Tag Archives: friendship

Three Hundred Sixty Three: Fluidity

 

“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” – Hal Boyle

Tuesday, December 30th

Tonight my husband found out that one of his elders – a Rasta gentleman who has been a mentor and a strength – is on his journey towards forwarding on.

Death has always been at an arm’s length from me. Someone dear whom I know was living and now he or she isn’t. I haven’t seen the rapid decline. I haven’t felt the true deep sadness of their passing. Tonight has felt profound. Profoundly sad. More than that, I have felt the profoundly grace and integrity in this man’s choice to react to his illness in the way that he has. There is a quiet, calm, and compassionate way to die. And doesn’t that hold us to the world in somewhat of a stronger way?

Are you afraid of death?

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Three Hundred Sixty One: Kindred Friend

“We are kindred spirits, you and I… One day you will realize you don’t have to fight your nature. You can live your life freely… I want to be there when that happens.” – T.T. Escurel

Sunday, December 28th

Today I had a date with a dear old friend. She is older, more experienced, and has done more soul work and emotional and physical therapy to untangle life’s sorrows. She is a friend and a mentor. I wasn’t expecting our visit today to mean as much as it did.

We went to the farmer’s market to find a bottle of our coveted ginger beer. On our way to the pet store we ended up getting into a deep conversation in her car. Impromptu, we talked about our holidays. I started telling her about my brother and I let out a flood of emotions that I still have wound up inside about it all. It felt good to get it out, and I started to feel a sense of how I’ve closed off certain channels this year. Tai chi and qi gong have always helped me to move those energies around and through me, but over time they’ve just wadded up inside. Sometimes you just need to get the obstructions moving and then the rest just moves through on its own in due time.

It was a relatively short visit and we were both wiped out by the end of it. Baring my emotions is had work, and was it ever worth it. I feel clean. Does that even make sense? I feel clean from the inside out, like the real obstacles in my life were the words unsaid and the truths ignored. It was time to air them and move on. There are only a few people who I trust sharing my deep and honest truths, and I’m glad that my friend held my heart with gentle hands today. It’s hard not to feel like change is coming now.

What do you do when you need catharsis?

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Three Hundred Fifty Two: Hurt

“Love those who hurt you the most, because they are probably the ones closest to you.
They, too, are on a path, and just like you they are learning to walk before they can fly. Imagine of everybody you hurt in life turned their backs on you? You would be playing a hell of a lot of solitaire. 
Love them no matter what.” – Nikki Sixx

Friday, December 19th

I know deep down when my feelings get hurt that I need to face that situation with love, compassion, and more understanding that I feel like sharing. It is the only way to grow and learn, in the end. But my ego sure doesn’t feel like being this gracious. I want to shut down, keep quiet, and close myself off to other people. Because it feels like I’m stronger if I’m more protected.

A week or so ago, I ended up in the middle of a social debacle when I tried to stand up for someone who was being left out. She was in a thread of conversation but was not invited to an event. It turned into a big ol’ ball of awkwardness…I’m talking about a much bigger mess than it ought to have been. I tried to make peace between parties and move on with things, but my feelings were still stuck on this as I found out today when it got brought up again. So I went to the source of this ball to confront the person I felt that I had unresolved awkwardness with. Be clear. Be concise. Express your emotions. I had already stated out loud to the universe that these social breakdowns are much more telling than the parties and the rowdy little good times. How can you navigate the faltering communication?

For the most part, this cleared the air. But I have found that the devil really is in the details: little phrases like “I shouldn’t have to explain myself.” Nope. No one is contractually bound to explaining themselves. The hope is that one’s friends are compelled to explain themselves. Because that’s what we do. Hash it out. We don’t just declare our good intentions, we look at how we may have contributed to the breakdown in the first place.

In the end, I want to leave the hurt behind. I move forward, if for no other reason, for my own selfish need to be clear of this. I want to write several sentences here that start with “But”, but I feel that friendship ultimately can’t have buts in it. I take people’s flaws as I take their strengths. We are all works in progress and experience guides me in how I choose to interact and not interact with people in the future.

