Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I see three letters spelled out on the back of quite a few license plates almost every day.  They remind me that you don't really get anywhere unless you take action.  They remind me that you can't take action unless you first dig deep within yourself and face whatever challenge is presented before you-no matter how difficult it may seem. 

When I was working with my trainer, "Doublemint Twin #2," after going through the "on-boarding" classes at my current organization, I'm sure he thought that he'd like to kill me on more than a few occasions.  Not literally of course (well, maybe), but because he had to transform a quiet office priss into a gregarious chip pusher.  Or so he thought.  I usually end up modifying things into some sort of form that works best for me, but he tried his darnedest to mold me into the company's cookie cutter format. 

Those four weeks of training were some of the most challenging moments of my life.  There were many moments where I felt like I wasn't going to be able to hold the tears in any longer, that I couldn't possibly do this on my own someday, and that I was really, really inadequate at the tasks I was attempting to do.  Still, I showed up early every day, tried to do exactly as I was asked, and attempted to put forth the best possible effort that I could.  Now the tasks that were so challenging before are almost like second nature.  I'm good at them, even excellent at some of them.  Sure, I'm human and I'm far from perfect so I do mess up from time to time.  Still, I no longer let those small errors get to me.  I laugh at them, correct them, and move on-instead of beating myself up on the inside. 

I've come a long way in the past five years.  A lot of the invisible lessons that I learned had nothing to do with my company's training manual or what they probably hoped to mold me into.  Those lessons were mine.  They were personal, spiritual, and certainly surprising.  In a way I grew up.  I learned that I had to be me and not what I thought someone else might want.  I learned to first validate myself from within before seeking it from those outside of myself.  I learned to speak up for what I feel is right, to not be afraid of the complications and to finally breathe and let go.  Yes, I'm exhausted as hell and it's almost time to move on, but one thing's for certain: there are no guarantees.

You have to keep experimenting in order to find what fits. And what fits usually keeps changing with your own evolution.  Once in while it stays the same, but if it did all the time, where would the fun be in discovering the full breadth of life?  We are our own creations meshed together with a higher purpose that's entwined with everything else that we see.     

Guarantee or no guarantee: the one thing and the only thing that you can do is try.     

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Random Coincidences

I've been having kind of a weird couple of weeks in the midst of an even stranger year known as 2010.  For starters, I've been in a very cantankerous mood.  We female B's get like that when our hormones begin to fluctuate.  So, perimenopause or whatever these mood swings accompanied by fatigue, body aches, too many chin hairs, thinning head hair, and hot/cold sweats are, there have been more than a few random happenings in my environment lately.  One could call it synchronicity or just plain mental craziness, but I really think that perhaps I should start documenting them.  You know, just for kicks. 

For instance, I was trying to walk out of one of my accounts and had to change my intended direction due to several customers that were trying to get through on the right side of the entryway.  If it hadn't have been for that change in direction, I wouldn't have literally almost bumped into the parked car with a tag of, you guessed it, California.  Keep in mind that just before I walked out the door I started thinking that my job wasn't too bad after all and that I might be able to hang with it if I adjusted my attitude a little.  Or the fact that I'm driving down I-25 thinking, ok, if I see two of them pass me on the way back that means I should quit my chip gig early so I can focus on finishing my MBA thesis class and the next stage of my "reinvention project."  Yep, I see at least two....and only two. 

Thursday morning I drive into one of my dive stores (and by "dive" I mean bars on the windows, "bad" Longmont neighborhood, etc.) and think it sure would be nice if V (the store clerk) was handing out free burritos today.  Guess what? He did and I didn't have to buy myself lunch. On Friday the owner of one of my 7-11's stops me and says, "so J tells me you're going to go study to be a writer."  I tell him, well maybe, it all depends on a little thing called "acceptance."  He blurts out, "well you certainly have gotten enough material from here to write a full manuscript."  I tell him "oh, it's not just here.  I have more than enough from this entire route."  He replies back "I bet," with a hint of a smirk in his eyes.  I'd love to get started on all the stories I've heard come out of many, many beloved mouths, but that would kind of spoil the suspense of reading those "manuscripts."

