The Joy of Friendship

When I was a seriously young adult, I had a dream that included Liza Minnelli, Shirley MacLaine and Barbara Streisand sharing a stage, with me sitting in the audience revelling in them performing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. Somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness I must have realized that there was, at the time, not a single venue in this country that could deal with such an explosion of power as one day, whilst indulging this daydream, I had a sense of all the circuits blowing as they launched into the chorus. After a gentle moment of silence, the whole audience reached for their Bic lighters as they continued unperturbed and unplugged.

My dream never was and never will be realized, however all was not lost. Sun City opened, and so did a host of opportunities to see artists we had only dreamt of before. I shall never forget the excitement, raw anticipation and then joy as Liza Minnelli sashayed onto the stage one balmy summer’s day or the bubbling emotion as she sang New York, New York. I was changed! A few years later a friend invited me along for a weekend at The Palace at The Lost City. I felt thoroughly indulged as we ‘did’ high tea and, surprise of all surprises, attended the Shirley MacLaine show. I remember telling him, as we left the theatre, that I needed to be alone and that I was feeling extremely vulnerable and emotional. The following day, when he asked how I was feeling, I tried in vain to explain how I felt. I had no words.
Not long after that I saw a cabaret show by our own Amanda Strydom. She had us in tears and in stitches and I left that theatre feeling pretty much as I had after the Shirley MacLaine encounter.

Never before in my life had I felt as if someone had put their hand into my solar plexus and gently pried it open, leaving all of me vulnerable in the expression and experience of joy. It was as if my soul was bubbling and pushing to explode out of the centre of my being, to shout to the stars and the raw talent of those people, to be touched and realized. Their power and their beauty tickled my potential, showed me an aspect of myself that I was petrified of seeing as I knew, once you have seen something so powerful and beautiful, you could not turn away from it. But I did . . . as so many of us have. Until very, very recently I thought that I had never experienced this feeling again, but I am happy to state that I was wrong. What I have done, however, was learnt to protect myself, to tone the experience down, to manage it and to make it fit into my world rather than try and entice me into ‘it’’.

I have a tendency to seek a day of silence after I have spent time presenting workshops or having a full day of readings – or, I have now come to realize, after spending a day with someone who makes my soul feel hugged.

A few days ago a friend came to visit. We shared socks to warm our feet and coffee to warm our hearts. My son treated us to lunch that consisted of a quiche made of puff pastry, love, feta cheese, a bit of daring, a lot of spinach and a touch of finesse. We laughed, we cried and we explored questions on love, life and each other, growing in the presence of our own vulnerability as we hugged and said goodbye with thunder and rain saluting our unspoken trust.

It was only the day after – as I ambled gently through the day, that I recognized my need to spend a quiet day always followed a day when I was in complete alignment with joy. My joy not only makes me feel fulfilled, but it also makes me feel vulnerable, gentle, open, warm and fuzzy and, because it more often than not catches me by surprise, I use the following day to ease back into another level of being, of gently integrating that quietude into my being and, more importantly now that I have seen it for what it is, to allow it to become more and more a part of my everyday life, rather than to repack it and stash it with memories.

We all have many acquaintances, but not everyone has many friends. I have many people who circle my sacred sun, but only few are brave enough not to be burnt by my eccentricities, my boldness, my fears and my shortcomings. I have often said that with me you get what you see – that I am not very complicated. What a blatant lie! If the people or situations in my life who irritate or challenge me reflect my shadow, then those that inspire me to this extent must be reflecting my Light, my core and an aspect of me that deserves to be recognized, acknowledged and loved. Why has loving me been so difficult, when the answers lie open before me? If I love these people, these treasured friends with a sacred love born of recognition and unconditional acceptance, then I cannot not love me, for they for me as I for them are pure reflections of the Light we have come to this Earth to be. I know now, without question, that our presence in one another’s lives is what will, if we allow and acknowledge it, help each of us to see and live our soul potential in reverential awe as we embrace our open hearts.