Tag Archives: friendship

Belonging

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It’s been interesting and heartwarming that through these last 8 1/2 months (wow… time doesn’t only fly when you are having fun; it also flies when you feel life falling apart) I’ve been introduced to a whole community of online women who are about peace, joy, harmony, growth, life, happiness, love, and all other forms of ooey-gooey goodness.

May I confess something? I’ve been extremely distrustful of females for a very long time. I’ve also been an untrustworthy female (let’s just keep it real). This is a generalization, so don’t be upset ladies. Sometimes, women can be incredibly hurtful to each other. We’ve all experienced it – our own version of Mean Girls – at one time or another. But over the course of a few years I’ve slowly gathered for myself a tribe of women who love me fiercely and unconditionally. They are honest, even when it hurts. They cheer for me, even when they are not enjoying success. They cry with me and hold my hand (even via Internet) when it’s all they can do. They laugh with me. They share their sadness with me. They trust me and I trust them back. It’s pretty fantabulous.

Can I confess something else? I wasn’t really ever picked for teams in sports (because I stink at sports). In fact, I was usually handed to the team with the last pick! As a general rule, I don’t go out of my way to join groups of any kind. So, over the last few months, I’ve been surprised to find myself drawn to groups… “clubs” if you will… and I’ve even been sought out to join some of them. It’s kinda been like being picked for a team. However, these groups don’t play games and there aren’t trophies and tournaments. They are, well, tribes. Yeah, I like that word! They are tribes of ladies who just want more ooey-gooey goodness in the world and want to be part of making changes in their own lives and the lives of others. They want to find more joy… I can say with some confidence that I don’t stink at that!

Tonight I’m just overflowing with thanks to the women who have shown me that down deep we are pretty darn good and we have the capacity to open our arms wide to people all over who might not be feeling peace, joy, harmony, growth, life, happiness, love, etc. It’s been nothing less than an honor to find myself among such lovely souls. Tonight I get mushy and send out virtual hugs, kisses, love, and much JOY to all of them.

Beautiful Tribes = Joy 

A Piece of My Heart… and My Joy

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I have several friends who experienced loss in the last couple of days. It makes me sad. I wish no one had to go through the darkness, the tears, the hurt, and the sadness that comes with loss. I also wish that I could just carry some of the hurt for others, especially those I know and love. Sadly, that would end up being a very heavy load for me, but it would also rob them of the gift that can come in the most trying of times.

In those months of facing the greatest loss I’ve ever known, I received the most wonderful gift. My heart opened and I became more understanding and more patient, more loving and more gentle. I know that sometimes we need to rant and rave and get mad about what’s happening to us. I know that sometimes we need to sit behind a closed door and cry until there are no more tears. I know that sometimes we need to laugh until our sides ache and we have new laugh lines on our faces. All the moments are okay and necessary in this wondrous, mysterious, completely crazy thing we call life. Finally, sometimes we need just a little something to keep us going for one more moment.

Today I keep it simple. I break off a little piece of the joy that I have and I give it to those friends who are in the middle of their hurting time. It’s just a small piece, but I give it freely. Take it and nurture it and let it grow. Look at what surrounds your loss, my friends, and see the memories. Reflect on the best moments, the brightest pictures in your mind, the warmest times in your heart. Hold them tightly along with the piece of joy I have given you and let them multiply.

Thinking of You = Joy

Joyful Creativity

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Art. It used to be part of my every day. I used to draw a lot, paint a little, and sculpted once or twice. I used to make pieces of jewelry with tiny seed beads and wire and stones. I used to make lovely little things out of paper and ink, leaving my hands gloriously messy. Then I got busy with other things – mainly life – and art projects and creativity began to take the back seat more regularly, then the trunk, then the dusty corner of the garage.

I’ve heard before that if you have a talent you should use it so you won’t lose it. I think there’s a degree of truth to that. Once upon a time I played the flute, but now I can’t even read music. Every now and then I will sit down and draw something, but it does feel a bit foreign and the pencil doesn’t create lines quite the way it used to in my hand.

One of my goals and dreams over the next year is to actively create. Drawing, painting, designing and, of course, writing. It’s a little scary, if I can be truthful. My son, Brian, is an incredible artist. His talent astounds me and makes me a little jealous. Okay, a lot jealous! But he has also been a source of encouragement. We’ve had a few talks about art and the practice of creativity. He’s admitted that it can be difficult for him too sometimes, to get the lines just right, especially when it’s been a while between creative periods.

Well, tonight I sat down to write a letter to my fairy princess pen pal. The other day she sent me the most beautiful card. It had hibiscus blossoms and leaves intricately cut by her hand on the edges of the paper. So pretty and the perfect accent to the words she penned, which brought tears to my eyes! So, what did I decide to create in return? A skull… But she loves skulls. Really, she does! I sat at my desk and got out my pens and started designing a sugar skull with her in mind, putting in a few small touches that I hope will make her happy because they reflect pieces of her I find endearing.

It was great to get my hands messy again, even on something as simple as a hand-drawn card. Creativity is one of the greatest gifts we have, in my opinion. It takes on many forms, art being one of my favorites. Finding our expression through art is marvelous. Seeing the world through the eyes of other artists can be moving, in breathtaking or unpleasant ways, bringing all sorts of emotions to the surface.

