The Friend I Wasn't Too Busy For
From time to time, I quote my friends on Instagram. I call the series "Words of Wisdom With Friends." I post a photo that encapsulates them and then I overlay text of something they said. Something profound that gave me pause and just seemed to…stick. What I want is to dole out a little bit of recognition to the people in my life. I want to remind everyone that the inspiration they need could be the person sitting right next to them.
I want to tell you something that's been happening for me lately. Does this every happen to you? When I’m in a point of intense decision making, I get a phone call from a person well-suited to help me through it. A week ago, I was sitting in the coffee shop in Flagstaff, Arizona cultivating an idea.
I was sitting by the fireplace in a mountain town coffee house. I was telling a cool story to a gentlemen and his energetic daughter. She buzzed around the room as we talked, about how early meditators first started meditating around fires, because fires were the first thing that naturally captured our attention in a way that caused us to focus on just one thing for long periods of time. At some point pillows and incense got involved and we started closing our eyes.
If YOU there reading this haven’t ever tried open eye meditation, you should. Practice it the same way you would closed-eye meditation, except project your awareness visually onto something, like a flickering candle. Flames are absolutely perfect for this because they are dynamic enough to keep your attention without being over-stimulating.
At that moment, my friend Eric calls. Who happens to be a master of hearing ideas and articulating them back to you in a concrete way. I begin to tell him the idea I have, to host live-in wellness retreats, where I come to people’s homes and help them adopt a healthy lifestyle routine. I expressed some concern over finding a way to package and present this service. Talking about it with Eric, in the way that we were, helped me remember some the times that he's seen me do similar work, naturally in my everyday life, staying with people and improving their day or life just by being me.
He rephrased what I was proposing in a way that made so much sense to me. What I’m doing is being a positive part of people’s distractibility. Eric's the type of guy that uses words that sound made up but are actually real words. Distractibility. Like the fire that naturally inspired people to concentrate for long periods of time, which we now call meditating, I can come into people’s lives and like the fire, naturally become a focal point of people’s attention. I can inspire them to meditate. And the best part is, it doesn’t stop there. I can customize an entire healthy lifestyle plan filled with practices that fit into the time constraints and budget of the household.
Simple things I know well, like Yoga, fitness, and whole-foods nutrition. Accessible to where the household is at now while also being progressive to allow for growth. If I can get people on a trajectory of long term health by showing them practices that are well documented to have proven results, I’ll be a happy man.
Eric made a great synopsis of what the type of work is: "an experience you will grow from." Words of wisdom from friends. Look no further than your phonebook. And pick up the phone, because that friend who you may think you're too busy for may actually be the source of indispensable guidance you need in that exact moment.
Yesterday just that happened. And I want to note that I'm susceptible to the same type of friend-postponing. I was writing the last blog post and almost didn't pick up when the phone rang, but I did. “I’m surprised you picked up, but I’m glad you did!!!” The sound of always enthusiastic Dani, projecting through the room. I plug her into my headphones, so I can really hear the range of her amazing voice and spirit coming through. We were on FaceTime so I could see that her hair was shorter than it was just a week ago.
The many inches she cut off, she's going to donate to a hair charity. I remember when I chopped my shoulder length locks off back in 2015, I donated them to Locks For Love. The hair charities always have the best names...
She's keeping a small portion of her hair and what she’s doing with it is even more amazing. Dani is the type that if she realizes she’s been talking for a certain length of time, usually around 2 minutes or so is her max, she will excitedly say, “I want to know about you!!” She prompted me to tell her about my current travels. I told her a pickle I’m in. I told her it involves the next part of this traveling spree, which is a trip to visit important people in my life.
At the time Dani called, I had to make the choice between two options to resolve this situation, both of which would require sacrifices. The option I knew deep down I had to take would involve getting over some initial guilt and fear of not wanting to disappoint someone that was involved. And also the fear of possibly fitting the stereotype of unreliable that this person probably doesn’t have of me anyway. That’s the moment Dani called, when I really need to make the decision. Time was ticking.
Dani's giving that small portion of her hair back to nature. Going back to spots that were important to her during the San Diego portion of her life, like the Torrey Pines Preserve, and giving this part of her back the the land. She is now moving forward from San Diego to go to India as the pinnacle, the grand finale of this era of self-exploration.
Although I know Dani, and I know that she will have many more pinnacles after this trip, and she she will continue to grow and expand into a bigger and more badass version of herself. She is a magnetic presence whose smile goes ear to ear at even the simplest of joys. Walking from her house towards Sunset Boulevard in Ocean Beach, grabbing coffee and a gluten free cookie along the way, talking with strangers walking their dogs. With Dani, you become slightly more jovial than you would usually be. She’s like a good vibes amplifier that goes to 11. You can plug yourself in, and the music produced is good times.
Here is Dani gifting part of herself back to land of the old Torrey Pines.
When I presented the options I was working with, Dani immediately sensed which one I was more excited about and she boldly encouraged me to do that one! Kind of like when you're at an improv comedy show and they gauge the winner of the set based on the loudness of the applause. You can just tell which one's louder, even if it's a subtle difference. Dani was able to tell which option was louder for me and she had the courage to encourage.
The bottomline is this: seek council from your friends. If they don't happen to call you at those exact moments when you need them, call them! And if they do happen to call right then, answer the phone!
Wisdom is all around us, all of the time.