Thursday, September 15, 2011

Everyday teachers

Listen to this post:

When I am open, almost everyone I encounter has something to teach me.

Tuesday morning, one of my water pals mentioned the "new normal." Ever thought of that? Me either until this gifted healer said she had been working with a new client struggling to get back to normal. "I couldn't tell her she won't ever get back there, instead, I am working on her visualizing a new normal," one, my friend said, that incorporates the aches and pains of aging and being in a new place physically.

This concept has opened so many possibilities for me – all positive. Instead of grasping for the past or hoping for the future, embracing a new normal brings one to the present. I also believe it may bring one out of the pain or physical change with some distance and detachment. That space between our being and our physicality is important to honor, I am learning.

The same wise friend struggles with sleep and says she has learned to "befriend" her insomnia as time to meditate, pray and be alone without interruption – no phone, doorbell or e-mail to answer. "It's so peaceful in the middle of the night," she said.

I can't imagine a more healing attitude. She's had a lot of experience with pain, acceptance and wisdom. A bus struck her down and broke most of her leg bones when she was small. And yet she effuses a gentleness, patience and grace.

In the sauna after yoga Wednesday, a yoga buddy with fibromyalgia who has also battled the early stages of breast cancer says she's ready to look for a part-time job. "I find," she said, "that the less I do, the less I want to do, so I keep moving."

It was that thought that drug my butt of bed this morning and to yoga through the haze of yesterday's migraine. Her energy, enthusiasm and zest never cease to amaze and inspire me. Cancer, she once told me, has shown her show blessed her life has been. Though she recently retried to Florida, retuned for treatment and, eventually moved back, she accepts that "I got to live my retirement dream." No bitterness, just pure, joyful acceptance. In that same spirit, when she lost her curly blonde locks, she sported dashing berets that only she could pull off. I think she's on the lookout for the next adventure.

Yesterday, when a new friend and I gathered for lunch, we learned how similarly we struggle toward wholeness and that we share parallel journeys. It's a blessing of relief to encounter another who seems flawless on the surface, yet readily showed me her imperfections. We can be mirrors for each other. After a serious lunch, we took off on an unexpected adventure, which we plan to do more often. We both can use more humor and levity in our lives. I have already learned from her not to compare myself against others that I am who I am and there are others like me.

Last night, a very dear old friend called just to tell me about the funky dark bar that has become her Cheers, where everyone knows her name and she feels at home. We had discovered that alley watering hole together decades ago. She stirred memories of spontaneity and thoroughly enjoying life sans the entrapments of age and complication. We have not spoken for months and I was so anxious to tell her about my approaching trip to Italy. She, too, enjoys travel. I had hardly gotten it out of my mouth, when she screeched that she was going to Greece at the same time. We will miss each other returning through Paris by only a day. She reminds me that I have a fun-loving side and adore artsy friends.

During that conversation, a close college friend left word in a voice mail that the father of one of our freshman-corridor buddies just died. She was in tears, I realized, because he had been her paternal presence since her father died quite some time ago. I was touched because we haven't spoken in over a year, but it was just as if she'd knocked on my dorm door for a heart-to-heart. We'll need to do that, but she stirred in my deep gratitude for the love and wisdom I have been shown and continue to receive through friends.

• What wisdom has recently been imparted to me?
• How do I open to that which may be offering itself from everyday sources?
• How do I nurture circles of friends?
• How may I depend this connections?
• Do I remember to practice gratitude for the friends and wisdom they bestow?

some days,
I feel like a loner:
ugly, grouchy touchy

I close myself off
giving nothing,
taking nothing

other days,
better days

I open to the wealth of
companionship and wisdom
surrounding me

because I am
I am:
beautiful, serene and
want to be touched

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