Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Power of Friendships

Meeting with two dear friends this week (one on Thursday evening, the night my partner was in a motorcycle accident) and the other today, reminded me of how important it is that we nurture our relationships.

It's never quite like childhood again - where you could count on seeing your friends every day at school...or when you knew that the neighborhood kids would almost always be up for playing on the weekends.

As children, we are so good at forming, developing, and nurturing friendships. When I was in school, we chatted on the phone so much when we weren't actually together doing "something," even if that something was simply sitting around together talking and laughing.

As we get older, many of us naturally begin to feel drawn to someone who becomes our partner. Some of us go on to expand the love by creating a family.  Then the little family world becomes self-inclusive.  We notice that we no longer have as close of ties with friends as we once did.  It is natural, of course, for they, too have started to go in different directions - new relationships, jobs, locations, family issues.

It will unlikely ever be as easy as it was to maintain close, long-term friendships as it was when we were children.  As adults, it takes commitment, motivation, and the willingness to make time in order to nurture our relationships.

With a recent passing in my family, a new job, and a new kitten, I was pretty much m.i.a. for about 6 weeks.  I was so busy that I barely had time to respond to emails or texts, let alone to return a phone call.  People who cared about me were a little bit worried, and they also felt a bit hurt.  After some communication, though, it became clear as to how several major shifts at once had contributed to my lack of responsiveness, and firm plans were finally made.

On Thursday night, my dear friend and I breathed together. We walked together. We had dinner together.  We laughed. I did a little bit of crying. She did a lot of supporting. We visited my partner in the hospital together. It was one of those amazing summer evenings that I wish my partner could have been out enjoying with us, but he was laid up in the hospital, hurt and alone. My friend helped us to both feel better, and she reminded me of the need to be sure I was taking good care of myself so that I would be able to help my partner.  I feel so blessed to have her in my life. She practiced pranayama with me and didn't even know it - or maybe it was more like big belly sighs. Ahhhhh.   ☺  We discussed the importance of our relationship, how much it means to both of us, and, once we were shocked by the updates we were giving each other last Thursday evening (WHAT? That happened and I am just hearing about it NOW?), we decided to get on a once a week phone call plan and to make it our intention to use that time to stay connected.  I am so happy about this.

Today, I spent the morning with one of my Yoga teachers, who is also my friend.  We spoke openly, in mutual respect, about a myriad of things.  We attended a very relaxing and meditative 90-minute restorative Yoga class. It was so nice to be on the mat next to her, with her being a receiver and participant, able to enjoy the class. Every other time we've been together in a Yoga environment, she's been the teacher and I've been the student. It was really nice to practice with her, side-by-side, as friends. We then went on a nice walk and had a great heart-to-heart discussion.

This was followed by lunch, and the weather could not have been more perfect. It was warm with a very gentle breeze. We sat outside overlooking a lake, eating delicious Tex-Mex food. We were laughing at how ferociously hungry we both were and how we devoured the chips and salsa so fast that we began to have "food anxiety" as to whether the waiter would refill our items quickly enough for us.   We talked about the universal issue of feeling insecure and the different places it could stem from, and how simply reviewing a situation from a positive, loving perspective (instead of from a place of fear) can really help us to see that we often worry that people are thinking things about us or doing things with regards to us, and most of it is just monkey mind - insecure chatter that is so far from the truth of reality.

Mark Twain once said, "I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened."

So many of our worries never manifest or never were issues to worry about to begin with.  In conferring  with friends,  we are reminded that we are not alone. We are more alike than we are different. And we can't and should not go it alone.

I am so thankful for my friends and loved ones, and I wish you the feeling of peace in a network of people that you feel connected with. May those relationships be nurtured and enjoyed, as I continue to have happen in mine.

Debbie aka Sulilo

Photo of Teenage Girls from People Magazine.
Be Happy image is from PhotoLog.

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