Response to a Friend. Yes, I Have Changed.

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“You have changed!”

People say that to me with an accusatory tone. I am not sure how they expect me to respond.

If I have not changed in a year, in 10 years, I would be sadly disappointed in myself. I work hard on making sure I have changed. I spend time with myself. I put effort into learning. I ask questions. I research. I listen. I pay attention. The call is always to deepen my understanding, to push beyond the comfortable, to not be satisfied with status quo.

I find out over and over again that my understanding was limited, superficial, and even completely wrong. That inspires me to dig. I cannot continue to say and do the things I used to say and do when I know that they no longer serve me because I have found so much more. It will mean that I may not be on the same page with people that I once was.

Of course I have changed. Continue reading

What A Real Friend Would Do.

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Is that really what a friend is? Is that really what I expect from a friend?

Is a friend someone who supports you no matter what? Sounds like a cult more than any real meaningful exchange of mutual respect between two people. Do we really expect someone else to like and agree with everything we think, say and do, no matter what? How is that even possible?

The world is full of groups that operate on that basis. At the first sign of anyone not going along with the “group,” they are “out.” And people are not usually happy to just to allow them to move on. It is more likely to be a cost similar to trying to get out of a gang or the mob. Sure, you live to tell the tale, but the group exacts its pound of flesh in the process.

People learn to sit down and shut up, to never say what they actually think, because the threat of the loss of the friendship hangs ever heavy over their head.

“If you were a real friend, you would not do (insert anything you like here).”

“If you think that way, you are not a real friend.”

“If you don’t support me then you are not a friend and you are a liar.” Continue reading

Letter to the Friend I Failed Yesterday, I’m Sorry.

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To the person who reached out yesterday, hurting more than human beings should ever have to hurt.

I was so overcome with your pain when we talked that all I really wanted to do was to cry with you and just give witness to the frustration and hurt that all of us have been feeling about this situation. We all share a profound sense of powerlessness to direct any of it to a different outcome except one where you are unfairly the victim of it all. Continue reading

When You’re Down and Lonely.

Bruce Appleford shared this with me on my Facebook Timeline this morning and I liked it so much I had to share it here. It matters what we focus on.  It matters what we surround ourselves with.

It took a life-shaking experience for me to really look at the wall of my life and realize how many of the bricks in it were there for the wrong reasons.  Our lives should be about the things we love, the things we are, the things we choose.  Instead, the wall of our lives is made up of bricks given to us by others – their beliefs, their rules, their hate.  We absorb what our parents tell us.  As children, we lack the ability to logically question or to look at things and decide if they are right for us.  We absorb the feelings, emotions and beliefs of the people we hang around with, even when we are not aware we are doing it.  All groups require some agreed to “beliefs” to operate and then, within the group dynamic, the other “beliefs” from the dominant members begin to arise and be practiced.  Quietly but firmly, they soon govern the lives of all the members.  Even among friends, if someone dislikes another person, it is often expected that the friend do likewise. Continue reading

Today’s Food for Thought

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When we are kids our parents put us into social situations and urge us to “get along” with the other children.  We learn about “sharing” and “being nice.”

As we grow and mature those lessons broaden into understanding how to work with a group, how to fit in, how to be liked, how to be a good friend, a responsible person, a socially acceptable contributor to society.

We go through a series of life experiences where we are exposed to people we do not like or do not get along with and are challenged to figure it out, to quell our own wishes/opinions/needs for a greater good.  Sometimes that is just keeping peace in the family, sometimes it is to keep a job and sometimes it is to keep from being thrown in jail. Continue reading

Today’s Food For Thought.

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We are not in charge of other people’s lives.  The best we can do is to share their journey and encourage them.  We can empower people by letting them know they are strong enough to find their own way … to find their own answers.  That is being a friend, a parent, a teacher …

Usurping stewardship from others is evil.  It is about control and it is about imposing our beliefs and ideals and needs onto others.  If you only love someone as long as they agree with you, or as long as they do as you want them to, it is not love.  Loving one another is about allowing other people to be who they are and you focusing on who you are. Continue reading

Today’s Food For Thought.

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It is important how we look at life, and what we pull into our being.  I have always thought of my home as my sanctuary . . . it matters to me that it is a place where I can be quiet, I can rest, I can laugh, be creative.  It is a gentle place.  It is a place where I have always allowed my family to be themselves.  They are allowed to be who they are, have their own emotions, and to know that they are respected.  They know that they are loved.  It is a place where they can heal.  It is a place where the world is not allowed to push its anger, its expectations, its worry into … Continue reading