Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ode to True Friends

This is from the September Dare to Blossom newsletter:

Reflections: Ode to True Friends

During August I have been taking part in my second course with Fiona Robyn, whose website (Writing Our Way Home) I have mentioned before. The Writing Ourselves Alive course has been an amazing experience sharing written thoughts and pieces of work with a group of people scattered all around the world. We have learnt a little about each other's lives, and a lot about ourselves. The support offered in very different ways by the participants to each person and to the group has been amazing, and all brought together and facilitated by Fiona in a compassionate and inspiring way.

I wanted to share with you a reflective piece I wrote during this time, as you are also all true friends.

Ode to true Friends

Today I am celebrating true friends, past and present. Those I see regularly, those I have never met but share lives with however briefly. And those in between, we just pick up the phone and talk, the gap of weeks, months or years is nothing at all.
All of you bring different gifts, each your special and unique quality. We share confidences, thoughts, fears, deep secrets from the past, that often we have told no one else, ever. Things we can't, or won't, talk to our families about.
Yesterday, you and I, Maria, shared a magical, wonderful day on the beach. That huge, huge beach that in a storm (winter or summer) has thundering atlantic rollers crashing in. That summer, welcoming beach that yesterday was populated with the ranks of coloured windbreaks, each a temporary encampment for a family.
We walked and talked, talked and walked. Down the beach towards the receding low tide, passing the lifeguard station to check the tide really was going out (and will we ever know why that lifeguard was being filmed in a black curly wig and false moustache??!!)
We walked and talked all along to the far end of the huge, huge beach. Visiting the ancient cave with the coloured mineralised walls, marvelling at the power of the rocks and the even greater power of the sea to erode them.
We talked and walked: through our past, sharing our present, and on into visualising our future. We listened in turn to each other as we paced side by side. Leaving the family-packed beach behind, passing a few people, with seemingly endless space on each side of us - to be free, to be honest, to voice thoughts and ideas we did not know we were thinking until they were shared.
We walked and wondered at who had made the mermaid sculpture out of flotsam up on the sand dunes, you said what a masculine-seeming mermaid it was, very strong, and we laughed at the two orange floats on her chest - bright orange boobs.
We talked and walked right to the end of the beach where the cliffs that dwarfed us turned and joined the sea. We also turned and met our footsteps coming towards us. We passed them again, a symbol of the talking already done, of our movement forward from some of those past concerns. We smiled as we passed for the second time the line someone had drawn in the sand: "Finishing Line" the big letters read
We shared lunch and talked and laughed and talked some more. Families and work and friends, old and new. We felt our absent companion who was unable to join us, and celebrated our three-way friendship this year, so special, so much a soul family. Celebrating the times we have held the space and leaned in for each other, most often when we were physically coping with a big challenge by ourselves, but not alone. Never alone while your spiritual support is there. Deep thanks to you Maria and Anna.
Thinking of our wider family of friends past and present, some in our lives for a day, some a year or so, some for ever.
Maria, I still have the fridge magnet you gave me:
"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart." (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Thank you to everyone reading this: you have all left footprints in my heart.

For you: some suggestions for your journal or meditation reflections:

If it appeals to you, write a letter to someone (or something) you appreciate. This could be someone you love, or someone you don't like very much - appreciating the gifts they bring into your life in the challenges they offer you. It could be a place, a plant, a favourite book. Have fun, and you may be surprised at what you learn. You may be able to share the letter with a person you have written to, or may be not, either way it is a valuable exercise.