Daily Om Thursday

Two friends

Two friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Best Friends: A Warm Refuge

By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have had the good fortune to have at least one best friend. If we have moved around or changed our life situation repeatedly, we may be lucky enough to have had several. The best friend relationship is often our earliest intimate peer relationship, and it can be a source of great warmth and connection throughout our lives. The details of best friendship change as we grow up and grow older, but the heart of it remains the same. Our best friends are a warm refuge in which we feel free to be fully ourselves, to share our deepest secrets, to rest when we are tired, to celebrate when we are happy—a place in which we feel utterly welcome to give and receive that most precious of all gifts, love.

Most intimate relationships hit bumps from time to time, and one of the hallmarks of an enduring best friendship is its ability to ride out the turbulence and remain intact even as it faces changes. Our best friends are those who manage to love us through all of our transitions, as we do the same for them. We find ways to embrace and appreciate the differences that set us apart and offer love and support no matter what. We allow each other to be exactly as we are at a given moment, even as we allow each other to change over time. In this way, best friends sometimes feel like family. We know we will stick together regardless of where our individual paths lead.

We may be on the phone with our best friends every day, or we may not have spoken for a year, yet we know that our bond will be strong and immediate when we do connect. This bond ties us together even when we are apart and draws us blissfully back into the warm refuge of each other’s company when our paths bring us together again.”

~ Madyson Taylor, Daily Om

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In my mind, friendships are as valuable as precious jewels that one does not simply place in a sock at the back of a drawer. Unlike family, friendships are created. Whereas, you are simply born into a particular family with no choice in the matter, a friend is  chosen from the sea of choices, by the mutual desire of two people to create a relationship.

I am not referring to the mere acquaintance and that relationship that we all enjoy with most co-workers, the woman at the coffee shop down the street, or the man who saves your favorite newspaper or magazine for you. You can talk to these people about general things like the weather, common interests, an exciting upcoming vacation and water cooler gossip. The acquaintance comprises the relationship that is most likely to change as we journey through our lives. Although these are important relationships in our lives, generally, they do not rise to the level of a friend.

Friendships are not equal. In most cases, we have a friend for all seasons and a friend for all reasons. For example, there is the person that we turn to for a listening ear, the person that we call upon when we need comforting words and a shoulder to cry on, the person that you call when we are bereft of inspiration, the person who excels in handling a crisis, and in the internet age, the person with whom we have forged a close online relationship. This brand of friendship composes a significant portion of our friendships. They know bits and pieces of our lives — the ones that are necessary for the roles that they play in them. These relationships can endure, and are important to us, but they do not rise to the level of “best friends.”

The “best” friend can be new or one that has spanned decades. Some of us, have many best friends, and I admire the dedication that it takes. Given my idea of a friendship, I think of very few as my “best” friend. In fact, I believe that a “best” friendship needs must be stoked, like the perfect, roaring fire, because left unattended, the best friend relationship can die. Personally, I, don’t have the energy to give more than a few best friends the attention and care that they deserve. More importantly, the heart bond shared by best friends is not something that I take lightly. I wholly agree with the Daily Om piece wherein states that “[t]his bond ties us together even when we are apart and draws us blissfully back into the warm refuge of each other’s company when our paths bring us together again.”

In my mind, the relationship between “best” friends encompasses everything that I’ve mentioned and more. She (I use “she” for simplicity’s sake, since a best friend can easily be a guy.), is the one that I instinctively want to talk to when I have good news. I know that I can share the happy moments or good fortunes without the fear of jealousy or envy. In her, I can freely share life’s most intimate details, knowing that she will protect them as if they were her own. Trust is inherent in the relationship. A good friend is as happy for me, as she would be were she in my shoes. She is my biggest supporter and most enthusiastic cheerleader. Yet, this is the easier part of the relationship. A “best” friend is tested not in the good times, but in the heat of turmoil.

