Archives for category: Friendship

‘May the Light of God surround you,

the Love of God enfold you,

the Power of God protect you,

the Wisdom of God counsel you,

the Peace of God permeate you,

the Grace of God heal you,

the Presence of God watch over you.’


‘Mindful choosing of friends and lovers, not to mention teachers, is critical to remaining conscious, remaining intuitive, remaining in charge of the fiery light that sees and knows.’ 

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

On my 30th birthday, with my lover MIA, my family distracted by their own living, and my baby with his dad,  an extraordinary friend danced with me across the anomalous sand dunes of a high mountain valley under the lucid watch of a full moon.

On my 35th birthday, with my heart breaking, my certainty failing, and my questions compounding, a luminous friend bounded with me along a secluded back-packing trail in full view of the surf and stars, illuminated and elusive.

These are the kinds of women I know and love.  The sort that I stumble upon occasionally and who are so precious and rare that I cannot let them go.

They are brilliant, bold and brave.  They challenge me and themselves to greater being and so I collect them into my heart and life.

Being as exceptional as they are, they are an uncommon find, and so are scattered across continents and cultures.

This dispersion is the reverse of most collecting and it can be difficult to care for a collection like this.

I was reminded this week that I want to be more diligent and attentive to its care.

I recently ran into a lovely woman I know (my partner’s ex, mother to his step-daughter) in the grocery store.  She was clearly in a delicate state, one I have known well in recent months.

Fruits and juices and other edibles falling out of her overloaded arms, I went to help her and saw that she also clutched onto a large book, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, a fantastic folklorist and seductive storyteller.

I commented that I was glad J (the partner) had given it to her.  (He had recently picked it up for me at a flea market, but as I already own a well-tattered and marked up copy, I suggested he give it to her.)

She responded by saying that actually, she had just now bought it at the thrift store next door and that he hadn’t yet mentioned it to her.

The synchronicity struck me.

I haven’t read the book in years, and here it was coming up twice in as many weeks, and just when I have been feeling isolated, disconnected and alone.

(For those who haven’t read it, it is an amazing read about female archetypes and the collective spirit that runs through and fortifies the feminine.)

I promptly suggested that we read it together and put together a discussion group.

I know of a couple other women right now who are moving through their days with heavy burdens and unknown futures.  Each time I see them, I hug them and suggest that we get together… but we never do.

Today, I am making the deliberate decision to pull out the duster and polish up the somewhat neglected collection of amazing women that I already have.  I am writing letters of love and appreciation and creating art to reflect the color they bring to my spirit.

I am also taking conscious actions to add to that collection, here, where I am now.

I am going to gather together my tribe that we may teach each other and strengthen each other and care for each other.  There are remarkable women out there and I am going to make them mine!

‘If we are going to love others at all, we must make up our minds to love them well.’  

~ Thomas Merton

‘Counting is the religion of this generation, it is its hope and its salvation.’
~Gertrude Stein

A couple of years ago, my roommate, another friend and I were trying to understand our individual relationship patterns and why it was they were not working for us.

Loverly L (the roommate/most treasured friend) suggested an activity in which we would list all of the characteristics that we wanted in a partner.  We would then slowly and methodically narrow them down to four,  the four most essential traits that our perfect partner would have to possess.

The idea was that perhaps we were settling, not necessarily for less than what society prescribes for a good partner, but settling in a way in which we were unknowingly compromising our personal values and desires.

Maybe if we consciously identified what we valued most in a partner and were to look for those things, then other traits, either frustratingly missing or present, may appear to be less significant.

For some reason I was unable to make this list.  As I later tried to complete it on my own, what I realized was that I am less concerned with personality traits than I am with relationship traits.

I find that, given the absence of psychopathy or mental deficiency, most people understand and are able to choose desirable behaviors when they want to.  When they want to be honest they are, when they want to be respectful they are, when they want to be attentive they are… when they don’t care, well…

People choose to behave in valued ways when they value the situation in which they find themselves.

Furthermore, I have no control over the behaviors another person chooses.  However, I do have control over what kind of relationship I am working to create.

The answer then seemed to be to create a context that is equally appreciated by myself and my partner, so that, on our own, we would each choose to behave in the ways that honor the relationship and each other.

