The Cycles of Friendship – “Thanks for Stopping By…”

Over the last 4 years I have experienced some of the biggest, bad ass and yet most bountiful shifts in my life.

I left a marriage… and found my self.
I lost close friends…. and opened to new family.
I dumped definitions…. and fell in love with my no labels no veils sublimely naked spirit.

And in the end I came home… to me.

Through this experience of floating in a sea of change (learning to not attempt to swim upstream against the current of the cosmos), one of the biggest personal challenges for me had been the shifting of friendships. We’ve all been taught that love comes and goes, with lovers making grand entrances through the front door and slipping out or being kindly asked to exit through the side. Yet, somehow (even though most of us haven’t spoken to our high school “posse” for years and that the once closest confidente may no longer be listed in our email contacts) still find themselves with the belief that relationships of friendships are our entitlement… that they should last and if they don’t the disappointment can be more overwhelming than a lost lover.

Hmm… interesting isn’t it? When a friendship is in fact another form of relationship. That a friendship is still an engagement of sharing, receiving and inspiring through interaction, just like with a partner, and just like a relationship, it is important for us to be able to stand strong without it and never need it, yet always appreciate, nourish, and cherish it while we have it.

And… Just like with partners, friendships can shift. They may change from (what seems to be) negative and confusing situations or simply a drifting apart.

In the few past years, with all my self transformations, many of my friendships seemed to drift away and I found myself wondering what it was that had caused these departures. I soon realized that I had embarked on such a different voyage from those around me that I no longer made sense to them, that in fact who I had become was not who they believed they had invested their “friendship energy” into and thus “no longer knew me”.

There is of course a choice that they could’ve made here: “hello my name is (fill in the blank), let’s get to reknow each other…”   but for most that’s not an easy option. Change seems to threaten the comfort zone and foundation of people and when it’s someone very close to them that has shifted, it can cause their own foundation to feel shaky.

They may be wondering how to keep up, or how to connect with the new you, they may even wonder if the new you knows and still loves the existing them. For some your change can also be a reflection back of their own unlived dreams, fears of “going for it” whatever “it” is to them, or feeling that they are lacking in their own personal growth. Regardless of what they are experiencing, this can cause a long time friend to pull away.

What I’ve learned is to allow them to float back into the open sea. Don’t grip, don’t struggle trying to pull back their anchor and park them next to you. Let them go and say “Thanks for stopping by in this life! Your company was appreciated, your love savored and perhaps we’ll meet again.”

Just as friendships have left, new amazing connections have appeared in my life. Ones that inspire and nourish the new “I”. (It’s beautiful to me how when we make space in our lives, stunning new bountiful things, people and experiences enter in.)

Although I don’t have any expectations for these new relationships or friendships, I do appreciate them standing strong next to me in the moments we share and am open to those moments lasting forever… or a day.

Thank you everyone… for sharing this life experience with me!

Alessandra Sagredo, Spiritual Hedonist

Originally published 1/2/2012