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The Power of Friendship

She was my best friend. We would hike in the woods together along worn pathways exploring, me in the trees as she wound her way over the forest floor. We would do homework together and celebrate birthdays. We would nap together, me leaning in to her as her large body reclined on the floor. Her name was Betsy and she was my horse when I was 16 years old. She was my true first love.

She didn’t speak English. She spoke love. I learned to speak love during our time together. I also learned to trust and the power of vulnerability. Betsy was another teacher in my life, coming in with an unknown agenda and leaving with a punch that I’ve never forgotten. The power of friendship is everlasting, deep and life-changing. Friendship offers me time to get to know myself while relating to someone else. Friendship serves as a mirror into my soul.

During an inner visualization around a fire circle about a year ago, I called in my guides and angels and those beings who are around me for my highest and best good. She was there standing next to my dear dogs. She proudly stood tall with her black mane and tale and brown body, all lined up by size. It was comical to see all my friends, and moved me to tears.

Friendships from past and present touch my heart and make a difference in who I am, how I relate to others and help define what I want. With every deep friendship no matter with who, we laugh and cry, feel pain and joy, and learn who we are from the inside out.

Forget about enlightenment By: John Welwood

Sit down wherever you are

And listen to the wind singing in your veins.

Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.

Open your heart to who you are, right now,

Not who you would like to be,

Not the saint you are striving to become,

But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.

All of you is holy.

You are already more and less

Than whatever you can know.

Breathe out,

Touch in,

Let go.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Usually when I do this, I am kneeling on the floor and it gets quite uncomfortable as you can imagine. My first response to the discomfort is to focus, focus on your body, focus on your core, get your breath down, just stay put. And I allow myself to stretch a little bit but nothing else. During the meditation today, I realized I am so distracted by the discomfort. Why am I making myself do this? Maybe I should just shift and get comfortable so that I can actually focus on my breathing. Interesting to see that mind, gotta do it right.

  • There’s no right, no wrong. You don’t deserve to be punished. This is all about love and honoring and gentleness.

  • Thank you. I sometimes wonder if I’m doing this meditation time right but I give myself permission to do what I want to do. Today, I wanted to focus on the story I am writing. At the beginning of the meditation, I put the story situation in my mind and I relaxed into it and opened my mind. The story unfolded in front of me. I love this quiet time when I’m not sitting at my computer and I can just hear. I appreciate this time and space you have created.

  • This is a tough week for me. Tomorrow is the anniversary of a family member’s death. And I could make myself do the shoulds and coulds and woulds, all these things. But I am working actively on giving myself what I need. I’ve cleared my calendar. I’ve committed to this meditation because it is an anchor. I have to take care of myself. I’m allowing myself to be gentle with myself and to be my own advocate.

  • I’m also grieving this week, a family member just passed away. This meditation has been hard for me this week. I went back to a version of my younger self. Maybe you’ve heard of this—you think about what you want to say to that younger self. I had a challenging relationship with this person. It was a great meditation to go back to my younger self and say that I am going to be okay and strong. The baggage from my childhood isn’t the baggage I need to carry with me. I’m trying to be strong and even though I’m conflicted about the relationship, I’m going to the funeral next week.

  • In terms of grief, I’ve found it was good for me to go back and reread the eulogy I wrote five years ago when a family member died. I was very conflicted about her death because we had a difficult relationship. I was there for the service. And when I reread it five years later, I realize how wise I was, that I could see the good memories. I couldn’t say the bad stuff in front of a whole congregation. If I did refer to it, it was light. That’s what it needs to be right now. We are the ones that need to move on. I wanted to share my soul collage card with the rooster. There is me grieving and the rooster is looking quizzically at me saying, “Is it time?” There is lots of light in the picture. The backdrop is holding the grief that is always there. It is quite a spiritual practice to create a soul collage card based on what I am feeling. You never know how it will turn out.

  • In the last year, I’ve come to terms with my father. As a child of the Depression, he felt the most important way to demonstrate love was to give us a secure childhood with no money worries. As a result, he worked very hard. He loved me the way he could with innovation and new things. I hope we can all work through these things and treasure the good things they did and shape us for the good.

  • I’m saying a goodbye – to my job today. It’s going to be tough to make the change but I am excited.

  • As soon as you talked about your horse, I felt the love, and it made me tearful. During the meditation, I thought about my animals which are such a comfort. I prayed for the two-footed and four-footed.

  • I want to thank you, what you shared taught me something important. Thank you for being candid. This is all about authenticity.

  • It’s not a coincidence I was drawn here today. Thank you for the reading and poem and everything. Sunday is my first birthday since a family member passed and eight years since two others died. I honor what you are doing. I still have to take time. There is still energy from the love and relationship and conflict and the trauma. And when we honor that within ourselves, and we are in community that honors it, that energy can be transmuted and composted and nurtured and enriched. And our lives can become enriched. And the world can become enriched. Last night, during meditation, I became aware that I still have the need for punishment. Punish myself for what? Becoming aware of my wish for punishment is a clue for me to work with. The blocks I experience in this universal love stems from my lack of the nurturance that I craved from my mother. I thank you. It’s my responsibility to provide that nurturance, and you are providing it, as well as hopefully I can for all of you.

  • My spiritual teacher, Matt Kahn is always saying we are our own advocates. He also says when a loved one dies, they merge with our hearts and stay in there forever. We may lose them in physical form but they are always present

  • The last line in the poem was: Breathe out, touch in, and let go. So many of us are in passageways now, are grieving because of death. That was a practice that was given today. Bless you all.

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