On The Path - Commitment Ceremony by Bob Czimbal
"It was amazing enough to see him in his primary-colored splendor—but he also happened to be perched on a unicycle and juggling. He was grinning and asked, 'Can we be friends?'"
Clearly the hardest struggle for me on the path has been parenting, as a step-parent and as a father. My son, now in his mid-twenties, resides in Australia. Over the past years we’ve had little contact and I feel sad because I miss him. But during these same years I’ve been developing a fantastic friendship with Tony, who is just a little older than my son. One day while working at home I heard my door bell. I was unprepared when I opened the door for the surprise that awaited me. There was Tony, ablaze in a self-made Native American costume he had created for a powwow. It was amazing enough to see him in his primary-colored splendor—but he also happened to be perched on a unicycle and juggling. He was grinning and asked, “Can we be friends?” YES!
Tony is persistent in reaching out and expressing his desire to deepen our friendship. Together we dance, hike, go to movies, cook, attend seminars, vacation, work on projects and double date. At the end of our visits Tony always says “I love you and I appreciate having you and Maggie in my life.”
A few months ago, Tony asked our help in planning a party for his upcoming 30th birthday. He shared that since he has little contact with his birth family he wanted to adopt us as his family-of-choice. It was clear that we had reached a stage where we were ready to honor the love we felt for each other. Our intention was to treat our friendship as sacred. Becoming Kindred Spirits would be a rite of passage where we would gather our circle of friends and publicly express our oath to be kin in spirit. I suggested we include a commitment ceremony and volunteered to write a draft of it. There is power in spelling out your statements of intention.
Midway through Tony’s party, we sounded a gong and signaled our friends to gather round. They were expecting us to begin singing Happy Birthday. Instead, Tony explained that the present he wanted most tonight was the birthing of his new spirit family.
This would be our first ceremony of this kind. We spread a blanket on the floor to establish sacred space. In the center was a tray with three candles and a bowl of floating flowers atop an altar box. We handed out copies of our Certificate of Commitment.
We formed three overlapping circles with ribbon as a symbol of our union and our individuality. Each of us brought a lighted candle to the center of the circles and our intention was read.
“The three flames represent our spirits. Our light burns brighter together. A third entity—us—is being created; a new spirit. Our commitment binds us together as we wrap our candles with a ribbon. We ask you to focus your love on our union and recommit to love. The three of us have reached the point on our path where we choose to honor the sacredness of our friendship. We are deeply committed to being involved in each others’ spiritual evolution. Please witness our mutual commitment and support us as we make these sacred vows.
We will push the edges of generosity, continually strengthening our spiritual bond and showing respect for our differences. We pledge to be mutual mentors and guardians of one anothers’ spirits. We promise to bring out the best in each other, live in abundance, deepen our intimacy and cherish our friendship. We declare we are Kindred Spirits from this moment on. By the power of our love we are now family. Encircled by our friends, we seal this union with a kiss.”
The three of us were then wrapped in a prayer shawl. Tony gifted us with a hand-made talking stick of red, yellow and blue macaw feathers individually wrapped in buckskin and adorned with shells and a spray of buffalo hair. We then opened the alter box to find a spectacular dessert Tony had prepared. He requested that all in attendance feed each other this communal dessert. I will always remember the smiling faces of our friends as they fed each other. The ceremony was bonding for all of us. Two people thanked us for germinating the idea and inspiring them to create a family-of-choice commitment ceremony of their own.
Later on, Maggie and I gave our parents a picture of the three of us and a copy of our ceremony. I hope to be able to introduce Tony to my relatives some day. In our home we have created a new shrine with three candles, pictures of the ceremony and the certificate of our commitment.
I hope, when I do have contact with my son again, that my heart will be healed and open to him. My love for Tony has been a creative alternative for the love I cannot express directly to my son. Thank you Tony for being in our lives.
Bob welcomes your comments. You may reach him at The Abundance Company 503/232-3522, [email protected], www.A-Bun-Dance.com