My little sugar skull is by no means a masterpiece, but tonight just the simple act of creating it brought me happiness and joy. My goal is to find joy in every little thing. This little thing counts.

A Little Art = Joy

Nurturing

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“As you go through life, you will discover that more and more of the subjects you studied in college are useless, with the exception of abnormal psychology.” ~Mark Bricklin, journalist

I laughed the first time I read that quote and promptly sent it to my friend, Terri, a psychology professor. Of course she appreciated it more than most people…probably more than I did. My college career was short. It lasted a month. But I still have my books and the Internet, and I’m just nerdy enough to use both and learn what I missed anyway. However, this isn’t about college or even about that quote. It’s about my friend.

Terri and I met because Brian was very extroverted and could not help talking to people at neighboring tables whenever he went out. He struck up a conversation with Terri one day at the coffee and donut shop where I worked. They chit-chatted and eventually I met Terri as well. She is one of those people magnets, someone you meet and instantly like, with a completely genuine personality, interest in others, and a laugh that I can still hear in my head when I think about her.

She and I clicked from the beginning. We would go out for a glass of wine or a nice dinner together and just talk. I’ve mentioned her before and I think I talked about how she and I could move from silly to serious topics with ease. We shared our experiences growing up and life as it was at that time too (sometimes it definitely involved abnormal psychology). I opened up about painful times and she always listened with an intensity…she wasn’t just hearing, she was truly listening with her ears, her head, and her heart. We would talk through things and I always came away feeling more grounded and better able to look at life.

When I enrolled in school I signed up for her psychology class, though it was online so I didn’t have the privilege of seeing her in the classroom. I loved that class. I learned lessons that I have used many times since having to quit school. I thought of Terri again the other day as I was digging around in boxes for some books. I found my psychology book and notes in that box. Terri and I have both been busy so we haven’t talked much over the summer, except for an email or quick text here and there.

That, along with a lovely blog post by a new friend reminded me of the importance of friendships and how they have to be nurtured or they wither and fade away. I have a close circle of friends, not a huge group. I can’t manage that many people! A few live in the area so I can see them face to face. Others are far away, hundreds and even thousands of miles. Tonight I was able to chat with some wonderful friends in Florida, to see their smiling faces and watch their little girl walking and giggling. What a pleasure! I’m thankful for technology that allows me to still see people sometimes, but at the very least hear their voices or receive messages. Yet, I neglect to care for my friends like I should, to just check in and see what’s going on for no good reason at all…except that I love them. Hmm, that’s actually a great reason.

As I’m getting organized for work and the school year, setting up my schedule and planning my days, I’m remembering to carve out time for other important things like connecting with friends, whether it means big things like booking plane tickets and taking road trips, or making phone calls and Skyping. Life gets busy and it is easy to take people for granted, to let time slip away and not connect – really connect – with those we care about. So, to Terri and my sweet circle of friends, I promise to take better care of our relationships, to water them, feed them, and tend to them so they will flourish.

Flourishing Friendships = Joy

The Golden Gate

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The Golden Gate Bridge is much smaller than I envisioned. No, I wasn’t disappointed when I saw it for the first time. It’s still an impressive structure; I had just built it up in my mind to be colossal. I also found it to be more beautiful. Yes, concrete and steel can be quite beautiful.

My first full day in San Francisco, I went to Land’s End for a morning hike. Chai latte in hand and light jacket protecting me from the sea breezes, I started along the trail, talking with a good friend and enjoying the sights and sounds of a new place. We rounded corners and came upon views of the ocean, the fog still settled after rolling in the night before. We heard the fog horn at regular intervals, warning of the bridge that lay ahead for boats passing nearby. At one point my friend smiled and said, “Do you see it?” I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and I think I had a quizzical look on my face. He kind of laughed and then I saw it: the Golden Gate Bridge had appeared over the fog! I snapped pictures of it as we continued along the trail. As the morning wore on, the fog unveiled more and more of the bridge, its rusty red color in contrast to the pale blue sky. It’s one of those sights you can’t get enough of. There is just something wonderful about that bridge.

Bridges, in general, are pretty cool. They connect us to places we otherwise might not venture. I may not have gone to Key West if it weren’t for the bridges connecting all the keys from Miami to that crazy, wonderful town. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay is a favorite of mine too, and I recall another foggy day when I crossed the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. I love being outdoors and crossing natural and manmade bridges, even the rickety ones that leave you holding your breath with each step. Those are actually some of the most fun. We probably don’t give a lot of thought to bridges, at least I didn’t until the day I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then I was kind of grateful that someone decided a bridge needed to be there. I could probably get very deep here and talk about how bridges connect people and places, unifying us. No, I’m thinking a lot simpler than that.  That day a bridge surprised me as it came into view through the fog, adding a great snapshot to my memory bank. It took me on a quick trip to Sausalito where I had the best sammich I’ve ever tasted. Something small and silly, but something really special too. Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge brought me joy… joy in seeing the awesome structure itself, joy in seeing tourists get excited about a 1.7-mile chunk of steel,  joy in driving over a piece of history, and joy in a simple thing like a sandwich.

Bridges = Joy