My lovely new found artsy friend from one of my Valero stores in Lyons blurts out the other day, "so when are you going to U of "X."  Her son just happens to be a current student there and she just happens to have lived all over the state.  Funny, because she knows I'm considering two other schools.  It's funny that I haven't told her that U of "X" still ranks as my first choice (if there is a choice) in the back of my mind.  I tell her it all depends on that little thing called "acceptance."  She says "oh, but you're a good writer.  And downtown is one of the best places to study how to become one because of the scenery."

And yesterday I was so tired and depressed while I was driving home on highway 34 (because of the fluctuating hormones), thinking to myself that I can't possibly do this.  I can't change.  I can't follow the wishes of my 17 year old self, that chance is gone.  Look what happened to that 23 year old who took a leap of faith-she ended up back home-broke and having to start again from scratch.  This place is secure, it's safe, things always work out because they stay put and there's a safety net.  I have a good job.  I make good money, I don't have to worry about it and I really don't feel like I want to put myself in a position where I have to again.  Then I think, ok show me some kind of impossible sign, perhaps a car with a tag of that state driving by on the other side of the road.  In the middle of Greeley, Colorado what are the odds?  Almost next to impossible.  So, I'm parked at the signal light at an intersection waiting for the left turn signal to turn green.  Guess what drives past on the other side?  Yep, there it was.  Despite my bad mood, I had to laugh.  Pretty soon the Universe is going to get tired of me toying with its "coincidences."

Still, two of the most interesting and intriguing ones have nothing to do with any of this.  Maybe I should have a past lives regression reading to find out the hidden significance, but I think I'll just smile at the mystery of it all from my current existence.  First, there is the mystery of how an almost four month old blog post inspired by a random FB ad seems to suddenly be coming to the spiritual aid of citizens in a flood stricken middle eastern country half a world away.  Second, there's the mystery of a fifteen year old who somewhat nervously composes a letter to someone she doesn't know.  The reason why she composes it (so she thinks) is because she's been forewarned through three degrees of separation that this individual will be departing from a vicarious canvas soon-before any printing press could do the same.  She doesn't remember what the letter said, but what she does remember is including a poem, a sort of randomly picked "piece of advice," so to speak, that didn't seem to fit at all with the rest of the composition.  She wonders if it will ever really reach its intended recipient and why in the world she felt the need to include that "piece of advice."  This week the fifteen year old got her answer (or so she thinks).  Yes, it reached its intended recipient, even if it took eighteen years to do so. 

It's strange how random coincidences like this reveal that what we think of "time" doesn't really exist.  Our higher selves somehow already know what we need, when we'll need it, and whomever else it will need to involve delivering those helpful messages to the part of us that is bound by a linear experience.  A river's water is always really flowing in both directions, it's just a matter of which side of the bridge you're standing on. 

I suppose that's the real joy of "random coincidences"-finding out that they're not really "random" at all.             

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Second Chances

The morning that I got into the first car accident that I was responsible for left me crying in intermittent pleas to anyone who might listen.  I had just returned to Florida the day before from a Thanksgiving trip to Colorado and was still experiencing the jet lag of crossing two time zones.  My boss had decided to take an additional two days off to extend her holiday and I was supposed to be running the office solo-a responsibility I had gotten used to looking forward to.  She told me she didn't have to worry when I was in charge, something she hadn't had the luxury of with her last assistant, and I tried to extend my best efforts so that I wouldn't let her down.

I learned that you could never really tell what type of delays you would run into on your commute within the first two weeks of living in the Sunshine State.  I learned to always give myself at least an extra hour just in case.  That morning State Road 33 was still lined with a median of crabgrass and decorative palms just past the signal light that led you to I-4's on-ramp.  There was a lot of space at the end of that median-enough space for someone to park their car there and leave their headlights on, blinding a driver who was trying to make a left turn and couldn't see what was coming up on the stretch of road that curved around the median before it was too late.

