Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Blessing of Friends

"Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -- Albert Schweitzer

The other day I was contemplating various subjects. As usual I found myself musing about the brevity of life and my unfinished artistic and other projects. Will I live long enough to finish?

Of course not. One always pops the cork in the midst of things. Ha ha.

So I find it useful to practice bouyancy and detachment as well as passionate engagement. It's a paradox like so many things in life.

My thoughts turned to Occupy Wall Street-- a ray of hope for this sorry country. But even the unfolding saga of OWS cannot stop me from entertaining my escapist fantasies, which become more pronounced as the weather gets colder. I get the urge to pack everything up and move to Belize, Equador or Bali. The darker the days get the more attractive a leisurely expat life in some warm clime becomes.

Then my thoughts turned as they often do to the Tibetan master Gyatrul Rinpoche, who has been such a precious example and presence in my life since 1976. He continually lights the flame within me. He reminds me of the kind of being I aspire to become--thoroughly generous, kind without reservations and deeply wise.

I began to think of my other friends. I am blessed with some truly marvelous friends. Their character, qualities and the ways in which they respond to their lives also light the flame within me.

These beautiful flower images were taken by one of my friends, Melani Marx. Melani works with energy and helps people accomplish inner/outer change. She's a gifted healer and feng shui consultant-- she's brilliant on many levels. One of the gifts she shares is her ability to capture pure moments of beauty in photographs.

What a blessing it is to have real friends, who love, appreciate and accept everything you are -- and even give you a bit of constructive feedback sometimes on your habits or activities. (which can be shocking but is so useful when offered with all that love).

I think of my friends as a gorgeous mandala or bouquet. Each flower is gorgeous by itself, and altogether, quite a splendid display.

What is it that I find so beautiful about my friends? I began to reflect on their qualities and realized that my dearest friends are all complex and deep.

They are each committed to the process of healing and spiritual awakening.

Every one of them has a ridiculous and wonderful sense of humor.

My friends are insightful and creative. They are kind and sensitive.

They can be fierce if they feel it is needed.

Most of my friends have a marvelous capacity for storytelling.

One of my friends speaks in language that is so beautiful, rich and poetic, so ironic and incisive that when I'm conversing with her we enjoy a respite from the awful sound-byte style of communication folks ordinarily engage in these days. Instead, we venture into another more delicious way of being, exercising our poetic language muscles to row our boat far out into the ocean under the moon. I love that!

My friends have beautiful gifts and they share them with everyone they meet in the river of life. I am moved by each one of them, by their courage, their openness and their love.

Tesoro de mi vida--my friends are that to me.

One of my friends sent me this beautiful video clip of Mercedes Sosa and Joan Baez singing "Gracias a la Vida." Can you listen to this without crying? It sure moved me to tears the first time I heard it.

Now there are two sages at play!

"A friend is one before whom I may think aloud."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of."

- Sarah Orne Jewett


  1. Great post and thanks for the links to those wonderful voices.

  2. Thanks Celia, and thanks to you other folks who emailed me directly or on FB, too....