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What comes to mind when you think of self-reliance? Well, I’ve learned that it doesn’t need to mean suffering alone, or hard work.

In my family there is a strong emphasis and value placed on self-reliance.
When I was a little kid, when other mothers were driving their children to school, my mother worked full-time. That meant I had to get out the door on time to walk the half-mile to the bus stop: rain, snow, or shine.
As a teenager I was thrilled to get my driver license. But before I was allowed to take the car out by myself, Dad made me take a “Powder Puff Mechanics” course (yes, totally car broke down2sexist, but, it was the ’80s).

He wanted me to be able to fix the car and get myself out of a jam if I found myself stranded. I even learned how to change a spark plug in that class. (Admittedly, even if I were now driving the type of car for which you could still change your own spark plugs, I’d be at a loss.)

And my mother taught me how to cook – such thorough lessons that when I prepared my very first Thanksgiving turkey it came out perfectly.
turkeyMy parents gave me a gift – teaching me how to gain the skills to trust in myself, to be able to rely on myself.

In my adulthood, of course I continued that disposition of educating myself, both to be able to rely on myself and for the simple fulfilling joy of feeling accomplished and able, whether it was taking Spanish lessons, learning how to fall when you rollerblade(!), or attending Toastmasters to gain speaking skills.

Later in life, my perspective started to shift.
I started to learn another method of self-reliance. I began to learn about Divine connection, Divine alignment. Over the past 15 years I attended courses and workshops on developing my intuition, learning Reiki and Shamanic techniques, meditation classes, spiritual leadership.
Now I rely much more on mySelf, with a capital ‘S’ – my Higher Self. It has become part of my Faith.higher self

If I were stranded on the side of the road today, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to fix my car. Aside from having zero mechanical talent, I have no desire to.

That might seem terribly irresponsible to some: not facing reality, impractical, or even downright lazy. But that is not the case (also, how many of us know how to fix a Prius?).

Because I have studied for YEARS my connection with the Divine, I’m quite good at manifesting a positive outcome. Practiced for YEARS. Observed for YEARS. It is almost an art form.

And when I manifest a positive outcome, I am often more exhilarated by the act of having manifested, rather than even the outcome itself.

So, while I will try to avoid being stranded by the side of the road – by taking the practical actions of keeping my car well-maintained, making sure there is a spare in the trunk, paying my AAA membership, etc. – if it did happen, I feel certain that with focused intention (you might call it prayer) I would manifest a positive outcome.

Because, Faith, to me, is not a matter of moral constraint. Rather it is a relationship with the Divine, designed to manifest connections of ease, awe, and Joy.

You have within you this same powerful resource. It is not a crutch; it is actually an amplifier of all the ways you, yourself, are Self-reliant.

self-reliance

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Say Her Name

This post is dedicated to Breonna Taylor. And to all the Black women who have been brutalized and murdered by those who are supposed to protect and serve.

My service as a nondenominational ceremony officiant takes me all over San Diego County (pre-Covid), working with incredible colleagues, and being inspired by my clients, and deeply moved by the expression of love in all its forms.

What I Know for Sure (to quote Oprah’s trademark phrase) is that Love requires action. At least every week, if not every day, I take action to fight for change in our nation, to tear down our white supremacist system of punishment and move toward creating a community of care. My actions sometimes feel so small and ineffective, but I will keep at them with a sense of purpose, and with the conviction of Love. There is so much that we all can do, every day.

I’ll simply share Oprah’s words:

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a33460398/oprah-magazine-breonna-taylor-cover-artist-alexis-franklin/

“To continue the fight for Breonna Taylor: 1) Sign the WhiteHouse.gov and Color ofChange petitions to demand justice from officials. 2) Call Kentucky’s attorney general, Louisville’s mayor, and Louisville’s interim police chief to demand the officers involved in Breonna’s death are fired and charged with her killing. Visit UntilFreedom.com for guidance. 3) Donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund to aid protesters fighting in Breonna’s hometown. 4) Hashtag #SayHerName on social media—so no one forgets her: Breonna Taylor.”