What do you do when those you love hurt you?

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Three Hundred Fifty: Another 40

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 17th

There are several birthdays that are etched on my mind, now and forever. My parents’, my older brother’s, and several friends’. Today is the 40th birthday of a dear friend from high school…that giggly friend who let me be nerdy, funny, dorky, sober, and serious in my adolescence. I often don’t give her enough credit for helping shape who I am today, but today I nod my head in her general direction.

When I knew her, she was plucky. She and I weren’t the sort of teenage girls that drank into oblivion on Saturday nights with the cool guys. We watched hockey games, went out for dinners, and debated whether Snapples or Peach nectars were better while getting junk food at the local gas station. We allowed our “maturity” to come to us slowly, and I think we had much more silly fun in the process. There was certainly no race to grow up. We met after I suggested we use “The Jungle Book” for a yearbook theme. Ha!

Now we are both married with our respective two kids, house, and cats. On a practical day-to-day basis, we really don’t talk very often but she is always one of those people I will wish well.

Whose birthday do you remember every year?

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Three Hundred Forty Four: Another Cup of Tea

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Thursday, December 11th

I have an on-off again romance with coffee and it can get pretty steamy at times, but my heart will always belong to a warm cup of tea.

I invited a dear friend over for a cuppa, and it was such a simple restorative afternoon. I’m getting better, I think, at being hospitable and opening my doors to others. It feels good to welcome friends into my home, and even better to catch up on what’s happening in one another’s lives. I made a large stock pot full of nettles and raspberry leaf tea, and now I have bottled reserves in the fridge for when I need to get back to that calm place in a nourishing way.

Do you have a healthy way on unwinding?

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Three Hundred Twenty Five: Coffee Date

“All you need is love…and more coffee.”  – Unknown 

Saturday, November 22nd

My neighbor asked me if I’d like to join her on a coffee date today. She is someone I see regularly, but at a distance. We live on opposite ends of our cohousing community and although there is clearly a rapport between us, there isn’t necessarily the chance to meet and talk regularly in our daily lives. Her intent to get away to neutral ground was brilliant.

I’ve learned that these small adventures can add up to a meaningful friendship, so I’m so glad we went.

What is the best way for you to get to meet someone new?

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Three Hundred Four: A Wake

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.”  – David Searls

Saturday, November 1st

The sister of a dear friend passed away recently. She had fought hard and kept strong through the treatment of her brain tumor, but her cancer had the last word. Her loved ones saw her health decline and found the courage to show up with more love every day.

My friend had mentioned in passing that the wake would be today – a walk down the beach. I didn’t know her sister, but my friend assured me that my presence was not mandatory. If I was there, stop and give her a hug.

This friend is one of the oldest friends I have from this city. She was my work buddy and had completely enchanted me with her bawdy humor and zest for life. She stored my furniture when I didn’t know where I was going to live next. She encouraged me to follow my dream and get out of a dead-end job. She knows not only how to fix her own car, but your brother’s car too. She has survived challenges that would make most people crawl under a log. She’s as good as it gets. A life mentor for me, and my sister-in-spirit.

So there was no way I’d miss the opportunity to send a little love and support her way. I readied my kids to go down to the beach. They couldn’t understand why we were going. They understood the death part, but not why we were going to celebrate the life of someone who we didn’t know. I like exposing my kids to things like this that they don’t quite understand.

We saw the group of walkers making their way down the beach and quickly parked so we could join in. We caught the group at the turn-around point where they were going to head back to the starting point. I walked up behind my friend and gave her the hug. When she saw my face, her body relaxed into the hug and I knew the effort had been 150% worth it. Really, we were only there for a short time and then it became apparent that a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old at the beach would not be still or silent. I beamed love down the beach to my friend from afar. It felt like such a small thing I could do to bring more love into our lives.

