I continued reading the Dalai Lama’s, The Art of Happiness, this week. He talked about baseline happiness; despite great windfalls or tragedy which might temporarily change one’s happiness level temporarily, we ultimately fall back to our baseline happiness level.
What resonated with me was a comment he made in the chapter about the importance of having a circle of friends that you can rely on and trust. I got to thinking about that. Intuitively I know how important it is to have good friends. Unlike your family or life partner they don’t carry the same historical baggage and play a different and important role in your life support system.
While everyone may have different circles of friends and acquaintances, the importance of having a small circle that will be there for you through thick and thin, that you can call at midnight or who will drive (fly, train) over because you need them, is priceless. Those are the same friends that when you are driving “in their area” are thrilled if you just stop over to say hi (versus wish you had called ahead) are equally not offended if you say, I am calling to say hi, but I only have 10 minutes. Friendships, like plants, take time and care to grow (yes, it is summer, I am into gardening metaphors).
I believe that I am a good friend, but I know I could be better. Sometimes life gets in the way, we get over committed, and we put off that call, note, or visit until later. I believe those consistent short calls, notes or cups of coffee are invaluable and do so much to lift one’s spirits during a routine day (both the initiator’s and the recipient’s). Of course, there are times when the marathon call/dinner/visit are in order, it is the consistent care and tending of the relationship that is vital.
Our Practice – Practicing “Yoga” with Friends – Virabhadrasana (Warrior)
No matter what is happening in my life, going for a walk or getting back to my mat always makes me feel better. Perhaps it is endorphins, perhaps it is the mind calming and meditative effect of the activity, but the power of our practice is real.
Taking a cue from the Dalai Lama and his reference to the power of friendship, perhaps this week spark some joy by taking a walk, attending a yoga class or just spend some time sitting at the beach (park, mountainside) with a friend.
This photo was taken in Florida on a paddle boarding adventure I had with three of my elementary school friends. Paula, a fellow yogi, and I were having fun saying “of course we could do paddle board yoga” (full disclosure, there may have been splashing and falling involved)! Spending time with these friends who have known me for over 50 years does my heart good.
The warrior poses are definitely poses representing the strength of a warrior; keep in mind however, these warriors are battling for goodness and peace. The work “vira” in Sanskrit means “hero” and “Bhadra” means friend. Therefore, when practicing warrior poses we are invoking a protective friend, someone to call on when in need.
We just reviewed Warrior One several weeks ago and covered Warrior Two and Crescent Warrior previously. Links to those blogs below.
Meditation – On Nurturing Friendships
“Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all take a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.” – Maya Angelou
In the words of Ringo Starr, “I get by with a little help from my friends”. I saw Ringo and his All Star Band in NH a few weeks ago and enjoyed (and was inspired by) the 81 year performer who sang and danced more nimbly than many much younger people. I do know that he practices yoga and meditates a practice that was solidified during the Beatles trip to Rishikesh India in 1968.
I searched the internet, there was only one video I could find with the Beatles actually performing the song. It is below. Picture quality is not great but I liked it better than the remastered versions with just a picture of an album cover. There is also a link, after that, to Ringo and his All Star Bank playing it in 2015 joined by Paul McCartney. Pretty cool too (that one is for you Paula!)
Nurturing with Food – Happy Fathers Day – Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
My husband, Peter, loves strawberries, anything with strawberries. I like them as fruit and in pie, he even likes strawberry ice cream (I have a problem with frozen hunks of strawberry in creamy ice cream). In any event, we had the ingredients for this pie at the beginning of the weekend after we went picking. I offered to make the pie for Father’s Day.
Full disclosure, this pie is vegan, but not particularly healthy. In my opinion, when things are in season, and you pick them yourself, a little splurge on dessert is in order! I will admit, I use Crisco in my pie crust. You can substitute butter or vegan butter. You can adjust the level of sweetness by adjusting the amount of sugar.
See you on the mat!