peace and light friendships.

This is what Love looks and smells like.
(You can't smell it, but I promise it's awesome.)

You guys, I just hosted my first ever dinner gathering! All by myself. I made baked ziti, because it's the one thing I know how to make that I am certain will not kill or cause illness in any innocent dinner guests. Ladies I've worked with since the late 90's/early 2000's, and for some reason we've never ever disconnected, came for Amy's Totally and Stunningly and Completely Safe Baked Ziti tonight. They are precious pieces of my heart, and I love them with all of me. Sadly, one of the three of them couldn't make it tonight because Georgia currently has some kind of ridiculous flu bug going around and she had to do battle with it. But the other two ladies...oh my god, Internet. The happiness and peace I felt as I got ready for them? Inexplicable. And then when my first friend showed up - I cried. Her hug, her presence...I just...it felt so good having people in this space who really know me, who get me, who love me as is and never ask anything of me other than: "So when's our next dinner get together?" was just. I can't even. Seriously, I go for weeks, for months, with nary a phone call or an email, and then we get together and pick right back up where we left off. I can't even really describe it, actually, the feels I have for these three people because they're simply too big. But I think having good people energy come over tonight was way better than burning sage because they left behind residuals of their sweetness and love, and this is filling me up with peace. Yes! Right now, as I'm typing this. Nothing but peace and calm over here, sweet Reader(s).

When we're together, we talk about all kinds of things - we kvetch about the school system (they're all teachers/former teachers) and its current insane inanity, we talk about our families, we talk about our hobbies, our health, where we want to go/do/be eventually. One of us is a Tai Chi master who always teaches us something new about our chakras or whatever they're called in Tai Chi...tonight it was about how Tai Chi literally opens up all your energy spots. (And oh, by the way, all your life energy is centered in your lower belly...be good to your lower belly, or you'll die. Literally.) So before you get in your car after doing Tai Chi to go back out into the crazy, psycho world, you have to clap your hands together and rub them til they're hot; then move them around your body, to smooth out all the open energy and re-align it so it can feel safe among the psychos out there. Going to try this without Tai Chi, every day before I walk into my workplace.

Also, one of us will be moving back to her home state of Louisiana when she retires at the end of this school year. (God, I wish this was me, but it is not...it is not.) But no worries! We'll just take our dinner gathering to Louisiana once a year. 

C is our Tai Chi/spiritual master. She is Unity and Light and all things that are Good and Kind. She's also a master storyteller, but I don't think she knows it. (C, do you even know what a weaver you happen to be? I can sit, spellbound, listening to you tell your tales of spiritual adventures for hours.)

Here's what I learned from C's sweet heart tonight, and I'll share it with you because I think it matters: did you know you can ask the Universe for a teacher? And that one WILL show up? And did you know that we are all beings of Light? And that there is a woman right outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico right now who lives in the desert hills who is an Enlightened Soul, a spirit guide, who will help you understand Who You Are? She's not a psychic; she's not going to predict your future. She just needs your name, and then she knows how to explain you to you. Because she's filled with the Light of God, and that's what people with God's Light can do: break shit down for you. I think living in Breaking Bad territory may also have something to do with it, but I do promise there is not a single ounce of meth involved.

Also, now I need to go to Albuquerque. Right now. I would like to be in the presence of someone filled with the Light of God. And also I want to take a Breaking Bad tour.

Basically, we are beings of Light. And all of the rest - our bodies, our experiences, our opinions, our needs, our insecurities - those are mere illusions. Our true essence is goodness and light. That is who you are, you are light, and you know what THAT means, don't you? We are all connected. We are made from the bits and pieces of stars, and we are all connected.

I'm writing about all this because this visit was significant on a couple of different levels. First, I've been having a hard time emotionally lately. I just needed some light and love in my home. Mission accomplished.

