Sitting

Sitting
And this moment is my path

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friendship, Buddyship, and Love: An Incomplete Post on an Important Idea


“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater...The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that's the key. It's like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”
― Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby

The week of Valentine's Day has been tumultuous--mostly in good ways, but not without enough shennanigans to get me thinking about what's important in relationships.

Friendship, buddyship, and love are ways of being present with others. They have common characteristics, hallmarks.

Simplicity--maybe not contextually--we have to continue to traverse our way through many unknowns. And many of these unknowns lead to stubbing our toes, tripping, falling, making errors. Sometimes we get bruised--hopefully not intentionally. But sometimes, even as we strive for simplicity we encounter rickety stairs and slick hills.

We are human. We lose our patience. Sometimes lose our temper and act abruptly. In our deepest moments of humanity--which I hope are frequent--we notice our compassionability, our capacity and ability to be, express and accept compassion. This is a hallmark, not only of healthy relationships, but also of intrapersonal strength.  Developing  or expressing compassionability can be daunting.

Perhaps we've made choices that limit our abilities to easily express love and friendship. After all, we're socialized to check boxes--to be either or rather than both and. But of course the experience of humanity is not nice and neat. It is messy, requires spontaneity; it has peaks and valleys. At our own highest highs we revel in awareness, laughter, humor, and buddyships. At our lowest lows we question ourselves. We allow our minds to be overwhelemed with doubt--perhaps shame and regret. I find that no affective state is more distressful than regret--the desire to un-do an action or statement. When we're low, we feel isolated and discontent; raw and unsafely vulnerable.

Love and friendship are solution-focused. Friends, buddys, partners and lovers seek out and embrace opportunities to care for and express caring and concern for one another. Conversely, we thoughtuflly walk away from temptations to blame, take jabs, or make accusatory statements.

We keep our sights set high on the belief that we each have something good to offer one another--that we are partners in a common, higher principle.

Love and friendship have a sense of balance. Relationships have reciprocity, equanimity, homeostasis. We offer support but we also ask for it. We know our strengths and share them--as supports and as lessons.

We are teachers and students of one another. That is an important hallmark; our appreciation and respect of our interconnectivity. We likewise recognize and address our weaknesses. We ask for help from those stonger and wiser--and we accept and respond to valid criticisms of our weaknesses.

Compassionability  resides with our negative emotions (remember, we're human). So don't bother to try to extinguish negative emotions--rather, strive to allow your ability to be compassionate to be the primary source of decision-making when faced with a surprisingly challenge person or situation.

Some pointers on how to cultivate these halmarks:

  1. Always take time for lunch...to go to a quiet spot, perhaps a park--and read a book that a buddy suggested.
  2. Find a time in the day to listen to silence.
  3. Strive to go 24 hours without complaining; repeat.
  4. Notice the lives of others.
  5. If you see the same people every day, make sure you introduce yourself; know the name of the guy who lockers next to you.
  6. Take a subtle no for an answer, but don't read things into everything.
  7. Sing along.
  8.  Forgive the past. We've all been saints and sinners...and we'll continue to be.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ten Things I Think About...Love

I'm giving a talk later this week entitled, Love, Unexplained. While looking through my online notes, I found this list. I've no idea when I wrote it, but thought I'd share it here.






1. Love is irrational. It has no logic, nor reasoning. It makes no sense and trying to make sense of it is futile.

2. Love affects all five aspects of health. Physically, your heart will race, breathing intensify, and face flush. You may smile, giggle, or laugh without notice. Mentally, your thinking will be cloudy one minute and crystal clear the next. Your mind will reach a level of creativity higher than before you loved. Emotionally you may lose a great deal of control over moods. Panic, giddiness, and moments of profound awareness will become the norm when you feel true love. Socially you may be gregarious one minute and isolated the next. You will experience intense confidence and anxiety about being without those you love. Spiritually, you will discover new planes of understanding that one purpose of life is to be someone special to someone special. You will realize the reality of interconnectedness.

3. Love may be romantic, platonic, sensual, sexual, intellectual, or physical--or--most likely a combination of two or more of these states. Team mates may have as much intense love between or among them as do loving sexual partners (see #1). In intense moments of friendship, you should give in to your urge to hug. Loving moments should not be squelched.

4. Love is moody. It is the perfect long hot shower, but it is also the too-tight scratchy-bothersome-tag-in-the-back-of-the-collar wool sweater. It takes your undivided attention, but also may turn its back on you.

5. Full on love has no concern about your practical obligations. It hides your watch and clocks; it makes you forget about the coffee maker; in the the throes of a loving relationship you may arrive to a destination to which you've driven and have no recollection of how you got there.

6. True love weathers storms. True love may endure high winds, rough waters, and flashes of lightning.  True love always finds the sunshine...eventually.

7. Genuine love endures. But its intensity--like the moon phases--may be full, waning and waxing. Aspects of love are many--love is full but over time you will experience it in all of its subtleties and intensities.

8. True, deep, genuine love is profoundly patient. It allows as much time as one needs to make a decision. It is constant. The best friend you had in college, if truly a loving friendship, will welcome a phone call 30 years later and realize the comfort of being truly known and understood by another.