My hair was still damp.  I could never get it to fully dry in the morning, even with a blow dryer.  Thick and wavy, but fine, it still became a ball of frizz in the southern humidity.  The officer was nice, taking down the information he needed and explaining to a frightened twenty-something girl why he had to still give her a ticket.  The witness was even nicer, advocating for that girl and persuading the officer to make the idiot who was still sitting in that parked car turn their headlights off.  The other party, an older lady, didn't speak directly to the visibly shaken girl, but she was a lot nicer about the incident than she could have been.  No one was hurt.  No damage to what really mattered.  They were just cars.  They were things that could be repaired.
I won't bore you with the details of the "to be continued" episode: a bankrupt car company that can't ship replacement parts, bosses that are more concerned about themselves than their staff, boyfriends who don't answer their phones in time, and an old friend and family members coming to the rescue.  Let's just say that girl was faced with a life changing decision that ended in a chance to break free and start over.
Mistakes, failures, and actions we come to regret because something "bad" happened are repairable like those two damaged cars.  Just in a different way.  There's not a set of precise part numbers to order, a tangible estimate of the cost and time that it will take for restoration or a set of insurance policies that will provide what's missing in the interim.

The only things that exist are reflection, resolve and each moment's opportunity to make a decision.  We're not bound by what occurred before-in no way does it seal our fate.  A choice is always waiting.  Often small, hidden and unspoken to perhaps only ourselves, they're there.  They contain a second chance, a renewal, and a reinvention.
The only thing missing is the moment where we realize that we're in the middle of viewing what we've been so desperately searching for.  It's the moment where we become filled with a sense of thankfulness and contentment for another chance to breathe. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Accident's Hidden Gift

It's another Friday morning. Just moments ago the sky was still dark at 5:45 am, a reminder of the impending season we call "Fall." I-25 is full of a trail of trucks, red lights and vans all in a rush to get to somewhere they're supposed to be. If you glance out your left window you can see the beginnings of the sunrise-a bluish gray sky that suddenly turns into a pinkish orange, ending in a purple reflection of the Rocky Mountains on the right. The music that's playing toggles between the sounds of a local pop/rock station and a Joss Stone cd. The Starbucks light mocha frappuccino downed fifteen minutes earlier is beginning to take some effect as your eyes finally become fully alert.        

There's nothing to the left and nothing to the right but open fields and sprinkles of could-be neighborhoods. Even though you drive this road almost every day, you're not quite sure where you're at. Perhaps it's before the exit for Mead, perhaps Highway 66 or 119. Who can really tell when you've never really recovered from last weekend's term project writing marathon? What you do see is a line of sudden red lights-the traffic is coming to standstill, as if this were downtown Orlando at 5pm instead of almost still heavy traffic free Colorado. You think it might be because they're still picking up the construction zone signs from last night's shift and re-opening the closed down right lane. A quick glance at the pattern of what little movement there is tells you otherwise. This isn't a simple construction clean-up inconvenience.

You're still not for certain, but you get the feeling someone is hurt. Normally you would get a little road rage in a situation like this, but this morning is different. So what if you're going 15 miles an hour and can't see anything but a piled upped line of cars in front of you. You weren't really in the mood to start working yet anyway. Relax. Breathe. Take a break. But you can't. You get the sudden impression of someone hitting their head against the pavement-hard. Then the ambulance can be seen flashing down on the other side of the highway, crossing over the median, attempting to make its way through the stalled line of traffic. If only Colorado drivers were sophisticated enough to know they should stay put and let the ambulance navigate its way using the side pull-off. But they aren't because they don't know any better. They haven't experienced big city life and some of its eye-opening ramifications.