Like in good times, I yearn for my best friends in the worse of times. My best friends know the worse in me, yet they love me anyway. Best friends don’t judge, yet you can count on them, to speak the truth, whether it is what you wish to hear it or not. Recently, I remember calling a friend with a very serious situation, about which I felt strongly, After she shared her thoughts, I said, “Now just whose friend are you supposed to be?” We laughed, but her thoughts and advice were exactly what was needed to talk me down and to make me see the other side of the situation. A best friend knows you, your likes and dislikes, as well as your thoughts. She also reminds me of the best of me, when I forget.

All in all, my “best” friends are my moral compasses. For me, it comes down to this question: if something should happen to me, would I entrust them with the care of my journals? Best friends are the only ones that I would share the inner workings of this insane, tangled, complicated mind of mine, and ensure their destruction. In the words of Jim Morrison:

Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.

Merry Christmas, dear friends. Enjoy a safe and happy holiday.

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Creative Writing Saturday

Birthday

Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have an alternate post for Creative Writing Saturday. On this special day, I feel called to share these thoughts, 

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Today is my birthday. Like everyone else, over my lifetime, I have experienced many highs and lows. Sometimes, in the midst of living life, we fail to stop and think about what we have learned and what we have to share. I set about journaling some of my life lessons and,  I’d like to share them with you.

  • Change can happen in the blink of an eye.
  • Those dreams that you hold inside —  act on them. Do not put them off for later, because, regrettably, sometimes “later” never comes.
  • Sometimes, having faith in God, the Universe, Allah, Mother Earth, the Source or whatever higher power, is all that gets you through the tough times and circumstances.
  • Let the past be memories that you hold. Holding on to them and failing to let go is like reliving them over and over again.While doing so, you miss the precious moments going on around you.
  • Live in the present. The beauty, magic and miracles are all around you, for example, the rainbow after a Summer rain, the smile of a stranger, the laughter of a child, and countless other moments that require your attention.
  • Everyone that you meet is in your life for a reason. Perhaps, it is only to teach you a lesson.
  • View everyone that you meet, no matter how lowly they may seem, as a potential teacher.
  • Never stop learning.
  • First, love and forgive yourself.
  • You are a creator. Be it writing, drawing, painting, speaking, or endless possibilities, you have a unique gift to discover and perhaps share with the world.
  • Eliminate the word “can’t” from your vocabulary.
  • There are no mistakes, only opportunities for growth.
  • Your fears, sorrows and shames are as much a part of you, as your joys, successes and achievements.
  • Embrace stillness.
  • Practice the fine art of listening.
  • Your prayers are always answered, but sometimes, not in the way that you expected.
  • Family is important.
  • Every day, tell your loves, “I love you.” You never know if and when it will be your last opportunity to do so.
  • Be your own best friend.
  • You are a gift to the world.
  • Laugh, dance, play and sing — often.
  • Take the time to view life through the eyes of a child.
  • Say “thank you,” and mean it.
  • Share your wisdom.
  • Let go of all that does not serve you.
  • Live your life with honesty, trustworthiness, compassion, empathy, joy, gratitude, lovingkindness, faith and hope,
  • Practice random acts of kindness. just because.
  • Tell your story.
  • You matter.
  • You are enough.
  • Listen to your heart.
  • Friendships are priceless.

These are some, but not all of the many lessons that I’ve taken from the life that I’ve lived, but that is not to say that I don’t strive each day to live them. The saying “it’s complicated” most assuredly applies to life. Yet, within those complications are nuggets of diamonds that sparkle with the promise of untold blessings and treasures. It is for us to separate  the wheat from the chafe to uncover our own truths

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Daily Om Thursday

The Guardian Angel

The Guardian Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angel Meditation: An Invitation to Love

Though your host of spirit guides encompasses many diverse beings, all of which willingly watch over you, meditating with angels can be a uniquely insightful experience. The angels stationed at your side are both powerful and knowledgeable—they possess a limitless understanding of your needs and desires, your strengths and weaknesses, and your purpose. However, angels take an active part in our lives only when invited to do so. Meditation allows you to make contact with your angels and lovingly request that they participate actively in your day-to-day life.