And second, I had to end a friendship today and it was not taken well. And hearing C's story about people being Light and all the other stuff is mere illusion, confirmed some things for me and helped me understand why I feel strangely at peace and completely fine about what I did. There were various reasons why I was compelled to abruptly end the friendship, and I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and responsibility for not being stronger sooner when I originally needed to do it. But last night, I just knew it was time. Nothing really earth shattering happened to cause this, there was no conflict at all to prompt my decision. Just a phone conversation where maybe months and months of energy drain built up and built up and I could feel myself getting angrier and angrier and angrier over nothing, really. But I became so furious I had to stop the phone call. I couldn't breathe, and the sheer amount of anger I had was upsetting and shocking to me. After I hung up I had to sit, taking deep breaths, for a long while, and synthesize it. I had to really think about things that were said over several months, and I really considered what lots of friends have suggested and/or expressed concern to me about. I really weighed the consequences before acting. Because with every action, there is a consequence...did I want to accept the consequence(s)? 

I love this person, tremendously. They've helped me through some really dark moments, and I promised them I'd always be there to help them through theirs. But I can't be friends anymore. It's too draining. I am too drained. I need peace. I need to not overthink and over-analyze anymore, about anything or anyone. And I don't want to be angry anymore. Anger is okay sometimes, but the way I was treating my friend wasn't me. I don't want to be angry. I don't want to say harsh things. And so yes. I am accepting the consequences. The hurt, the anger, the nasty text messages, the accusations, the word attacks on my character that happened when I tried to offer some closure today. All accepted. Because I know I did the healthiest thing. The hardest, most hurtful, most confusing thing. But the healthiest. I just need to be at peace, and I can't do that with someone else's expectations draining me.

So I am surprisingly and strangely fine right now. I felt horrible about the decision, yet I also feel like I can breathe again. And I am not angry. And that's really, really important, you guys. I'm not sure if you can really understand how important that is to me right now: I am not angry. 

Sweet friends, please believe me when I tell you: if there's one thing I've learned from my unsuccessful marriage, from my years of longing for and chasing people to the point of self-hatred, from the consequences of some of my less than enlightened choices...it's that you can't hold onto people; you can't make them be who or do what you want. That's not how people work. Love is love is love is love. If you truly love someone, when they tell you they feel the need to go, you say: Of course. I love you, and I wish you well. If their need to go creates a violent emotional response in you and you begin calling them names, then that's not love. It's not. It's not. 

And so the one lesson I think I will take away from this friendship is that expectations are a horrible thing to hold over another human being. We are beings of Light and Love. And if you're really full of Light and Love? You don't need someone else's love to make you feel better, and using love as a leverage tool is psychic abuse. And that's absolutely not how love works.

C brought me a candle for my apartment tonight. When C brings you a gift, her gifts always come with a story. This gift-story is that it's a candle made by a couple who gave up everything to open an apothecary shop to make their own candles and soaps. It was handmade with love, from soy, and the scent is called Bamboo. This is the lightest, loveliest scent they have - as close to sage as she could get. Because she wanted to bring me real sage to smudge out the negativity in my home and lighten it, but she was worried my neighbors might think I'm a pothead. (So I told her about my sexy time next door neighbors who sing bad 80s post-coital pop songs right up against my head some nights, and we agreed: those guys probably don't mind potheads too much. Next time, she'll bring sage.) 

I am burning her candle right now, and the light, lovely scent of Bamboo is filling up my living room. I am thinking about people who give up everything so they can create apothic things with love, and I'm thinking about how hard it is to let go of people even when you know it's the best thing for both of you, and I'm thinking about what real love looks and feels like. I think it's gentle and understanding, there is no need involved, and expectations are minimal if they exist at all. I think it feels like stories told over plates of pasta and glasses of wine, and long hugs from people who get you. There's a lingering good feeling it leaves behind it when the door closes. There's a quiet that doesn't need to be filled with talking or music or background TV. I think it looks like a gentle, flickering flame in the dark, and it warms and fills up every corner of a home with a light scent of Bamboo.

Love isn't complicated at all; people just make it so.

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