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Today my friend Fran Sorin of FranSorin.com is our Encourager for the month of July. Our true friends are those who manage to inspire us to be what we know we can be, which makes Fran an inspirer as well as an encourager and I’m grateful for her presence here today.
[success]Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. ~ Albert Camus[/success]
Friendships are gifts. We live in a daily gift exchange, between us and life between us and others and sharing the gift of friendship is one of the creative acts we perform, one of the blessings of the universe. Our willingness to share our love, our joy, our ups, our downs with others is a means to living and expressing life fully.
Friendships through circumstances
Throughout your lifetime, you develop friends for different reasons – to laugh, to hang out with, because of similar interests, work or parent related, neighbors, religious or political affiliations, or ‘soul’ connections. As an adult, until my kids were in middle school, most of my friendships developed due to circumstances.
When I was a Broadcast Executive, I became fast friends with a group of guys – some of who to this day are in my life. I consider them to be dear, old friends.
When my children started school, other Moms and I became friendly but not friends. As a matter of fact, I felt that I was never accepted. And once I started home schooling my kids, I was really ‘way out’ there. Initially I was hurt but eventually being an ‘outsider’ in this culture became my badge of creativity and individuality.
Friends to encourage and nourish your soul
If you listen closely to what your instincts are telling you – no matter what age you are – you will cross paths with someone with whom you can have a deep friendship. Have you ever had that feeling inside of you – a sweet spot- where you know that this friendship sustains you – that your life wouldn’t be the same if this person wasn’t in it? This could be both a romantic or non-romantic relationship.
[success]A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart. Heather Pryor[/success]
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s, when I was committed to my spiritual journey, that I was ready to create relationships and allow individuals into my life who fed and nourished my soul. They encouraged my authentic, creative self to take center stage.
Three close friends of mine and the gifts they bring
Authenticity, laughter, trust, and creativity
I was introduced to Romy when I was at an improvisational theatre weekend in Upstate New York. When she turned around and said ‘Hi, my name is Romy’ with her pointed sunglasses and huge smile, my instincts told me that we were going to become close friends. Today, 18 years later, our friendship has developed into one of trust, vulnerability, support, and weekly spiritual coaching sessions.
It’s no accident that she went from acting to becoming a therapist and has become renowned in the field of Voice Dialogue. Both of us are passionate about creativity and our soul work – in both our professional and personal lives. I couldn’t think of a better match for a trusting and creative friendship.
Community organizer, generosity, laughter, and God
Betty’s laugh and silent ‘good deeds’ (too many to even begin to mention inspired me to become involved in inner city and refugee projects. She became my spiritual guide for several years before morphing into what I can only call a ‘mystical friendship.’ She was a cross between Mother Theresa and the laughing Buddha – When I came to visit, after flying in from half way around the world, I would walk into her living room, take some pillows, plop on the floor and spend hours talking and giggling with her. We could discuss anything about God, spirituality, and life without reservation. When she died last year, I knew that she was ready to drop her physical body. I didn’t mourn her passing but I do miss her.
Music Teacher, encouraging and prompting creativity, and filled with soulfulness
Don (a classical pianist since childhood) was my music theory teacher who taught me how to hear musical notes (I was in my 30s by then). Not only that, he opened me up and encouraged me to compose original music and write an opera…something I never thought possible or even dreamt of.
When I reflect on him, I laugh and wonder how the heck did he get me to do that? He had the ability to suggest, guide, and encourage me to become the best of who I am. He believed that everybody had the ability to be musical and be creative – that they just need to tap into it.
And friend he did become – we shared our deepest feelings about God, the universe, and music. The week that he died, he sat on the couch with me and for the first and only time told me that he loved me. Little did I realize that he had stomach cancer and knew that his time was limited.
Appreciate what you give in a friendship
Have you ever though about what you bring to the table in each friendship. Maybe it’s time to consider it, you’re probably a better friend than you know.
In one friendship, you may take on a supportive, ‘you can do it role’. Or it could be a relationship of ‘deep spiritual work’ or solely filled with laughter and fun.
How about those where you take on the role of a problem solver and help the friend become ‘unstuck’?
Take the time to sink into the beauty of your love and support for each other. This is the stuff that matters in life.
We’d love to hear about your fabulous friendships in the comments below. Have you had or have friends who’ve made a difference in your life?
Fran’s book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, now considered a classic was groundbreaking when published as no one had written about gardening in the context of creativity, spirituality and transformation.
Fran is also the founder of FranSorin.com, a broadcaster, journalist and an ordained Interfaith Minister.[/success]