Do you attend and participate in funerals or wakes?

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Two Hundred Ninety Seven: Allegiance

“In every marriage more than a week old there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage.”  – Robert Anderson
Saturday, October 25th
There aren’t many things that can tarnish a birthday party at a warehouse filled with bouncy castles, but divorce is one of them.
My daughter and I went to a birthday party today for the son of one of my best friends. This boy is sweet and kind, and it is completely unfair that he is in the middle of a not-quite-amicable split. In past years, I have attended his parties and have tried to converse with his father without much luck. This year, I couldn’t do it. I know too many personal things about this person and I just had no initiative to find the small talk entry point.
And there’s something about showing allegiance to my friend. I know that there are mistakes made on both sides during the dissolution of a relationship, but that is not my focus. I want her to know that I have her back and I won’t judge her.
How do you support a friend going through a divorce?
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Two Hundred Fifty Four: The Simplicity and the Complexity of Love

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

Friday, September 12th

Many years ago, my husband and I were pondering why we didn’t have a network of friends around us. We knew we were great people; why weren’t others seeing that too?

I jest, but we really were wondering why it was so hard to make friends that shared common values and ideas about life. It came down to how much we were putting ourselves out there. We didn’t take ballroom dancing lessons. We weren’t in a service organization. We simply weren’t coming across the scads of people it is necessary to meet in order to find the gems.

Slowly we opened ourselves to new opportunities. Husband started a band. I started attending parenting meet-ups and studying non-credit classes. When I took the opportunity to enjoy llifelong learning I met others who weren’t waiting for life to happen them. I met people who inspired me and I started to feel less vulnerable. My more confident self was free to open up and offer more of myself to others, and that continues to bring more and more love into my life.

How do you make yourself available to others?

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Two Hundred Twenty: Girl Date!

“If you have crazy friends you have everything.”  – Anonymous

Saturday, August 9th

Today was my day to celebrate my 40th birthday with my friends, and it felt like the celebration almost wouldn’t happen!

I’d struggled to find the right date a few weeks back. I invited a few close friends. And I waited to see if anyone was hook-line-and sinker for the gig.

My first plan was to go rockhounding in Ellensburg. There is a stone called an “Ellensburg Blue” or an “E Blue” – an agate with a cloudy ethereal hue – found only in this area. Sadly, the owner of the ranch (open for rockhounding E Blues) was scoring and timing for the junior rodeo trials. It was not meant to be. I switched gears and decided to head southwards to Chehalis and Olympia. I didn’t find too much information about rockhounding in Chehalis and started to feel nervous that I didn’t have a definite site to work from. Then my best friend texted a week ago and told me that her mother had suffered a tragic fall and had broken her elbow in addition to a couple other sprains. She was put on the list for surgery but kept getting bumped due to emergency traumas. There was no way she could leave her mother in that state alone.

As flakey as it was, I couldn’t go through with the Chehalis plans. I know to follow my intuition; something just felt off about these plans. I went to bed and woke up with the a brand spanking new plan – a visit to 40 of my favorite things in this city! I didn’t need to drive halfway across the state; I could stay here and do all the things that were tough to do with kids in tow. Jaclyn picked me up and then we headed over to Holly’s place. Three was a nice number. These two friends had never met or hung out before but I had faith that it wouldn’t feel awkward. It went much better than that; they totally clicked. After a beach visit, some geode cracking, and a visit to the antique mall, my two besties were well on their way to bonding too. Yeah!

We still had multiple neighborhoods to visit. I deliberately did not hold a sincere expectation that we’d reach every stop. Unexpected stops would pop up that I hadn’t planned on. The best part about it was that there were long stretches of great conversation – on the beach, at the noodle restaurant, in the lounge, and at the park – and this really brought me closer to both women. By 7 pm, I was exhausted and felt a walk to the top of the water tower would be a great last stop. We could see over the treetops and to the water – a different perspective that was everything that I’d been looking for.

What is your idea of a perfect celebration with friends?

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