Monthly Archives: February 2010

Friends

Friend [frend] –noun; 1) a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; 2) a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter; 3) a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.

Yikes – “a person who is not hostile.” Really? I don’t think I’d include that in my definition of the word friend. Would you? But it’s a question that is worth asking. How do you define a friend?

We have so many friends in our lives that fill myriad roles. There are those that we can call when we want to go out for all-night dancing, and those that we call when we want to chill in a coffee shop or living room for hours discussing the many facets of our lives and the lives of others. There are even those who we simply like to jog or bike with. And then there’s everything in between. There’s a saying I think many of you are familiar with: People come into our lives for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.

Our friends can pretty much be categorized in this way. Some are always in our lives, others come and go, as they are needed – or we are needed. And still others are passing through our lives like trains in a station. And the best thing is – it’s always perfect.

I was recently reminded of the perfection of friendship, and I am filled with gratitude for this loving reminder. In high school and college I referred to my friends as my family. And just like families, relationships grow, change and evolve over time. Nobody is in the same place at the same time, especially as we grow older. When we’re younger, we’re pretty much going through many of the rites of passage together. But as we get older our challenges and experiences become more varied. We may not always understand one another as well as we once did – and that can, at times, feel disheartening. But it’s natural (and perfect) in its own emotional complexity. The beauty of friendship – and having friends with different backgrounds and experiences – is that we almost always have someone to call on for the different events in our life, which is the greatest blessing. And often times, we don’t even need to pick up the phone, because our friends know when to reach out to us when we need them. How great is that!?

Now here’s a question: How good of a friend are you to yourself? Do you regularly sit down with yourself and chill in a coffee house, or go biking, or go dancing? What about calling on yourself as your own best friend in times of despair or difficulty, or celebrating with yourself when you’ve achieved something? I know many of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We don’t make “dates” with our Self. I also know many of us don’t know how to do this, because we haven’t necessarily been taught that we can be our own friend. A “friend” is, by definition, “another person” – someone else.

But I’d like to challenge that idea. I would like everyone to take a look at themselves today, whether passing by a store window or looking in the mirror, and when you do I’d like you to say hello to your closest confidante, your bosom buddy – your new best friend. Why? Because there are times in our lives when we need to know that we can truly be alone, truly rely on ourselves, and truly be alright just as we are.

Friends are a blessing. They are a gift in our lives – one that can be nurtured, cultivated, and treasured. And, if we are blessed, we will always have our friends with us in one way or another. But sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned, and it is also a blessing to know that you can be your own best friend. That you can take a walk alone in the woods, or sit in a movie theatre or coffee shop by yourself, and know that you are with the best company in the world: you.

As I mentioned, this week I was reminded of the blessings of friendship, and I am so grateful. In writing this, I had planned only to discuss the gift of that reminder; but I detoured, and was also reminded of the joy of knowing that I am also my own friend. The peace and comfort that comes with that realization is immeasurable. So, I’ve received two huge reminders this week – and I share them now with you. My wish for you is that you will always be surrounded by your friends, you will always be open to new friendships, and your list of friends always includes You.

In Love and Light,

Martina

“Right” or “Wrong” – What is real?

To answer that, we need to ask: what is reality? Everybody has a different perception of reality. Do you know that in a room full of people, all witnessing the same exact event, you can end up with as many different reports on what happened as there were people in the room? Is this solely a matter of perspective? I can’t believe that is all there is to it. In fact, I believe something different.

I believe that our individual realities are wholly influenced by the sum of our personal experiences. That is to say that – whether you believe in reincarnation, or not – the sum total of everything our individual soul has experienced influences our perceptions. Therefore, reality is subject to interpretation. As such, it stands to reason that a lot of our miscommunications with others are caused by this convergence of multiple realities.

With that said, what is actually real? In asking that question, we are also asking “what can we count on?” I think a lot of us ponder this question on a regular basis – though it may be expressed differently. We know we can rely on ourselves (though at times even that may seem distant). But can we truly depend on anyone, or anything, else? The world has seen a lot of upheaval lately: the economy, natural disasters, violence, crime. That which we had assumed as stable and reliable – or real – didn’t always turn out to be. So, if the one thing we can almost always rely on is our self, what else can we do to bring balance to our lives and help bridge the gap between our reality and the realities of others around us?

It’s a classic case of “he said, she said.” Unfortunately, the fact that I can use the word “classic” in that sentence implies that it’s an all-too-common experience. We get caught up in our own personal stories (realities) and we act accordingly. More to the point, we REACT accordingly, especially when our pride gets involved. We know we’re “right,” because it’s our reality. So, the other person can’t be “right.” Here’s the truth, though: nobody’s right, and nobody’s wrong. We all have our own realities, and at times, they come into conflict with somebody else’s.

The natural desire to have interpersonal relationships causes us to seek out people with similar experiences, thereby adding validation to our own reality. Where it gets complex is when we attempt to have others conform to us. Though they may have similar experiences, we would do well to remember that they still have their own perspective on what’s “real” to them.

When you boil it down and reduce it to it’s purest form, it’s about knowledge, tolerance and acceptance. Which are arrived at by choice. Yes, once more it’s about choice. We’ve all heard the popular phrases “positive mental outlook” or “attitude of gratitude” – but when you’re in the midst of heartache or financial turmoil, it seems more difficult to find the strength to “choose” to modify your attitude. Interestingly, though, it’s primarily during times of struggle that most people come to realize the importance of thinking differently. It’s in suffering that the greatest changes can occur. When we are stripped of all the trappings of our ego, we create an opportunity for faith, hope and possibility to plant seeds and grow roots in our minds.

A perfect example is when we argue with someone close to us. When we fight, we (our egos) typically just want to be heard and validated for our point of view, which we determine is “right.” However, if we have learned that there are multiple realities based on individual experience and interpretation (knowledge), and we allow for the possibility that there is no “right” or “wrong” (tolerance), we become more accepting of the truth and can focus our attention on what we truly need: which is not to be proven “right” or prove someone else “wrong,” but to be heard and acknowledged. We can harmoniously agree to disagree, and our relationships will be the better for it.

So, the next time you’re feeling “right” about something, and you don’t understand why the other person can’t seem to see how right you are, perhaps you should consider that their reality – their interpretation of events, based on their experiences – gives them an alternate view of the situation, and is just as valid as your own. In honoring their view, you also honor yours – simply by choosing a response based in knowledge, tolerance and acceptance.

Welcome to serenity.

In Love and Light,

Martina