It’s All About Love
Lorena: Every person and event that crossed our lives served the purpose of preparing us for the moment when we met. It now has been 10 months since Udi and I met one fortunate afternoon in “Boxito”, a hardware store in Playa del Carmen. I was just returning from completing the pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago in Spain with my eldest daughter Sofía. Udi was returning from loosing a fierce fight with cancer in his beloved wife in New York. Both of us were coming out of a sense of death of sorts that lingered around us for about three years prior to this day, both of us touched the depths of darkness and both at some point made a very conscious choice to live, and live meaningfully.
I was about to pay for a new kitchen faucet that broke when the cashier said “Sorry madam, you are cutting the line and there was a man waiting before you”, I looked back a bit ashamed to discover a serene looking man standing calmly behind me and I apologized. He said not to worry and he proceeded to pay. While we were expecting our merchandise, we engaged in a gleeful small-talk. His eyes were smart, his manner soft. We enjoyed a few minutes of light connection. We exchanged cards apparently for business, I was CEO of solar energy company and he, an architect. The business between us was not to be.
Udi left for Tel Aviv three days later and sent me an amazing photograph of the marina at sunset. We started a soulful written conversation about our lives, honest, candid, tender but above all so familiar. Udi felt dear to me.
We exchanged photographs, music, thoughts and questions. The connection was so strong after three weeks that I told my mother and my sister “don’t tell me I did not warn you, this man is coming from Tel Aviv tomorrow and he will be significant”. I prepared my home as if it were a nest, repainted a wall, fixed a few bolts, threw away half of unnecessary stuff in my house, rearranged a few paintings and prepared everything for his arrival. He came the next day with flowers, a bottle of gin and three boxes full of cheeses, exotic fruits, wines, almonds, delicate veggies and abundant Ambrosia.
My man was coming home and I knew it, he was coming home and he knew it. We were already in Love. We have not parted since.
Udi: It’s all about love is a cliché, or is it? Why do two people who seemingly have it all have such an urge to be married? I mean an URGE to get married and get married now!
I first asked Lorena to marry me on Thanksgiving Day 2016 – that was precisely 14 days since I first met her physically after Tel Aviv. At a 2:00 AM love-talk she said “yes”. The morning came, we woke up on Friday after Thanksgiving and I asked her if she remembered our conversation and that she said “yes”. The question still stands, and the answer still is, we agreed to do it one day and continued our lovely morning coffee on the edge of the Marina in Puerto Aventuras.
Days, weeks and months went by as our love grew stronger by the minute. Our bond strengthened. Our lives became intertwined. A strong sense of togetherness has enveloped our lives. Living between Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, developing a family feeling between Lorena’s family in Mexico, Lorena’s two lovely daughters, and my family in Israel. We started experiencing new friendships for both Lorena and me and living the reaction of real friends who were loving and encouraging to our newfound love.
We developed a new form of Spanglish peppered with newly-invented words, now in common family-use. We created a union of harmony.
We promised ourselves to live a calm life and never fight. We never watch TV. We never watch the news. We live a calm and considerate life. We gently deal with crisis with a zen attitude. We have wholeheartedly adopted Leonard Cohen’s line “When hatred with its package comes; we forbid delivery”. We find ourselves waking up every single morning thankful for the universe to have introduced us to each other. We appreciate the gift of life and love. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and thank our friends for who and what they are for us.
About six months into this daily wonder of loving, caring, merging, and binding our lives together came the URGE. Both of us felt it as if it was a NEED to be married. Neither of us understood why, in fact we were suspicious of this urge to get married NOW.
“Do you actually think you have asked me to marry you Udi?” asked Lorena one Friday on the Carretera Federal 307 from Playa del Carmen to Akumal. “Of course I have!” said I, “Only like 25 times, and you always said yes”.
As soon as we got back to our home Infinity, on Punta Sur, I asked Lorena to wait for me in the living room. Carrying a tray with a yellow rose, two flutes and a nice ice-cold bottle of champagne I came into the living room, knelt on one knee and asked Lorena Cejudo to be my wife from that day until the end of time. The gorgeous Lorena’s smile became even more angel-like. Her gleaming eyes, as blue as the Caribbean Sea, became glowing with a “yes”. A ring I formed from the wire retainer of the Champagne cork became our engagement ring.
Is it all about love? YES, it is. It is about love. It is about caring. It is also about social code that was so overriding for both of us. Isabel does not need to introduce me as “my mother’s boyfriend” and I don’t want to introduce Lorena, my soul-wife, as “my girlfriend”.
Lorena & Udi: We married on Friday, May 26, 2017. A new moon symbolized a new life of unity. Sofia and Isabel would be home in Mexico at the same time. We called our mothers, family and counted friends to say “we are getting married in three weeks”. We knew we were in love and wanted to marry and were less concerned about the how.
One week before the wedding I called my dear Chaman friend Angelica and asked her to marry us. She met with Udi and me that same night and agreed. The “legal part” would be by an Akumal officiant prior to the spiritual ceremony. The spiritual wedding would be a sum of valued symbols for us.
We began the ceremony with personal prayers to spiritual Teachers and ancestors by an altar that we have created. I asked for Their blessing. Udi connected with the Sea. We set up a large white chuppa-like veil with four posts held by family members. Our mothers invoked the presence of the spirit of our departed fathers and ancestors. Udi’s daughter Danielle was present in spirit.
We asked our mothers to bless us by cleansing our hands with water so we could be united, the symbol of leaving past behind to start anew. My sister used her powerful voice and spiritual depth to translate from Spanish. My daughters spoke about Love with Love. Udi and I made heartfelt personal spiritual and spontaneous vows to each other. We placed simple gold rings on each others’ hands as we touched the ground barefoot.
So many details were flowing, mistakes were present, but welcome. What reigned was the authenticity of humanness and a calm mature love that bound us together with a communal “YES”.
We requested our guests to select from a colorful array of ribbons and write an individual blessing for us. Ribbons were tied to a bamboo pole that washed ashore in front of our home. We held it up on the air in celebration of love, unity and family spirit. We confided with the Sea. With the Universe. And we shared our love with All.
WE love their unity ribbon idea so much, you can see this blog post for many alternative unity candle ceremonies.
– Udi Saly and Lorena Cejudo-Saly
Principal Photographer: Sol
Wedding location: Akumal Punta Sur
Spiritual Ceremony Officiant : Angélica Navarro
The groom wore Adam’s shoes– barefoot grounding the roots, the bride wore Eve’s shoes – barefoot caressing the earth.