I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that learning more
about who I am and what I want is only half the battle. The other half is being
okay with other people, particularly people you love, not being oaky with you
My job requires a great deal of networking. That goes along
with the territory, and “feelings” don’t really come into play. It’s all
surface manners. I’ve met a few people
who I like personally and are becoming fond acquaintances. Still, I don’t
really expect a lot of them, and vice versa.
Even in the program, I’ve always taken my fond acquaintances
with a grain of salt, knowing that it can create artificial closeness, without
true friendship. When some of them start to fade, I just shrug, perhaps might
add a “too bad, I really liked them” to that, and move on.
My mentor seems to have chosen to fade away as well. I’m
okay with that. People get busy, they decide to focus on other things.
Understandable life currents.
Many of my true friends have been friends for years, some of
them for 30 or more, many close to 20 or 15. So I know I can create lasting
friendships with people who really love me. Those are the friendships that are
more fluid, and have times of more closeness and times of distance. But there’s
always love. That’s true of my more recent friendships as well. Though they
haven’t yet been tested by time, I see the potential of a lasting, loving
And then there are the people you really, really love. And
you know they really, really love you. Close friends and family, who just don’t
like you. They might love you, but they don’t like you. Those are the most difficult for me to accept.
Those are the ones that make me want to turn and run back into my cave.
Instead, I walk out into the sunshine or rain, and simply
sit, focusing on my breath, my beating heart, my warm animal body, and bring
myself to a place where I remember that people aren’t anything we can cling
to. I usually have my dog with me, or I’m
with my horses. Watching them just “be” is the best lesson I can return to in
learning to just be myself. They don’t worry about whatever people are thinking
about them. They want to be warm, safe and fed. That’s it. They seek
companionship. They have their ways of communicating who they are and what they
want. And they don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about that. They
merely seek out those who celebrate who they are and want to be close to them.
When I was growing up, my greatest source of comfort were my
dogs and horses. I always had a dog or two by my side and when I got my first
horse, my dogs often came with me on my daily rides. I loved my horses because they could carry me
with them on all sorts of adventures. I rode miles and miles and miles.
Sometimes, when I we came across a field, I’d ask whichever mare I was riding
to gallop as fast she could. I always
rode bareback. It’s the most incredible
feeling in the world, to be completely at one with another creature. Like
having the same mind. I could see the ground rushing below my feet, and know
that if she stepped in a hole, we’d both be killed or seriously injured. But we
never did. I could feel her joy at the freedom of galloping at 35 miles an hour
towards the horizon. And bringing me with her.
I’ll probably never do that again (but never say never, I’m
getting closer to it). But I can
remember that feeling. And know that it’s possible to experience that with
another creature. But only when I fully accept myself, fully accept the other
as her or himself, and know the feeling is mutual.
I don’t need that from every relationship, but
it’s the gold standard. And it’s what I’m looking for in everyone I meet. Only
a few are going to be part of my tribe. But whenever I feel like crawling back
into my cave, I remember what I’d miss if I didn’t stay the course of my
journey, and keep looking. So I keep accepting myself, keep accepting the other
(one of my pitfalls, non-acceptance), and wait for the moment of mutual
delighted acceptance of a shared journey.