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Jan 07
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Celebrating Your Wedding Anniversary with Shambhala Ideas and Practice

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By “Jackie Writing Jackie”

The idea of loving one’s romantic partner and celebrating their individuality can be an important component of a Shambhala life, and connected to what Yale Professor Dr. Nicholas Christakis calls the ‘social suite’. These two considerations work well together, since caring for your partner also involves being empathetic to their needs and recognizing them as separate, vital, energetic individuals that have individual hobbies and passions. If you are married, you and your spouse may celebrate each anniversary as a symbol of your commitment and love. When doing so, you may give each other gifts or go out to dinner to celebrate. These are ideal moments in which to recall the importance that empathy, connection, and kindness have in your Shambhala life.

Gifts in the Western World and Shambhala World

If you discovered Shambhala later in life, then gifts may hold significant meaning to you and your spouse. Indeed, in western traditions, different anniversaries are associated with different materials—the idea being that the gift given to a spouse should be made from that material. Thus, the first year anniversary is paper, the third leather, the sixth iron. For an iron anniversary, jewelry and decorative pieces are usually given, as way to keep in line with tradition. Some give iron figurines, others a paperweight or small jewelry piece. Iron in this case symbolizes the strength of the union. Shambhala belief supports the idea of generosity—which is completely compatible with gift giving. Of course, gifts can be material but they can also comprise acts of kindness. This is compatible with the idea that each individual perceives generosity in a different way – some through favors or through quality time spent together, and others through the symbolic value of a gift.

Getting in the Right Frame of Mind

Couples who follow the Shambhala vision often make time for meditation, which can put them into the right frame of mind on an important day in which being generous is as much a matter of celebrating together as it is of being fully ‘present’ with our spouse or loved one. Meditation can help each individual in a couple feel more enlightened and awake, but also less stressed and preoccupied. Often, succumbing to worries (rather than seeing them as a passing phenomenon that do not last forever) can distance couples, leading to irritable communication or silence. Meditation brings the mind back to the present moment, enabling each to give their best, most awakened self to the other. Some couples choose to meditate to the sunrise on their special day, as a way of celebrating what is new and what prevails all at once.

Celebrating Individuality

It is possible to celebrate union and individuality all at once. Because each spouse or partner has interests, their idea of celebration may differ, yet the commemoration of a special anniversary does not have to be limited to one day. Recognizing and celebrating our differences can also unify us. If one partner loves meditating in the great outdoors, a day doing so can show the other partner’s support and openness to their interests. If another loves indoor activities such as catching a new art exhibition, a visit together can show support and interest – even if each of these respective hobbies are one’s main passion but not the other’s.

Shambhala vision encompasses a state in which one aims to do good in the world and bring happiness to others, but this also includes our spouse or romantic partner. Bringing our true and best selves to a relationship takes many steps, including that of embracing the enlightening and awakening power of meditation. Getting celebrations right often involves really knowing your partner and exercising generosity in a way they understand and appreciate.

After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past, battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.

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