DINK #264 What I’ve Learned From My Friends This Week

Posted on : 11-12-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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1.) I’ve learned how to “pay it forward” by being there for someone in their really desperate time of need just like someone was there for me when I was in mine;

2.) That I’m not quite as unique as I’d like to think that I am–there’s usually at least one friend who has “been there, done that” just like I have;

3.) They seem to appreciate me even more when I’m honest about the Navajo thread running through my life;

4.) We can laugh at the absurdity of ourselves and of life;

5.) Boundaries are innate and respected;

6.) We know just what to say to each other to help lighten the burden;

7.) They know what words we meant to say to go with which story even if the word we used has nothing to do with the story we’re talking about;

8.) We feel supported in even the most hair brained idea we’ve come up with lately;

9.) There is a mutual flow of love happening that is easy to give and easy to receive;

10.) That I am very, very grateful for the friends that I have in my life and will never take our friendship for granted.

DINK #208 Make New Friends But Keep The Old One is Silver And The Other Is Gold

Posted on : 14-10-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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When I was a Girl Scout way back when (yes, I was a Girl Scout!)…. there was a song that we learned to sing in rounds when we went on overnight camp outs which was, “Make new friends but keep the old one is silver but the other is gold”.  It’s a good thought to keep in mind especially if you’re extroverted and meeting new people all the time.  One of the positive things about getting older is that if you play your cards right and you’re lucky, you’ll have quite a few friends who you’ve known over many years and who you’ve weathered and enjoyed many experiences with during that time.  Course that also means that they have a lot that they can hold over your head…. but that’s another blog entirely!

Today one of my “gold” friends got married for the first (and only!) time at the ripe young age of 50 plus!  I’ve known Jeri since I was 17 when I met her when I came to live with Jeri’s sister and her Dad the summer after we graduated out of high school.  Jeri was the “big little sister” back then. Big because she was 5 years older than us and little because she was shorter and skinnier than us too!  First of all, you have to know that the boarding school that Jeri’s sister, Janice, and I had just graduated from was very conservative and many of the kids came from families with lots of money. Janice and I were used to getting up every morning for school and dressing to kill with hair, make-up and clothes perfect — just for school!  Then came the summer after we graduated.  I spent half of the summer as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor in Utopia, Texas but left mid-way through due to a rotten case of poison ivy (well, that and I really missed my boyfriend and friends!).  I don’t remember quite how we convinced my parents that it made good sense for me to go live with Janice and her Dad, but somehow they let me and so it was off to Houston.  Jeri and Janice’s Dad had actually been a rocket scientist and had just begun what would become a very successful t-shirt printing business.  I wanted to give you this context for when I tell you about meeting Jeri for the first time.  You have to understand that both Jeri and Janice (and their other sister Judy) were, well, I guess it wouldn’t be putting it too lightly to say that they were wild girls and hilarious.  I don’t think Jeri had been home for a while because she was living with her boyfriend out of a truck that they had made into camper that fit on the back bed.  Jeri’s boyfriend was a musician in a popular band and so she was usually off traveling with the band.  Anyway, I just remember her being so funny and that she sounded so much like Janice. It was my mission to get them both talking at the same time and laughing that same great laugh.

It had become a weekend routine for Janice and I to “borrow” her Dad’s El Dorado Convertible Cadillac and drive down to the Galveston Yacht Club to sleep on the Yacht and party during the days.   Jeri decided to join us one weekend so I will forever remember her image from then in this way, John Lennon round shaped lenses held together with baggie ties because her frames had broken and a bathing suit bottom on top of her head to keep her hair from blowing everywhere as we drove with the top down.  I knew this girl had to become my friend with that kind of chutzpah!

And of course Jeri and her husband, Perry, would want to get married on 10/10/10.  David and I took off in the early afternoon and drove up to Castell, Texas, which is a nice, little, little town (village?) tucked away near the Llano River.  Turns out that one of my very good friends, Vicki, that I made in Austin about 20 years ago is married to a man, Steven, who is one of Jeri’s oldest and best guy friends.  It was fun to get to visit with them at the outdoor chapel and then watch Jeri get married and visit with Janice and her husband Roger afterward.  It’s funny to think that Vicki is one of my newer friends at 20 years but when you think that I’ve known Jeri and Janice since I was 16, well let’s just say they are indeed “golden”.

Do people change over the years? Oh sure they do, you have haven’t you?  Do you “keep” all the friends you’ve ever made? No, sometimes we just naturally evolve away from each other.  It’s equally as important to appreciate both kinds of friendships from the ones who “knew you when” and the ones who “know you now”.  Friends can be our markers for who we were and how much we have grown in addition to all the other gifts that we get from our friendships.

