Hi friends,

I hope you’re ending your year with an exhale, and that you have space for rest, ease, and connection.

As I write this my wife and I are awaiting the arrival of our first child. I find myself slowing down with the season, pausing the various projects I have, and resting in a mix of ease and anticipation.

Meeting Mansi and cultivating our partnership has been the greatest gift and achievement in my life so far.

I believe my success as a father will be closely connected with my success as a husband. Although I'm at the beginning of my marriage, I feel confident that if I am able to honor the vows I'm sharing below, we will build and sustain a strong, loving, and joyful family.

I oscillated over whether or not to share them so publicly, but decided that they are meant as public commitments, and that perhaps they will help others connect with what is most important and essential in their own lives.

As I close the year, and the chapter of my life without children, it seems appropriate to revisit these vows and deepen my commitment to them. I hope that you find something in them that is useful for you and your path.

May you be happy, peaceful, and filled with love.

Alex


Dear Mansi,

Marriage is a commitment to share in the process of living.

And our vows are aspirations for how we want to live.

In this, the dying have a lot to teach us.

The regrets of the dying offer guidance for living well.

A teacher of mine has named five principles that the dying have to teach the living.

They are:

  • Don't wait
  • Welcome everything, push away nothing
  • Bring your whole self to the experience
  • Find a place of rest in the middle of things
  • Cultivate "don't know mind"

I vow not to wait.

In that first email we exchanged, where we were "vetting" each other, I shared the quote that "Life is a daring adventure, or nothing at all."

I found in you a fellow adventurer, someone not willing to compromise on what matters most.

Someone who takes bold action in service of the human spirit.

Who doesn't wait, who takes courageous, life-affirming risks.

As Seneca said, "the whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately."

I vow to live immediately with you.

To not wait until I'm done with what I'm doing to receive you with an open heart, a smile and a hug.

Not wait to savor the infinite joy of waking up next to you, embracing you between giggles and half-awakened groans.

I vow to say the difficult thing that needs to be said, not later, not when I'm in the mood, but now.

I vow not to wait.


I vow to welcome everything, and push away nothing.

We've talked with a playful foreboding about what life has in store for us. About the challenges and tragedies of living.

The unknowable transformations that marriage and parenthood will thrust upon us.

I vow to embrace with compassion all that arises within us, between us, and around us.

I vow to find the light on even the darkest of days and to welcome all we meet on the path of marriage.

I vow to welcome everything, and push away nothing.


I vow to bring my whole self to the experience.

To not hold back, shy away, or withdraw. To not build armor or walls between us.

I vow to open my heart to you and to be ALL IN.

I vow to always be direct and truthful with you.

I vow to bring my whole self to the experience.


I vow to find a place of rest in the middle of things

In truth, we're always in the middle of something.

And as we continue to mature, and take on new responsibilities, I imagine it will be easy to get lost in all of it.

To be swept up in things and lose the ability to love what we love.

Lose the ability to find a place of ease and flow in the midst of the flurry and chaos.

I vow to tend to and hold a sanctuary for us where we can always rest in the middle of things.

When your muscles get tense from carrying a lot, I’ll help lift the load.

I’ll hold your hand.
And I’ll make funny faces.
And twist my voice like this.

And I’ll make you laugh.
I’ll make you smile.
And together we'll be little kids.

I vow to find a place of rest in the middle of things.


I vow to cultivate "don't know mind"

I vow to never stop being curious, to notice that you are breathing, and that we are Here.

I vow to keep my pride in check, and to learn from you.

I vow to soften in the heat of the moment, and be willing to be wrong.

I vow to nurture a wide web of relationships around us. Family, friends, mentors, teachers.

People who can help us through the uncertainty and the tensions of not knowing.

I vow to remember the mystery.

I vow to cultivate "don't know mind"


And finally, I vow to join with you in conscious partnership.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said:

“Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. There is no comradeship except through union in the same high effort.”

This looking outward, together, in the same direction. A union in the same high effort.

This high effort in my mind is to serve the light, to bring more love and beauty into our world.

I want ours to be a story of light over darkness, love over fear, courage over cowardice.

I want to walk through the vast unknown of our life together and engage it with passion and vitality.

I want to spread brightness, love, and joy to the world around us, using our marriage as a training ground that moulds us into mature and engaged participants in life.

I vow to enter, cultivate, and sustain a conscious partnership with you.