I attempted the exercise once again and ultimately came up with four Core Traits that I wished to characterize my next relationship – Equity, Intimacy, Stimulation and Purpose.

Now it may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am an over-achiever.  And so I had to further explore what each of these concepts meant to me, discovering their subtleties and the expanse of their possible connotations…

  • Equity: balanced, respectful, reliable, generous, attentive, trustworthy, responsive, tender, sheltering, an exchange, supportive, holistic, integrated…
  • Intimacy: physical/emotional/spiritual closeness, conscious, present, nurturing, safe, affectionate, kind, generous, open, honest, aware, respectful, caring, compassionate, grateful, protective, joyful…
  • Stimulation: intellectual, communicative, spontaneous, exciting, interesting, surprising, educational, growing, challenging, adventurous, curious, creative, inquiring, wonder-filled, experimental, experiential…
  • Purpose: intentional, self-aware, centered, service-oriented, present, accountable, spiritual, conscious, empowering, prosperous…

Then I met my partner.

Does it still drive me crazy when his lateness makes me late?  Absolutely.

Does he hate the fact that I always turn off my ringer?  Pretty certain that’s a yes.

Are there other issues that I had no way of foreseeing?  Obviously.

But having this list has provided a good place to establish agreement on the form our relationship takes.  It has given a stable foundation on which we can build.  And it has provided a clear focal point to which we can return whenever we are uncertain…

‘Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.’
~  Alfred North Whitehead

The lovely, Modern Miracle Me , has recently nominated my blog for a Kreativ Blogger Award.   As I have said in gratitude to her, I am humbled that anyone would take the time to read my random musings, and am incredibly honored to have them recognized by a peer in such a way…

The Award is designed to encourage more sharing, both of oneself and of the other amazing talent that can be found in the blogosphere.

As a condition of acceptance, I am to tell you ten (10) previously unknown facts about myself and then point you in the direction of at least six (6) bloggers who deserve this same acknowledgment.

So…

  1. I listen to Foreign Language tapes when I am feeling insomnic.
  2. I can’t do dishes without wearing dishgloves.
  3. I am in love with trees.
  4. Sometimes when I use sugar-scrub, I forget if I’ve washed my hair.
  5. I find hilarity in the ironic – and have (? regrettably?) passed this on to my son.
  6. I am considering anarchy (the pacifist, feminist kind).
  7. I am a nerd.  (A little cheat, as that may have been known…)
  8. I can’t drink out of plastic cups.
  9. Such things as canyons, tractors and mechanical schematics turn me on.
  10. If you run into me on the street wearing an interestingly textured shirt, I am likely to ask if I can touch you…
And then…

The following are some bloggers I greatly admire.  I am a linguist (oh, #11!) and language and its usage are important to me.  These writers know that words are like paint, and create true art.  Thank you to each of them and to you for offering them your kind appreciation!!

‘Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention.  Friendship is always an act of recognition.  (…)  There is an awakening between you, a sense of ancient knowing.’   ~John O’Donohue

My anam cara… my soul friend… is falling away from me.  He chooses it.

My ex.  The best proof I have of ethereal connection.

Seven years.  Seven difficult years, full of sadness and heartache and the discovery of deep, eternal love.

We can’t be together.  Our relationship had, quite possibly, more endings than it ever had true beginnings.

 ‘The End’ (2 years ago) revealed itself as an incredible teacher.  I learned more about myself, my fears, my wants, my defenses… in the reflective epoch following, than I had the entire time we were together. –  It works that way, doesn’t it?

And I learned that the greatest value in the relationship was not in a desired future together nor in memories past, but in our ability to always return to our friendship.  In the knowledge that this person who, having seen me at my absolute worst and therefore, perhaps, knowing me the best, would always be present for me and I for him.  That he was an anam cara, a soul friend.

Today, though, I find myself questioning the ability to maintain an intimate friendship.  Is it possible to support and care for and protect one another and our friendship as we each move deeper into other intimacies?

Why are we taught that emotional and intellectual and spiritual intimacy belong only in conjunction with romantic/sexual intimacy?  That outside of that, it can actually threaten romantic intimacy?

Is it possible for me to keep this relationship, this friend of my heart and soul?  Or do even ethereal connections eventually dissolve when subjected to physical laws?