Who are your friends today? Do you have friends that you’ve known a long time as well as some good new ones that you’ve made along the way?

DINK #204 Us Versus Them

Posted on : 10-10-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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My best friend in college (hello Cynthia!) is part Syrian and part Irish. Yes, she is a true fireball and has always attracted people to her spirit like bees to honey. I remember when we’d go to her parent’s home for the weekend; there was always a huge amount of activity between her four brothers and parents. I remember there always been great food from Tahini to Babaganoush to Grape leaves stuffed with goodies. Usually on Saturday mornings during our second cup of coffee while half way reading the paper, someone would inevitably start up a dialogue about something. When the conversation escalated into a debate the voices got louder of course but all in good fun. Cynthia’s dad would act like he was really serious about something as he waved his hands in the air but then if you caught his eye you’d see the gleam of happiness and he might wink back at you.

Fast-forward a few decades when I met my husband who is Israeli. I remember the first time I visited his family in Israel, we went over to his grandmother’s home to enjoy Shabbat with his mother’s side of the family. There was at least 25 people walking around grabbing chairs, tablecloths and silverware and making the finishing touches to the meal, which included Tahini, Babaganoush and stuffed Grape leaves. It was during the meal as the discussions got going and opinions got louder that I had a strong sense of Déjà vu. When one of David’s uncles who had been talking the loudest, turned to me with a happy gleam in his eye and winked…I definitely knew I had been here before.

Over the past three years I’ve made friends with many Baha’i, several of which escaped from Iran during the Khomeini regime. Again, I feel a strong connection with their culture because of the level of their passion for life and each other and because they are so fully engaged in the art of living. The common theme that I have experienced in all of these people is a depth of passion and love that we don’t often express in the culture where I grew up. At the same time, I have grown up with a level of trust about most of the people who live in my country that I don’t think my husband’s parents or my friend’s parents grew up with.

Somewhere in all of these experiences are the building blocks for a bridge between the communication gap of warring cultures. I know that the desire for mediating peaceful communication is huge in me, I have been told that I’ve expressed that since I was pre-verbal (yes, Freud would have had a hay day with me). So since I’m probably not going to be mediating warring countries to sit down and talk out their differences, at least not today, what I can do is take this passion and look into my own day-to-day life to see where I can help create peace in my own world.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see”

What change will you be today?

DINK #137 Friendship vs. Social Media

Posted on : 06-08-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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It’s pretty interesting to me that there seems to be a real up swell of activity and interest in defining what “true friendship” means in relationship to all the social media that is available to us today. Apparently some people start from the point of view that we humans were experiencing real connectedness and true friendship before technological advancements and now the evil social media and technology is stifling and preventing these friendships from growing, maturing or even occurring in some cases.

All the advancements that we are experiencing through technology in social media is not the evil doers, it is the users who decide how it will be used and in what capacity. If it is in the makeup of our brains, hearts and egos to delve into the superficial relationships that social media affords us, then that is what we will do. If, on the other hand, we are willing to make the investment in ourselves and others towards growing intimate connections with other people, we will do that to with or without social media. All that social media has done is offered us more layers to dive into acquaintanceships or friendships whether it is shallow or deep.

The kind of friendships I enjoy today are ones where we help each other to grow as people, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For me, true friendships are the ones where you have each others back no matter what, that you accept the good with the bad and where you are willing to step out on the emotional ledge of uncomfortableness to be honest in what you see in each other, no matter how good or bad.

Author John O’Donohue talks about The Kalyana-Mitra in this way, “The Buddhist tradition has a lovely concept of friendship, the notion of the Kalyana-mitra, the noble-friend. Your Kalyana-Mitra, your noble friend, will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. No one can see his life totally. As there is a blind spot in the retina of the human eye, there is also in the soul a blind side where you are not able to see. Therefore you must depend on the one you love to see for you what you cannot see for yourself. Your Kalyana-mitra compliments your vision in a kind and critical way. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.”

In other words, a true friendship is one that can weather both friends seeing the other as clearly as they are able–good and bad—and their reflection is received gladly from the other. I have friends like this and I am eternally grateful for their ability to see the me that I am unable to see.

My experience using social media is that it can be a wonderful tool to grow friendships if you already have the internal tools in place to know how to grow friendships. Social media is just a tool, it is not a result.

Now I’m going to turn off my pc for the day and go enjoy the rest of Sunday with my very true friend, my husband. I hope you will go enjoy the day with a very true friend or explore what true friendship means for you.