To begin, retreat to a solitary place where you won’t be distracted by concerns. Incense and candlelight may aid you in achieving a meditative state but are not necessary. However, laying an image of an angel, angel statue, or item symbolizing your angels before you can focus your thoughts. Sit comfortably, breathe deeply, and let yourself relax. When you feel peaceful, invite your angels from the highest of light to sit with you as you meditate. Mentally repeat your request and reiterate that this time together is important to you. Then, in your mind’s eye, visualize a bright-white light floating above you. As you breathe, draw this light first into the crown of your head and then into the whole of your physical self. Allow this light to spread through your arms and hands, your core, and your lower body. Repeat this integration of illumination with a violet light.

Once again, ask your angels to be with you. Let the stillness surrounding you enter your soul, and open your heart to your angel guides. If they wish to communicate a message, they will do so now. Allow them to wrap their wings around you and infuse you with their bountiful love. Breathe them in as you did the light. As the meditation draws to a close, you may feel a presence, fluttering wings, or billowing fabric, or you may see an angel in your mind’s eye. Thank them for providing you with love and light, and being with you as you meditated. If you don’t sense or feel anything, there is no cause for worry—you can be certain your angels are with you. Don’t be surprised if you start to see signs throughout the day that your angels are near, perhaps a feather at your doorstep. As you practice this meditation, you will become increasingly adept at recognizing when your angels are near and sensing their presence. ~ Madyson Taylor, Daily Om

divider4While this topic might be woo-woo to some (I respect that.), it is second nature to me. The angelic form has been a subject of art for thousands of years. From as far back as I can remember, I believed in angels and saints. I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana in the Catholic faith and it was a mainstay in the lives of most people. Saints and angels are a part of those beliefs. As children, we were taught that angels were beings who surrounded us with light and love. They also protected us, and where I grew up, that offered me a measure of physical, emotional and mental safety that my surroundings never provided. After 50 years, I can still remember the song that I sang to myself, if I was frightened:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To Whom God’s love entrusts me here.
Ever this day, be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.

As I grew older, and began to question various areas of my faith, my belief in angels and saints, never wavered. For reasons that I won’t bore you with, I firmly believe that they are the reason that I am still alive. Who wouldn’t feel gratitude in knowing that there are beings out there who want nothing from you, but to love, comfort, look over and protect you? All that you have to do is ask. Life is so damned scary and complicated at times, and the senseless horrors seem never-ending. If believing in God, saints, angels and the otherworldly provides some sense of peace and order, who can argue against it?

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The Choice

P question

P question (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time last year, I had already chosen my word for 2015. In case you missed it, for a couple of years now, instead of the New Year’s resolution, I choose a word that I wish to work on in the new year. Last year’s word was “courage,” and I found that embracing the word as one that I wished to reinforce in my character. The choice of the word, though at times difficult to apply, allowed me to contemplate “courage” in challenging and difficult situations that presented itself.

In fact, I applied it many times in writing this blog. Sometimes, I will write a post that after doing so, I hesitate to post because I fear that it divulges too much about the “true” Lydia, not the masked one that I rely upon regularly. The post raises fears of being vulnerable and doubts about my actions. On those occasions, I asked myself, “What would I do if I were acting from a place of courage?” In almost every case, the answer becomes clear and I hit “publish.”

This year, it has been hard for me to choose a word for 2015. The choice is not merely a cursory affair. No, I tend to meditate on it, review the last year, and to simply listen to those whispers of my heart. Perhaps, it’s because this year has been a challenge from beginning to end, and there are simply more areas of my life that I feel a need to embrace on a deeper level. I have no doubt that the chosen word will soon present itself. There are 10 more days to choose.

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