And, a few resources for social and racial justice that I have found helpful:
SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice

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Gay Marriage White House Lit

It’s 5 years ago today  – June 26 – that the Supreme Court upheld Marriage Equality.

Prior to that, when same-sex marriage finally became legal in California in 2013, my event colleagues and I experienced same-sex couples coming in droves from across the nation, so they could be legally married.

I was thrilled to live and work in a state that recognized these couples, and happy to welcome them and help them live their dreams.

One couple in particular has stayed with me always: two Black women from Texas, with their young daughter.

Of course I suggested a ‘toes-in-the-sand’ beach wedding – an iconic San Diego experience.

They declined and instead requested the ceremony be in a small park near the hotel where they were staying.

I kept pressing them that you couldn’t beat the gorgeous San Diego beaches.
Finally they had to say to me, that they so often have insulting slurs hurled at them as a same-sex couple, that they didn’t want to risk a wedding on the beach – so very public – and the possibility that some passerby could shout a horrid remark, not only on their very special day, but in front of their young daughter.
I felt so naive and heartbroken upon hearing that.

So, when the day came we gathered at the park. Just the two of them with their daughter as flower girl, and found a lovely stranger in the park who agreed to serve as witness.
Their love and caring toward each other made it quite apparent that the surroundings were the least important thing that day. They declared their “I Dos” and could legally call each other “wife” from that day forward.

Oddly, I’m happy that I no longer have an onslaught of same-sex couples from across the nation requesting officiating, because that means they are now able to get legally married in their own home town, surrounded by friends and family.

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I am a person in Service, and it is my joy to officiate ceremonies of life’s important moments. Baby blessings, weddings, and memorial services are sacred experiences. Deeply personal and sacred.

It is important that EVERYONE – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or faith – has the opportunity to experience ceremony and celebration without fear or reprisal.

Officiating is meant to create a safe space for you, so that you and your family and friends can be fully present and open to the Love that is ceremony.

My role is to guide and support you in creating your ceremony, and this often requires I learn more.
For example, my nondenominational wedding ceremonies have included beautiful and powerful symbols of the Jewish faith (Chuppah, Breaking the Glass); Black heritage (Jumping the Broom); Persian culture (the Sofreh Aghd); and support of Chinese tradition (offering the ‘Western’ ceremony after the morning Chinese Tea Ceremony), to name a few; or crafting language appropriately to honor same-sex couples.

I have been an activist since I was a teenager, canvassing for presidential campaigns even before I could vote. My activism has been more focused in some years than others.

As a white, hetero, cisgender woman, I recognize my responsibility to do the challenging inner work of rejecting the story I was given – the story of white supremacy and privilege. I reject that story and look to working with social justice leaders and community in crafting a beautiful society where all are truly equal, all feel heard and seen, all feel like their country is indeed a place to call home.

My commitment is to continue to actively do the inner work so that I can truly stand as an ally deeply committed to activism promoting equality for all.
I continue to learn, and I will always listen.

These are just a few of the organizations I support, either through donations, volunteer work, reading, or simply spreading the word:

Black Lives Matter blacklivesmatter.com
Movement for Black Lives m4bl.org
Life After Hate lifeafterhate.org
The Equality Institute theequalityinstitute.com
SURJ showingupforracialjustice.org
ACLU aclu.org

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Gov. Newsom signed Executive Order as of April 30, 2020 to allow for legal wedding ceremony via videoconferencing.

Visit the San Diego County Clerk’s site for more information. Be sure to check it frequently as it changes:

https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/marriage-licenses.aspx

I will be happy to discuss options for officiating your wedding ceremony in this manner. Even virtually, sharing your vows can still be special and sacred.

Blessings,
Gayle Feallock
Nondenominational Officiant

 

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