows.img_3663

playfully yours,

Annemarie

 

Selfmarriage – Who’s marrying whom?

In my last post about the proposal, I stumbled upon the question: Who’s marrying whom in a selfmarriage? In my case there are several options;

zelfliefde-spiegelIs Hanneke getting married to Annemarie?

At birth, my parents gave me two names, Hanneke and Annemarie, with the intention of using the first Hanneke as my callingname. However, my mother thought a few days after I was born, that Annemarie suited me better and started naming me Annemarie. My father, not very good at adaptability, stayed with naming me Hanneke. And so I grew up having two callingnames. Annemarie for my mothers side of the family and at school and sports that she subscribed me to. Hanneke for my fathers side of the family and at tennis, which was my fathers favorite sports. Whenever we had visitors to our house, I introduced myself either as Hanneke, if they were acquintances from my father, or as Annemarie, if I sensed a link to my mother. If it was unclear to me who these new people were and how they were connected to my parents, I said “my name is Hanneke Annemarie, you may choose.” Since more people knew me by the name of Annemarie, I would pick up the phone with “Annemarie” and sometimes it happened that I was asked if “Hanneke” was there? I waited a few seconds and responded with “Hello, it’s Hanneke”. So marrying myself and integrating these two personalities might be a good choice. Maybe even with a new name.

Is my Adult Self marrying my Inner Child?

I’m 45 years old, a mother of a 7 year old daughter, owner of a house, a car, a camper and many memories, having created great work as a selfemployed speaker and trainer and being financially independent, so you could say I’m a grown-up woman. Like anyone else, I carry a little inner child in me. This little one communicates with emotion, but has learned that these emotions were not always appreciated, validated or understood in early childhood. So my little one is very shy and doesn’t feel safe to express emotions openly. What I have learned is that by suppressing what we call negative emotions, like anger, sadness, lonelyness, etc. you also suppress the good ones like love, joy and connectedness.

When I reconnected with my inner child about 14 years ago, I rediscovered my playful side and the power of play in this process. What I didn’t realize back then is that I only invited the fun and playful little one, but didn’t know how to deal with the sad one. Since I’m a mother myself, I got better at that. I’m taking time and space to feel more and to welcome all emotions, however painful. I learned that they come and go like waves when you sit with them. But when you turn your back and try to ignore, suppress or to belittle them, they eventually come back as a tsunami. So me and my little me are definately an important duo for the rest of my life. Marrying a child however doesn’t feel ok. A child doesn’t need a spouse, but a safe and loving space to grow.

feminin-masculinIs my Feminin side marrying my Masculin side?

Somehow I always felt a bit more in touch with my masculin side than my feminin side. Choosing jeans over dresses and monkeys over dolls and sports over make-up. I’m a very practical, goal and solutionfocussed person. I feel more comfortable talking with men (as long as they don’t show any sexual interest) than with women. Also here, a lot has changed for me since becoming a mother. I’ve become more relaxed and allowing for things to emerge, rather than pushing and working hard to achieve my goals. I think all humans have both sides in them and it’s good to develop and know both. Marrying (integrating) these two sides into a loving relationship of growth could be interesting. It makes me curious about the (brain-)childs it will bring forward…

Is my Ego-self marrying my Higher-self?

My ego-self doesn’t believe in unconditional love. It is calculating where I am on the emotional bankaccount with others and makes sure I keep the balance ok. My ego-self likes to be liked by others, so it checks my facebookposts for likes on a regular basis. Also my ego-self is very good at adapting my behaviour to any kind of environment, like a chameleon, to fit in easily. My ego-self doesn’t like pain, conflict and vulnerability, so it tries to distract me by looking for short shots of feelgood emotions. My ego-self is a high achiever and not easy to satisfy. There is no good enough, because there is always room for improvement. My ego-self doesn’t like the idea of self-marriage because it fears I make a total fool out of myself. On the other side, my ego-self loves it when my actions bring me positive attention and the idea of having some sort of impact on the lives of others. My higher-self doesn’t really care about what I do and what others might think of it. It is patient and loving and without judgement. I do believe my higher-self has some sort of intention of what it would like to experience (in this life). When I’m taking actions in allignment with this intention they feel good and exciting and often weird coincidental opportunities (synchronicities) knock on my door. People often describe this as being in flow. I don’t think the ego-self would like to get married to the higher-self, because the moment I’ll start listening to my higher-self in an equal way, I feel the ego-self will eventually dissolve and ofcourse it doesn’t like that.

Is my positive self marrying my negative self?

It is easy to accept my positive sides and when I think of those I truly can say that I like myself and even sometimes that I’m proud of myself. The other negative side however is more difficult to accept. My whole life I tried to hide this other side. I told myself I have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to regret, nothing to hate, and I fooled myself into believing this to be true. Self-marriage would be about getting to know and accepting all my sides, good and bad, and still feeling that I deserve a happy and good life. Saying YES to my whole being.

self-illusionWhat if there is no Self?

When I was sixteen I loved to lie on the deck of my parents’ sailingboat with my head over the edge, looking at the splashing water. I saw the little drops of water being released from the ocean, flying through the air and falling back into the ocean. I thought, we are exactly like that, little drops of ocean, flying through the air during our lives, before returning to the same big ocean where we came from. This means that our idea of a separate Self is an illusion. We are separate, yet at the same time we are still the ocean. So if there is no Self…it’s not possible to marry My Self. I believe this quest has something to do with wanting to see, feel and be the whole. So selfmarriage in this context is saying “I DO” to everything and everyone…

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – ‘the coming out’

selfdoubtA few days ago I wrote a blogpost sharing the idea of Getting married to myself. The reactions so far from the people that know me, have been surprisingly enthusiastic. It’s exactly a week ago, that just after this idea popped up, I called my parents. I wanted to know whether they would come to a ‘wedding’ ceremony with myself. They had to laugh and thought it was a bit crazy, but told me that if this is important to me, they would support me. My father even joked about walking me down the aisle and giving me away. The second person I told was my current boyfriend. He reacted very open. That he doesn’t quite understand it, but that he feels this is clearly moving me, and if this is my way towards more love (how can you oppose to that) that he supports me. Ofcourse he also had the thought: “What about me?” and feeling left out of a very personal process that is mine. Yet, I feel that his openness and acceptance have brought us closer together already.

Then, on friday, I had a Christmas Dinner at THNK (where I work as a facilitator). A few colleagues that I know well, reacted so enthusiastically to this idea, that I decided to share the idea with the whole group of people there, making it something ‘out there’ and real. It moved from being just an idea to being a plan with a deadline. AAAAARHG! (that’s my fear of commitment kicking in). At dinner, I was sitting next to a girl I didn’t know and we had a very open and personal conversation. It seems the idea opens up people around me and I feel grateful for that. For instance, yesterday I called my father for his birthday and for the first time in my life we had a meaningful conversation on the phone (he hates phonecalls) that lasted more than 15 min.

Both of my long term ex-boyfriends have reacted in their own playful way’s. The first sending me a textmessage saying that I have to divorce him first, because we got kind of married in a fake weddingceremony by our friends in Spain in 2003. The second, by saying that he already bought a suit for my wedding, showing a picture of him in a flashy red suit.
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I also asked my 7 year old daughter (who’s asking a Barbie Bride and Ken Groom for Christmas) what she thought of the idea of getting married to myself. She thought it is funny and a little bit weird and also sweet for yourself. On my question if she would ever consider getting married to herself her answer was very straightforward: “Ik hoef niet met mezelf te trouwen, want mijn lijf weet gewoon dat ik lief ben.” English: “I don’t need to get married to myself because my body already knows that I’m loveable.”

WOW! I’m feeling happy and proud that she can say this with such confidence, like it is the most normal thing on earth (and so it should be!). And I’m feeling sad that I can’t. At least not yet. And it makes me question my motives. What do I need to prove to myself and to the rest of the world with this idea…?

Time for a walk…

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

 

Getting married to myself – the idea

hands-making-a-heart-in-the-sunsetI decided to reframe a quiet time in my usual busy workschedule as a mini-sabbatical of three months and asking myself the question; How might I use these three months in a meaningful way?

“OMG! Are you serious?!” were my first thoughts, after an idea came to my mind in a moment of inspiration. The idea was: “I would like to get married to myself”. It gave me goosebumbs all over. I felt frightened and excited at the same time. When my body gives me this kind of reactions to an idea…I know there is something interesting to discover.

I Googled “marry myself” and found out I’m not the only one with this idea. In 2003 there was a dutch woman, Jennifer Hoes, who married herself in a real weddingdress with an official (although not legally binding) ceremony. I also found a woman in the US, Dominique, that conducted self-wedding ceremonies at Burning Man Festival in 2011. And since 2012 more individual stories of self-marriage occur, mostly by women, incidental by men.

The reason why people get married to themselves varies, from celebrating being a happy independent single to a broader vision of making a statement about selflove for a better world.

So what is my WHY? When I think of it, there are several reasons;

  • I love learning and strongly believe in experiential (playful) learning. I feel that the journey towards this selfmarriage is going to be a powerful learningexperience, because it feels weird and out of comfortzone and that’s where the magic happens…(at least that’s what I usually tell my students).
  • I’ve always had a fear of commitment (or abandonment). This would be the ultimate commitment to myself to stay true and close to myself.
  • I’m actually in the startingphase of a new relationship with a very lovable guy and I don’t want to make the same ‘mistake’ of becoming emotionally dependent on a partner and losing (parts of) myself in a relationship.
  • I’ve always been very good at neglecting bad news and focussing on my own little world of positivity and success. I feel more and more impacted by the harsh worldly reality. I believe in the need of being the change you wish to see in this world (Ghandi), so therefore self-love and self-compassion would be a good start.
  • I think a lot of people (like me) have difficulties feeling and saying that they love themselves, and that’s sad. Hopefully I will fall madly in love with myself and sharing that experience will possibly encourage and inspire others.

Lots of love,

Annemarie X