Deep Friendship Healing in the Desert
Written May 2nd 2017
I just spent a week of expansion and healing with one of my best friends, spirit sister and long time creative project partner. We spent time talking deeply and openly, partaking in a few plant medicine ceremonies and in meditation in San Diego, Palm Desert and Joshua Tree. WE ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PEOPLE than when we started the week.
For almost 15 years we've had, for lack of a more nuanced term, a love/hate relationship that we haven't been able to heal due to lack of trust, our mutual sensitivity and our personal feelings of self-loathing in areas alike and different. We are so close and share so many similarities that our differences felt like something one of us had to WIN, surely one of us was right. I know some of you can feel me on this, the constant arguing about who was right or wrong (some arguments spanning years!) instead of just sharing our sides and perspectives, let them be without comparing and measuring them against each other. Our lives have been so different, of course we won't agree on everything! We wasted so much time trying to preach and convince when we could have been admiring our differences and gaining new perspective about the world through each others ideas, really getting to know each other and ourselves. So many years spent going on like this. Well NO MORE. We've got too much to learn and share, too much good work to do. As a way to honor our new found deeper friendship and always be reminded of what we learned in ceremony, we set some ground rules that have begun the process to rebuild our Trust in each other:
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FROM THE DESERT
1. We agree to always speak our Truth no matter what we assume the other will think (We found out we were mostly wrong in every situation where we tried to read each others minds). Truth comes from the heart and it's said with love. Judgment comes from our own self-judgment/hate and it's not said with love. Huge diff.
2. When we share our different perspectives it doesn't necessarily mean we are disagreeing with each other. Nobody has to be "right" or "wrong". (We found that we come to much better solutions and informed conclusions when both our sides are presented and heard as equally valid).
3. SELF -Love comes Before all. We can't possibly love each other if we don't love ourselves. This is not selfish. Taking the time and effort to make sure we feel our best and feel taken care of will make our relationship stronger and give each other the license to do so in turn. (We found putting the other before ourselves often led to resentment and burn out. When we feel good it inspires the other to feel good. People who love themselves love others more easily.)
4. If something doesn't feel, sound right or rubs you the wrong way, talk it out right away!! (We found that a major amount of our long time and deep seated assumptions and arguments we're due to miscommunication or avoiding the topic altogether. Letting it seethe will never make it easier).
5. Let the old stories GO! Living in the past and not allowing your perception of someone to expand will be the death of a relationship. Give up old stories because you yourself want the opportunity to grow and expand just like everyone else. (We found that we had actually been healing our friendship all along but were living with old patterns and stories about how we might act in a certain situations. By starting from scratch we're finding out how deeply we understand each other and our needs and how amazing each other is).
I now have a deep love for myself, not just the bright and shiny me but the shadow warty side of me. I'm a whole person, a fleshed character in this dance and so is my friend. Our differences now excite us, we love sharing our individual perspectives and where they come from. When you trust someone enough to be vulnerable you may find that they serve as a mirror for you to see your deepest shadows and tough sides in. This doesn’t mean their judging you! It just means you feel safe enough to come face to face with your whole self. That my dear friend didn’t turn around and walk away in the presence of my “not so great” side is true love and what we’re all looking for. Acceptance.
Our week in the desert has healed relationships and sisterhood for many many generations before and after us. I'm passing on this knowledge with that hope that other relationships that need deep healing like this can find it. If there's ONE piece of advice I can give. Love yourself fully so that you can always speak your Truth.
(Also never engage in text arguments!)