As you approach the point of impact you see the cars blocking the left lane, the stretcher on the ground, the parked ambulance with its lights still flashing, the State Patrol running across from the right side of the highway and the paramedics urgently performing the tasks of their job. Those impressions get stronger, you feel sick, your breathing becomes rapid and you start crying. You're sure your face looks like you're an actress rehearsing some sort of tragic, emotional script, but your rational mind knows this is just a typical reaction for someone with high sensitivity.

You can barely work your first account because you're fighting back tears and sick feelings. You sincerely hope that whomever that was that they make it. It's all you think about most of the day. When you get home you search online for the news reports to see. There's nothing yet, nothing you can find. Maybe by Saturday there will be something. Maybe.

This isn't the first time you've seen this scene and it won't be the last. Accidents happen. They're a part of life that we think we have to prevent. This one just affected you more strongly for some unknown reason that will eventually reveal itself. Someone's morning didn't quite unravel the way they had planned. Someone's life might be affected for the rest of their existence. Someone might no longer be a visible player on this stage. We can never truly know how many steps we have left to take or what tune we'll find our soul carried away by next.

Accidents-they're just an uncalculated detour into the next phase of our journey we belong in. Prevention is a game better left unplayed in the face of coincidence. As a somewhat eccentric, but astute lady told me a few weeks ago-we all need lessons and growth to become who we are. That doesn't happen unless you're involuntarily pushed beyond the limits that you've confined yourself in.

Accidents-at times they're the only way you get set free from that invisible prison.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Boat to Catalina's Island

One of my favorite places on this planet is Catalina Island. It's located just a few miles off the shore of S. California, but if you use just a smidgen' of your imagination you might find yourself in the middle of the sunny Mediterranean-perhaps a distressed artist of sorts trying to discover herself through a new love disguised as a very appreciative Italian. Ok, so maybe we won't get to star in "Under the Tuscan Sun," but one must never give up hope. Never.

The first time I walked off the dock's plank onto the streets of Avalon, I must've been only 21. My parents were with me, trying a last ditch attempt at saving their marriage. My sister was still as innocent as she could be-no years of musical boyfriends or baby drama quite yet. My brother was only as tall as my thigh, clutching onto the stuffed Big Bird he'd had since he was born in one hand and holding onto mine with the other. It was a winter day. It was the week of Christmas and my parents had thought a second trip to Disneyland would be a great way to celebrate in a place a little warmer than home. Don't get me wrong, Colorado is a great place for Christmas. I always made a point of flying back for the holidays during my Floridian stint. Somehow palm trees, pink flamingos and 85 degree weather never said "Tis the Season." But, I think my parents just wanted a change of scenery for awhile; an experiment in let's see if changing the environment will change what we no longer feel inside.

Yes, I felt the same peace in 1997 that I felt this year-that same calm feeling of unexplained complete comfort and serenity. I remember walking through the museum, up and down along the shore, through the tourist shops full of overpriced mementos, eating lunch outside at one of the restaurants overlooking the ocean, standing on the rocks looking up at the sunshine and knowing somewhere inside that I would be back someday. I also thought it would be a great place to film a few on-location scenes, if I ever decided to pursue that dream in the back of my mind. I remember the tension between my parents and me. My father, too old to keep up, putting on a face that said "I'm still in this game." My mother informally released from her marital obligations, already on the dating scene with several forty something playboys. Me, the intuitive, investigative one, somehow expected to be the glue to hold this together without speaking or acknowledging the truth. My younger siblings, of course, were oblivious to what was really happening. We almost fit a little too perfectly into our episode of the "The Real Orange County" that week. My parents were too scared to stay in Los Angeles-they wouldn't even fly into LAX, despite years of living in Chicago. And my mom wonders why I'm picky about where I live (and stay).

