When friendships end . . .

I seem to have more than my fair share of ailing and failing friendships, and it has me a little bit concerned.  In the course of my life, I have let some friendships wane out of a too-busy life and I have allowed some to fade because of disagreements and hurts.  The worst of these happened a few years ago between me and a dear friend of more than a decade.  The worst part about it was that during the year that we stopped speaking, she developed cancer and died before I could apologize or mend fences.  I refuse to ever let that happen again.

Some friendships can take a heavy blow and bounce back because both parties are willing to be vulnerable and communicate their hurts.  Others, get stuck and never recover.  I think that when friends fall out of our lives, it is ultimately because a shift occurs and the friendship is no longer serving both parties.  It doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it is just a thing that happens and it hurts.  That person often becomes the “someone I used to know” that Gotye sings about.  Of course, he is singing about a lover, but the message is basically the same.

I recently fell out with two different friends, one male and one female, for vastly different reasons.  Maybe I am just too hard on the people I call my friends.  I insist that they have integrity, are truthful and that they walk their talk. In my opinion, a true friend is one that will call you out on your shit and wants you to do the same for them. That, to me, is the greatest gift we can give our friends.

There’s only one problem with this scenario; the truth looks different depending on one’s perspective.   Sometimes we just have to decide if we are willing to take all the blame for something or if we are going to stand up for our beliefs and toe the line.  I am a big fan of standing up for my beliefs and for my worth, though it’s a belated gift that I am finally giving myself.

For the longest time, I had a hard time finding my voice. It was like my throat chakra was in a knot.  I would let people take me for granted.  I would allow them to treat me with disrespect, and I would keep my mouth shut out of fear of losing them.  Then one day, I woke up and realized the disservice I was doing to my Self.  That pesky fear of abandonment finally lost its grip and I am forever changed because of it.

Friendships end.  That is life and it is an inevitable part of being human.  There doesn’t have to be any judgement about it.  There doesn’t have to be any blame.  For all the friends I have lost during my life, I have also managed to save a few.  I have made amends and been willing to communicate and heal the hurts and miscommunications, but only because the other person was also willing.  For those friendships, I am even more grateful because they are a mirror of hope and self-worth, and that seems to be the bigger theme that is occurring in my life these days.

For my birthday, a friend did a spiritual reading on me and said that I needed to journal daily that “I am worthy.”  She also suggested that I say it while I stare at myself in the mirror.   I thought it was strange at first, but I did it anyway.  After a few tries, I was able to add a little more to the sentence.  “I am worthy of love.” “I am worthy of success.”  “I am worthy of a faithful partner.” “I am worthy of abundance.”  I am worthy of being seen, of being heard, of happiness, peace, wholeness, stability, great friends . . . . well, you get the idea.

The words “I am” create a complete sentence, and they are the most powerful words we can say.  They are magic and anything that we add to them becomes a mantra that anchors and creates the life that we want and deserve.   If you don’t believe me, try it. Just remember, using “I am” to judge and knock yourself down is just as powerful so it’s important to be mindful.  You can just as easily create a life that you don’t want if you use this phrase without proper intention.

When my son was little, we had a favorite book called Unloveable by Dan Yaccarino.  It was about this little dog who thought he was unloveable because the cat,  the fish and the bird told him so.  Then one day, he met a new friend who reminded him that he was absolutely lovable.  Find those friends.  They are the ones worth fighting for, and they will be the ones who remind you that you are absolutely lovable and worthy no matter what.

The Ups and Downs of Doing What You Love

Once upon a time, I had a typical job that paid the bills.  It was close to home, paid decent, and did I mention it was only 3 miles from my home?  Notice that I didn’t say it was inspiring or fulfilling in any way.  It was a place where I went for 8 hours of my day and tolerated things and people.  So when my son was born, the job itself just didn’t have enough pull to draw me away from the little bundle of joy that I helped create.  At the time, I had just started exploring Feng Shui and had taken my first week long intensive.    Feng Shui was the first glimpse I had of the possibility of doing something that inspires and supports me.  Ever since I was a little girl, the one thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted to help people in some way. Little did I know that the journey I had decided to make using Feng Shui would turn my world upside down in ways that I could not know were coming.  As I learned more and made changes in my life, shift or Shit as it were, happened!

As is often the case, people can be jealous of our happiness and success, and I have always been very sensitive to the emotional temperature of the people I know and the new ones that I meet.  These same friends and family members who say they love us can be threatened by the changes that we make.  As they see us making changes that increase our freedom, creativity and passions, they can become uncomfortable.  They might even start to ask themselves if the work they are doing fulfills them or gives them the chance to make a difference in this crazy world.  And if not, is it possible for them to find work that does?  When I was younger, my Mom and I strongly disagreed about this.  She insisted that work is work and it is not something that is necessary for us to love.  She wasn’t trying to be negative.  That was her reality.  However, I was appalled and vowed then and there, albeit silently, that I would show her that it is possible.  I owe my stubbornness and persistence to my Mom.  Hey, I got it honestly at least!  But seriously, that is one of the many life-affirming gifts that she gave me, and I am so grateful!

Ever since my initial deep dive into finding my true calling, I have gotten divorced, moved 6 times (with one move being from the concrete, humid hell of Houston to the happy and hippy joyfulness that is Austin), experienced the death of my Father, become a Certified Yoga Instructor and had to learn to live on a much smaller budget than ever before.   One way that I have justified my career choice to others who look at my life with envy is that yes, I am doing what I love, but don’t be jealous because I really don’t make that much money ~  and this is the insight that I have had this week.  I have been afraid to make more money doing what I love because then people might really hate me or abandon me.  I may have time to take a nap in the middle of the day or take a 3 hour lunch with a friend, but on the days when I am working, I am WORKING!  I also don’t have health insurance, I am driving a car with over 209,000 miles on it and I pay the minimum on all of my credit cards because that is all I can afford.  I don’t get paid holidays or sick days, and the last time I took a vacation, I also gave up my income for the week.

My challenge now is to break through the financial glass ceiling that I created out of fear of losing my friends or creating envy, and continuously replace it with the faith that I am on the right path, that I am following my Divine Purpose and that my true friends are my true friends no matter what!  We hold ourselves back, until we don’t any more because once you know something about yourself, you can’t UN-know it.  You can ignore it or you can change it, and as usual,  I chose change!  If something I have shared helps even one other person in some way, then it is totally worth it to me!  I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes that fits perfectly here:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –  Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”