Friends, Jewels and Cancer

file0001686835906[1]I’ve been blessed with some wonderful friends over the years. My friends fall into different categories: work friends, childhood friends, single friends, like-minded friends, neighborhood friends and virtual friends.

I find it funny that most of my friends tend to be strong, bold, confident, opinionated, adventurous, take charge-kind-of-women. That’s not the way I’d describe myself.

They’ll hop on a plane, open up a business, host a Mardi Gras ball, run a department at work, conduct seminars…and they’ll do it all by lunch time. They’ll order confidently in restaurants while I waver between two or three items until I finally let the waiter pick for me.

I am a Libra. A peacemaker. I should have been born in Switzerland because I am neutral on so many things. But that’s because I see both sides of everything…which is a blessing and a curse. But I find life to be fascinating when viewed from the lens of polarity…the yin and the yang, the light and the dark…the good and well, the not so good. So when I pick a side, I don’t pick white, and I don’t pick black. I pick gray.

As a friend, I’m the gal who will tell you the truth, but in the nicest way possible. I’ll sting you with a dose of reality, with love, not venom, and it won’t even hurt as much as a wasp bite.

I’m a great companion on trips because I’m usually happy to go with the flow.  I can’t read maps or navigate well in airports, so my confident, adventurous friends come in handy as tour guides. I’ve been told I’m easy to travel with because I’m not all that particular about where I go, or what I do.  I have one generous friend who finds me so easy to travel with, she took me on a recent house hunting trip to Colorado.  (My lovely friend has five-star taste, so it was an excellent adventure.) Yep, I’m easy…like a string of pearls…I can go anywhere.

And as I get older, I value my friends like precious jewels. And like precious jewels, they’ve been “mined” by life, and have survived a lot.  Affairs. Husbands dying. Empty nest. Kids getting married. Kids having kids. Retirement.

I’ve walked along side them on their journeys. And in turn, many journeyed with me through my divorce after 20 years of marriage. And those who weren’t able to show up for me during this time, only made room for those new friends who appeared serendipitously, on cue, for this new stage in my life.

I’ve organized a dinner with a group of 10 of my long-time friends for tonight. We’re going to eat our weight in chips and salsa and drink Top Shelf Margaritas and toast our friend Cindy. My friend Cindy has cancer. Again. She kicked cancer’s butt five years ago and sent it home crying to its Moma. Not only did she not lose much sleep over it, she didn’t even lose her hair.

But it’s back again and she’s starting chemo again and doing that Steel Magnolia thing. Again.

And I’m trying not to cry when I write this, because what right do I have to cry? Especially when she isn’t. (Remember, I told you all of my friends are strong. Apparently, I am the yin to their yang.)

She’ll kick cancer’s butt down the road, again, and she’ll do it in high heels and with a big ole smile on her face. Because that’s the kind of friends I have. Strong. Gritty. Graceful.

Happy National Girlfriend’s Day.

If you’re interested in more thoughts on love, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife,  read my book Tao Flashes.  Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

The Natural Order of Things

file000325161223THERE IS A NATURAL FLOW to the universe just as there is an ebb to life. Sometimes things are working in our favor, and sometimes our world turns. One day we are feeling well and know we are gifted with abundance, and the next day our shadow appears and we see nothing but darkness.

Light does not exist without dark. Nor can you truly enjoy a beautiful day without having experienced stormy weather. The Tao teaches us that yin and yang exist in everything–and is necessary to balance all things.

We are all part of this earth. The seasons change, we grow old. There is a natural order. We must trust in this rhythm and know there is grace and purpose in it. And when we understand this, and relinquish our need for control, we find peace.

Maybe instead of working harder, it is time to relinquish some control. Grow quiet, and see what evolves in your life.

Journal Question: Are you in the flow of things or have you been fighting too hard to achieve something?

Affirmation: I know I am part of a larger universe and my life has purpose.

This blog entry is a sample chapter from my book Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace.