Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Geoff and Alena's Wedding Ceremony

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today...to celebrate...this little thing we call LOVE. (Geoff enters, Alena enters)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to welcome all of you -- men and women, boys and girls. Step right up! Gather round, Don’t be shy! Today it is my privilege to share with you one of the the most exotic and rare wonders of the world: true love in public. You who have come from near and far will be rewarded with an extraordinary sight. Right here in the center ring, Alena and Geoff come together. A two ring ceremony, in which Alena and Geoff will marry each other.

They asked me to say a few words to set the proper mood and tone for their wedding. When they asked, of course I was honored. And because of who they are, I immediately began to think about what I would say. I thought about finding some poetry, or songs of love. But someone else’s words don’t sound right when I say them. So, I decided to to talk today about Geoff, about Alena, and about the circus and about marriage.

Circus. The spectacle comes from a time and a place before iPhones, hybrid cars, or HDTV. The circus comes from a time and a place when you physically had to go to be there--to see--to wonder.

Marriage is like that too. It’s our ancient tradition. One where two people have to come together themselves. One where the rest of us physically have to go, to see, to witness, to wonder.

Marriage is just like the circus in so many ways. They’re both rare...maybe a bit seasonal. Both are festive events that we look forward to. The performers, clowns, acrobats, magicians, jugglers and contortionists at the circus wear special costumes just for their act. So do the bride and groom. There’s excitement and uncertainty. Some find the circus thrilling. For others it’s a little scary. It’s the same for marriage.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. There’s a lot of work and practice, and choice, and deliberation before the spectacle in circus or the marriage comes to the ring.

Geoff and Alena met about three years ago. The first time was brief...they were both working on an art car to take to burningman. (That art car has some special significance for me, because that’s where I met Allison, but that’s another story.) So one day they went to work on this art car for their camp, Geoff was there for the early shift, and as he was leaving, Alena was arriving. Geoff noticed Alena, and thought “She’s wearing all black...” Alena saw Geoff leaving with Bob, and thought “He’s super cute, but he’s with Bob. Is he “with” Bob??” Here’s the important thing: they both noticed each other, and both remember that brief moment.

A few months later...out at that other circus called Burningman, Geoff and Alena ended up camping with the same group of people. There are more parallels here to the circus. There is preparation behind everything...not just spectacle. Geoff and Alena are those people who are not only visible in front of the crowd, but behind the scenes setting up. Geoff arrived early to set up the camp.

Alena arrived in camp Sunday night. So, it wasn’t until Monday that they met. On Monday evening, they went out with some others from their camp on bicycles, looking for interesting art, adventures, and people. But they both got tired around the same time, and went back to camp together.

There were signs that tell us that the night they met was an auspicious night. That night, there was a full lunar eclipse. Also that night, the man (of burningman) burned early. 4 days early. But Alena and Geoff didn’t notice these things. They had their own signs and symbols to attend to. Geoff and Alena went to the circus, to the spectacle of Burningman, and found each other.

Remember when you were a little kid, and went to the circus, and got peanuts or snow-cones or hotdogs? Geoff and Alena shared sticky sweet cotton candy kisses. But like the treats you remember, too soon, that week was over. Haven’t we all felt the letdown when the circus leaves town?

After the show is over, there’s a lot of work. Everything needs to be packed up, and loaded onto vehicles, maybe to be put away, maybe to be moved to another town. Geoff packed up his stuff, Alena hers, and they both left burningman. Sad that it was over.

Then, for a year, They were apart during the week for work, but nearly every weekend they got together. In Santa Barbara or in Oakland.

A year after they met, nearly to the day, back once again at burningman, Geoff proposed, and Alena said yes. Geoff moved to Santa Barbara soon after they were engaged.

Some people dream about running away to join the circus -- or to marriage. It’s a dreamy fantasy to escape from everyday lives. Geoff and Alena are dreamers, too. But rather than run away, they’ve decided to get married. They’ve decided to formally, proudly, boldly, and publicly declare their connection to each other. And they’ve asked you here to celebrate.

Here’s another parallel between marriage and circus: for those who are in it, it’s a way of life. It’s they way they live every day.

How do they plan to live? They plan to bring out the fun in each other. They promise support rather than judgement. They’ll share the things they love...dressing up, food, travel, wine. They promise to live with close to no conflict, and not to depend on drama for excitement. They promise to remain sexy, fun, smart, and adventurous. And finally, Geoff promises he will learn to fish to become a part of Alena's clan.

The adventure they are about to embark on has all the magic of any circus. Out on the high wire, their hearts have no net. But the truest fact is, that as long as they stick together, connected to each other, their married life will be so much more than a circus.

Let’s get you married, shall we? Allison, will you please bring up the rings?

Alena says her vows, then Geoff says his vows.

Through this ceremony, I now declare that Alena and Geoff are married. You may seal your vows with a kiss.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my profound pleasure to present: Geoff and Alena Roland.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Work Style

I prefer synthesizing the big-picture and working from that understanding to accomplish any goal. I dive deeply into details and facts to understand the big picture. Sorting through large amounts of information is not intimidating. When working on a project, I know where I am and how to reach the goal. What "floats my boat" is my sense of practical creativity in the moment, which ultimately paves the road to that final destination.

I am a natural optimist: I view the glass as half full rather than half empty. I don't waste my time worrying about the past or the future. Most of my energy is focused on the here and now.

I naturally communicate information, ideas, and feelings. I enjoy sharing new information with others. My ideal setting is where an open exchange, intellectualization and ongoing discussion can take place. I can handle an open-ended, semi chaotic environment with a limited amount of noise. I recharge my emotional batteries by interacting with others. A looser environment keeps me from becoming anxious and bored. I draw my energy from working with a group, and I provide others with energy and enthusiasm in turn. I confirm my knowledge and insights by teaching the material to someone else.

I intentionally spend a lot of time pondering future and cultivating the behaviors, activities, skills, knowledge, processes, and ideas that will be important. My preparation frees me to be present-tense-oriented; I do not have to plan to excess. I keep a close eye on what I expect to unfold, and as long as things are moving in the right direction, I’m patient and can let them develop.

I can keep records and write reports, but this is not my forte. When taking directions, I generally will comply. I like getting things done in a routine or orderly fashion, and I love processes that make me, and the groups I work with more efficient. At the same time, I am alert to new opportunities and creative alternatives and I enjoy embracing novel, possibly better ways of completing the task at hand.

My preference is to collaborate to complete tasks, but having someone breathing down my neck and telling me exactly how to do something only works for me for a short period of time. Eventually, though, it will make me snap.

I know where I am in the present moment and I know where I have to go. The details between the here-and-now and the end point are clear in my mind and I am aware of the protocol and paperwork needed to bridge those two points, but formalities are not my primary focus. What overrides them is the final product. If someone questions how I’m going to get the job done, I will be able to fudge an answer, but you should probably know that I will do it my way.

I am very aware that success and achievement are important. I base my name and reputation on what I have accomplished, and to a lesser but meaningful degree on whom I know and who knows me. Although I enjoy seeing my name in print or in the spotlight, what really motivates me is my ability to use past success, achievement and recognition to illuminate others.

When making a presentation or speech, I can talk effectively without notes. Part of what drives the emotional content of my spoken word is my spontaneity, and the feelings of the moment. I draw my energy and confidence from the crowd. I have spent the better part of my life developing this style, which touches people in a manner that ensures they will remember everything I said. I know how to work a crowd!

I know that I have what it takes to inspire others and spur them to action. It does not matter if the group is large or small; I know how to move the crowd. My enthusiasm and intelligence motivate others toward a goal before they cross the starting line.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Richard Serra's "Joe," December 2009

I've never seen a Serra in the snow. Ah. Now I have.