2010 was a lot better. No bad scenes. Well, once I got over my motion sickness and emerged from the bathroom 30 minutes later on the boat ride over. I guess you could say that was my introduction to the California diet. Then of course there was the sugar daddy tool that tried to strike a match by saying "How are you, pretty lady" as I walked by a portion of the shore. I'm beginning to think I sealed my karmic fate with that recently ended ten year relationship. Despite these two unfortunate, awkward moments, I still enjoyed myself. It's always nice to revisit a place your younger version fell in love with and find that its magic still exists.

2010 was better because it was my voyage. Alone. And I wasn't scared. No nagging voices in my head about practical concerns. Just my eyes, my thoughts, my feelings, and the small conversations with strangers. Just the feeling of this is somewhere I'd like to be.

The places in our hearts are like that. Islands sitting out there-some visited only once in awhile, some yet to be discovered, some returned to as if they're our only hope to survive. No matter how we get there or how many times we attempt to, it's always a solo journey over something that seems dangerous. Threatening enough to keep us from jumping from what we can see and touch. But it's the only way we come to know what we want, who we are, and what really exists.

Taking a leap of faith requires that you trust that you'll land on something invisible.

And the only way to find out is to actually jump.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

I wasn't going to write another blog post until I got my 15-20 page advertising campaign project "signed, sealed and delivered," but inspiration doesn't wait until the left side of your brain says "go." It typically sneaks in when you're deliberately trying to avoid it. Sneak in it did, as I was lying down for a nap after a really long day at work. Too tired to cook, too tired to think, too tired to even jump in the shower and clean up.

In a way every day seems like an obstacle at my job. You never really know what's going to get thrown at you or what could go wrong. Honestly, when you know you've got an eleven to fourteen hour day ahead of you, each store you have to visit that day seems like it's another mountain. There's a part of you that's not sure you can do it. You're tired, sometimes body parts hurt or go numb, you can't always think straight, and if you're like me, you can get dizzy, unfocused, crabby and just plain exhausted-mentally as much as physically.

But, let's face it-as challenging as it is sometimes from a spiritual standpoint, my job is nothing more than a moderately easy obstacle to overcome. I just tell myself to keep going, it's just another day, it will pass and it's not going to be over unless I go into each store and do what I'm supposed to. Not to mention, I put myself there. If I want to jump out of drudgery, all I have to do is jump.

There's a lot more serious and daunting obstacles in life than a job that can slowly destroy you. I could list some of them, but that seems silly. Silly because no matter what the obstacle is disguised as, what you're really faced with is overcoming your own set of beliefs, perceptions and even your own persona. You have to somehow find that urge within that says what you can't see yet is worth making the climb, despite what your current lens says exists.

No, it doesn't happen overnight. That's part of the struggle. You might be able to grab onto a piece here and there, but not have enough to arrange the entire puzzle yet. You might be putting forth a lot of effort, more than you even thought possible, and not see anything close to the results you were hoping for. At times you think you've already reached the summit, but what you now see is something a little (or a lot) different than what you thought you would.

So you learn that the only thing left to do is to keep changing. You keep climbing because what's the alternative? You're not going to just stop and give up because what you want to see and what you actually do see aren't congruent. Sometimes it's the wanting that needs changing and at other times it's simply a matter of maintaining persistence.

Overcoming who we think we are is simply a matter of identifying what we've attached ourselves to and why. It starts with the belief that we don't have to be anything other than who we really are. No matter who or what that "someone" appears to be, as long as we accept its truth, then the change that we're seeking will eventually materialize.

In terms of all aspects, who we are manifesting ourselves to be is never complete. A little mountain or two that you think is there should never stop you from believing in what could be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Journey to Self-Compassion

"Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things."-Thomas Merton

I don't typically venture online on Friday nights because a girl has to disconnect herself every once in awhile and experience "real" life. But last night was the exception. Besides the fact that I'm currently "man-less" and am forcing myself not to hook up with the latest bad boy I feel sparks for, I missed another invitation to spend the evening with a good friend. Sometimes I miss the days when people would actually dial the phone and leave a message instead of sending a text. I never hear those suckers come through while I'm trying to service my market. Not to mention, who knows when a tired, worn out 33 year old will actually glance at her cell phone? Apparently drinking the three margaritas in her fridge was more important. It's all about priorities, you know.