9. True love allows for growth, including clumsiness and mistakes. Best friends and lovers respect the need for each person to have room in life to grow, gain independence, and hold on to the comfort of love. Love is not clingy, but it is fully present and supportive.

10. True love is ever-present. Many people fear true love because it requires each of us to be vulnerable, open, and intensely honest. All of those states of being may leave us fearful. Crossing the chasm of fear is a necessary and liberating step toward experiencing truly loving relationships.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking back while moving forward



It's been a tough year. For many reasons, and I won't go into them. It's just been a tough one.

Anyway, now we're here.

One resolution for 2017--regain my health. The stress of 2016 left me overweight and overwhelmed. So, now I commit to getting back to my healthy weight, which requires losing 22 pounds.

Join me in committing to a better, healthier, fitter 2017. I think we all will need to be our best in these coming days!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

January 28, 1986

It took Russell a few minutes before he got to the part about Jimmy hitting the guy in the head with a brick and killing him.

We had only known each other for a few weeks, but had seemingly grown close enough that my apartment was first on the list for hiding from the law.

Hiding from the truth.

Russell and Jimmy shared a shower while I opened beers.

Wrapped in towels they told their tale.

Bored, borrowing (without permission) a friend's car to go into the city to dance.

In the cool, winter, Atlanta rain the scuffle escalated. The guy punched Russell. Jimmy stepped in. He was punched and fell to the ground. He reached out to support himself so that he could rise up.

His hand brushed the brick.

One slug into the guy's head. Lots of blood.

Silence.

The drugs were still safe in the car.

They drove through the rain to my apartment.

We sat quietly until the sun rose.

The Challenger exploded a few hours later bringing the death toll to eight.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Say "Hi"

I believe in supernatural forces and beings. Gods, goddesses, spirits...


Unexpected friendships are supernatural forces.

Today, my friend Mark asked me to write something about all the political chaos in the world.

Two weeks ago, another friend, also named Mark, discussed with me our love, friendship, and serendipitous camaraderie. During that conversation I asked him to name two or three things he is great at. Caught off guard, we then had an important conversation about the question, and that I had asked it. He asked the same to me. I hope that those of you who are reading this ask yourselves and others.

One thing I'm good at is being a lover. Not in the simplistic term, but in the broad, humanitarian way. I love people deeply.

Politics are complex.
This is what I suggest we do.

Reach out to those you love. Grasp their hands. Build a support net that brings us close together. I'm not kidding. Tonight or tomorrow be sure to let others know that you care. You care about them, about our daily walks in life, about our harmony as we move forward in life. No walls, no discrimination, no violence. Just respect.

Drive with kindness. Buy someone a Klondike bar. Just be kind.

It starts with those things.

I met Mark, the first guy in this story, because he was going through a difficult time. I just sent a note on FB. And now we are soul mates. 
I met the other guy, also named Mark, because we were shaving next to one another at the gym, and I said, "Hey,"I'm Ric."

That's how profound friendships start. Say, "Hi."

That's how easy compassion is. But it is spectacular. And terrifying. And wonderful.





Saturday, July 9, 2016

Allowing Change

One of the most important and useful skills one can gain in life is the ability to change (grow) in harmony with one's life situations. Allow dissonance to guide us to resolution. That is how the most beautiful music is written. Tension is built through extended harmonic modulations that create interest, but eventually resolve.


When being confronted with change, it can be helpful to remember that we're all teachers. When we encounter difficulties--uninvited change--we think, "how would I support my best friend, my brother, if they encountered this?" We then role model.

Today, when you face difficulty, ask yourself, "How would I support my best friend in this situation? Then be your own best friend.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Simplifying

Just over two years ago, John and I stumbled upon a chalet for sale in Canadian Lakes, Michigan. We were familiar with the area, as a colleague has a home near there and had hosted us for parties.

Canadian Lakes is a set of interlocking lakes sprinkled with chalets and other lake homes. Some homes are right on the water and others are a few minutes' walk away. Some are elegant and remarkably spacious and others more quaint. The one we found is in the middle. 

Marilyn, the owner had, along with her husband, Royal, built and enjoyed their chalet for many summers.  After they last packed up for the season--leaving everything as though they would come back the next summer--Royal died. Marilyn, now a widow decided to sell the chalet, fully furnished. We bought it for next to nothing, furnished and all.

We then entered a period of time where we looked forward to long weekends on Canadian Lakes, followed by the work week in Grand Rapids where we maintained our very large home. Over time, the balance between pool, lawn, and house in GR and deck, grill, and lake in Canadian Lakes became near impossible.

We simply had too much stuff.

So we sold the house in Grand Rapids. Well, it's pending.

We will downsize our possessions (look for an estate sale very soon) and reconcile our belongings so that we have what we need to live comfortably on Canadian Lakes. In two to three years, we will buy a simple condo in Grand Rapids.

We are pre-retiring.

We will continue to work (likely forever), but focus more on relationships and experiences and less on maintenance of stuff.