I just had a most wonderful weekend. My college roomie and all around BFF came for a long-awaited visit. We have not seen each other for 4 years. We each have a child whom the other has not met. Before her visit, I was anxious and excited. Would we still be BFF’s? How would our kids get along? Would we have anything in common? Would she recognize me with a little less Good Girl and a lot more REAL me? Would I see her for all she is now, not just a figure from the past?
Yes. Yes. And yes. We hugged, laughed, parented, drank, ate and were merry for four lovely days! Our littles loved each other (okay, well most of the time). There was swinging, sand-boxing, wave catching, chowder eating, and loooooooong walks down memory lane. And when she left today, waves of something new washed over me. I felt a bit like Gob Bluth when he discovers feelings. (Anyone out there a fan of Arrested Development? If so, you’ll get my reference. If not, you should immediately stop reading this blog and go watch all three seasons.)
I recently read Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. In it, she quotes Chogyam Trungpa as she grappled with actually feeling her feelings. This may sound silly, but as a Good Girl, I was not all that much in touch with my feelings. I was more concerned with what I SHOULD be feeling. I often resisted most of my actual feelings. And I would often give myself “action items” in response to feelings. For example, when I would feel sad about saying good-bye to a friend, I would then give myself a to-do list of how to keep in touch, make more visits, etc. Or I would wallow in guilt that I couldn’t afford to see her more often. But today was different and it brought me back to this quote.
So, Trungpa says this…
“You feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness and the first sign of real warriorship. . . Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.”
It was the word “romantic” that first caught my attention. And “softness.” Good girls look down on these notions. But here, he is saying that these feelings are the true essence of our capacity to be fearless. Or I’d like to think our capacity to be real and connected to what is true.
Well, today when my soul-sister left, I felt all that. Sad, lonely and a little bit romantic. Because I think I’m discovering what it feels like to be fully engaged with THIS moment. REAL moments are FULL. They contain all the softness of the human heart, which means sadness mixed with joy or loneliness mixed with deep connection. Today, I really tried to stay with my feelings as I went about my day, feeling the absence of my friend. As it all washed over me and settled into my grooves, I recognized the pangs. They have visited me often yet I’ve always tried to avoid, fix or change them. But not today. Today, I soaked in my sadness, my gratefulness for such an amazing friend, my longing for days gone by, the romantic, nostalgic fullness of it all. And I’m pretty sure that another layer of Good Girl was washed away by this great wave of humanness. And I was just handed another key to a more REAL, joyFULL, connected life. It feels full. It feels like tears behind my eyes. It feels soulful. It feels like sisterhood. It feels like tapping into a well of goodness, beyond Good Girl’s wildest dreams.