All of a sudden, I'm inspired to write about compassion, so here it goes. Maybe it's because I don't understand why I'm sitting at home on a Friday night, especially after I was just told that I was "very smart," "had my stuff together, a lot to offer," was "a knockout," and had an "exotic look." I suppose that's the real problem, though. Guys are intimidated by that dual combination. Cute looks alone, they can handle. But when you're smart and independent on top of that...uh oh. It's like a big red stop sign to them. You can take care of yourself, so you don't really "need" them. It's like they think you're untouchable, that they have nothing to offer in return and they won't really be a "man" if they get involved with your alluring, yet capable self. Ok, so a Hell's Angel did offer to whisk me away on his bike this week, but that doesn't count. Most of us want something real and lasting, not just an adventurous fling.

Ok, enough digression and back to the subject at hand. Compassion is really just another component of empathy. It involves being able to somehow feel another person's pain, resonate with it and extend a desire to help them overcome or release it. Sensitives are pretty good at that. We don't even really think about it. We just do it automatically, as naturally as we would breathe in the air around us. We're able to sense that everything is connected to each other and that one of humanity's greater purposes is to actually help those around us.

What we often don't do is develop a deep, genuine sense of compassion for ourselves. At the very least we forget to call upon it when we're faced with something troubling in our lives-like the fact that we expect the perfect husband to just show up on our doorstep, we're not living up to our own idea of perfection, or we're faced with some obstacle that is currently causing us so much pain that it overwhelms our sense of what's real.

Forgiving oneself is far from easy. It means realizing that a perfect human experience wouldn't be perfect without all the imperfections. Buddhist philosophy says that "our sorrows and wounds are only healed when we touch them with compassion." So, what does that mean, exactly? Well one can never say that only a single perspective or interpretation holds the absolute answer, but I'd like to think that it means a few things.

One, sorrows and wounds are imperfections connected to somehow making the Universe mysteriously operate perfectly. Those challenges develop us into whom we're supposed to be and give us exactly what we need in order to get there. Two, we can't release our imperfections without realizing that it exists in others as well. Humanity is not air-brushed, although we'd like to fool ourselves into thinking that we are. There's a song on a CD by a very down-to-earth, insightful, inspiring songwriter that states "there's so much good in the worst of us, so much bad in the best of us. It never makes sense for any of us to criticize the rest of us." I think she's really a Buddhist in disguise, but we'll save that topic for her own inward exploration.

The reality is that we're all in this journey together-not a one of us free of imperfect perfection. When we criticize ourselves we miss the opportunity to realize that who we're becoming is a part of what will sustain the higher order of life. It's the way we come to understand and decipher what's within someone else's eyes. It's the way we finally come to understand and accept our own existence.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Inspiration's Eternal Strength

Not a single one of us, I believe, can honestly say that we haven't borrowed our sense of inner strength from someone who has touched us in some way. Those sets of individuals we just happen to cross paths with in life end up unknowingly passing a bit of their inner light to us. To be honest, they do more than just "pass it," per se. They're the ones who somehow light the match within our spirit. They unwittingly come around when we need them the most, but even if they leave, the flames of that light keep burning. It becomes a sense of willpower that we can draw on whenever life presents us with another mountain that we're not sure we can climb.

When we're lost, feel defeated, and can no longer see a horizon, we seek out that inspiration in order to stop the embers from cooling completely into a ring of forgotten smoke. What we don't always realize is that we're actually the ones who end up saving our own selves, but sometimes our inner warrior needs to borrow a spark or two in order to get fired up. The spark of inspiration ignites because something about that external flame resonates with our own unseen energy.

