I met Sami in July of 2006. We were both teachers, and I was the new hire. We were seated on the floor next to each other at a faculty meeting because there were not enough chairs. Admittedly, I thought she was cute, so I chose to sit next to her. As an ice-breaker, we were asked to partner up and conduct a round of “speed-dating.” How apropos. She fired off a minute of questions, and I had two minutes to respond. Then it was my turn.
We quickly found out that we had much in common: love teaching, love nature, practice yoga … It was tricky to stay professional as I felt like we had just hit it off! I was a bit giddy. I remember telling myself … be cool: She has a boyfriend. Remember, you are not out to start a serious relationship.
I had just moved after ending a seven-year relationship. I was looking for a fresh start, but not yet.
School started, and we chatted occasionally as any professionals would do. Then we were sent to a conference together near my hometown. We traveled, ate and learned together (I think there were other colleagues there too.)
She ended up meeting my parents (yes, actually,) along with several other colleagues and we traded books. Truthfully, I took the book she was reading because it sounded really fascinating: The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
We actually had fun. Together. But there were others there too. I think. At the time, I did not know this, but she broke up with her boyfriend when we returned from the conference.
As fate would have it, not long after, her classroom flooded from heavy rains, and she was relocated to a space next to my classroom (seriously, I had nothing to do with all that water!) We ended up seeing each other daily and chatting more frequently. She asked me if I wanted to go to a yoga class together.
I have no regrets!
Two years later, I devised my plan. I would propose the day after Obama won the 2008 election. We had talked casually about getting married. Meanwhile I was shopping for an engagement ring and coordinating with one of our yoga instructors to read something I wrote for Sami instead of her usual savasana reading. I even planned our honeymoon to Puerto Rico.
The day came, and I remember calling her dad for his blessing. We arrived at class. It was packed. Ninety minutes of profuse sweating and dozens of down dogs later, I was ready. We laid on our backs and closed our eyes. Our instructor dimmed the lights and began reading:
Yoga is an act of love. When else do you devote so much time to your well-being? After all, you must love yourself and treat yourself lovingly before you can share love with another. So often people rush into a relationship, a partnership, a marriage. So often these situations end up failing. What is the difference between a marriage that fails and a marriage that succeeds? A marriage that succeeds is built on a strong understanding of the self. Yoga teaches you to read yourself. You are forced to confront your limitations, recognize your boundaries and realize where beyond what you thought you could only do, is a place of satisfying bliss that is attainable. Seek this place.
After what may seem like many failed attempts, you will find what you have been looking for. You are ready to write that letter. What you are looking for blossoms right before your very eyes; an amazing relationship that is balanced in duty, responsibility, compassion, humor, understanding, acts of appreciation and grand acts of loving reciprocity. You will know that your feelings are not temporary. You will know that your feelings are not muddled by past experience. You will know and admit the truth.
Our instructor said, “We have a proposal.” which seemed odd at the time, and I do not even remember hearing it. Anyone who practices yoga knows that savasana at the end of class is a time for silence, so when I got up and kneeled next to Sami, she was a taken off guard. I said, “Sami, will you marry me?”. There was a pause. She remained silent as I took her hand. I had to say, “You are supposed to say, ‘yes’!” She looked up at me in utter disbelief and said yes softly then boldly. We both started crying and hugging each other and the room erupted in applause and cheers!
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