I've had a few sources of inspiration in my life so far. Some of them I've known face to face, a few from a distance, others only within the realm of my imagination, and still others remain to be seen, I'm sure. Still, there is one light that has been my sun for a long time. I'm not even sure if I would be who I am today without their initial spark and the embers I always found myself returning to sporadically, whenever I needed their light. That light gave me the resolve to make many invisible climbs, renew my vision, keep my sense of hope, rediscover internal authenticity, served as my mirror and yes, even saved my spirit on more than a few occasions. Call it a soul contract, if you will, but I've always wanted to simply say "thank you."

Of course, be careful what you wish for. Sometimes we get what we've been chasing after, just not in the exact form that we would've hoped. A beautiful spirit experiencing more suffering than they deserved isn't the way I imagined it, but in a way it fits-it is right. Not the suffering, but passing the flame back to a set of embers that once helped give me the inspiration to overcome my own makes sense. Most things in life travel in circles, why should I think this would be any different?

In that sense, it is eternal-the flame, the inspiration, the embers that will never really die. A reflection comes to life in order to give back what it took from its source.

While we may ultimately save ourselves, we can't fight alone. For that reflection I received so many years ago, I am more than grateful. The rays of that sun will never be gone because they became a part of me-the part of me which continues to hope that my end of the bargain will be enough to save those original embers from becoming fully extinguished.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Friendship's Revelation

For the past few days I've been thinking about friendship. What it means, how it starts, how it ends, how it can sometimes pick back up from where it left off and how sometimes it can come out of nowhere, from an unlikely source. Of course, I've been thinking about this in the background as I've been trying to focus on completing my mid-term paper regarding the advertising strategies of two digital music subsidiaries. Yeah, I know...real exciting, huh? I really think they shouldn't call it an MBA at all. Masters of BS would be more like it.

Well, let's move on to something more meaningful, shall we? Oh, yes....friendship. Like most sensitives, especially introverted ones, I keep my circle small. Sure, I'll talk to almost anyone, once you get me going. I'll listen, offer my two cents at times, try to get you to reveal to yourself what you already know and maybe, just maybe I might even sit down for a drink or two to get to know you better. But, to be someone I consider a "friend," you gotta prove yourself. Trust isn't easy and what you do versus what you say is the true test of whether or not you move past the "acquaintance" stage. Now, we're all aware that trust is a two-way street, so yes, I do my best to try to hold up my end of the bargain.

True bonds that won't be broken by the effects of time, other people, distance, change and everything else that life throws at us, are quite rare. Once in awhile you rediscover those-by fate, synchronicity or what seems to be chance. Someone who knows you well, has seen all the deleted scenes that didn't make it to the final cut and all the edits and re-writes that no one else gets to read in your final manuscript. They may have even helped you write a few of those "backstage moments" that in some ways become more precious than what the audience gets to witness.

More than ten years can pass before they reappear on your canvas. Maybe because the Universe knows you need each other again or perhaps its mysterious ways are returning something that you now know the true value of. No harsh words, never a judgment, only understanding and support. You can't even recall a fight between the two of you or why you suddenly drifted apart in the first place. What they do say reminds you of who you were, of who you still are and what you already feel within that's yet to be spoken. So when they call and you can't be there because of some meaningless grad school project, you feel guilty. It's a reminder that you still have a lot of changing to do. You offer the support and "virtual" presence that you can and are grateful that you're the one they trust and open up to. You're also grateful that they don't feed your guilt trip; they tell you it is ok and that you'll get together when the time is right.

We have so many choices in life, so many decisions to make and so many places where we can choose to put ourselves and extend our energy towards. Those accolades and pieces of paper that are gone once we light a match underneath shouldn't be one of them. We do it because we want to be somebody, to be externally appreciated, to be noticed, and to gain what we already have.

Something we already have, but never took the time to really see-someone who cares enough to stick around, no matter what. Someone who sees behind our eyes, into that place that only we think we know.