Good friends don’t buy into our stressful stories

I am revisiting topics here.

And although I have the thought that I should write on “new” topics I see the value of revisiting. It feels fresh and new to me even if I know I have written about it before. Each time, I am likely to do it from slightly different angles. I may discover something new for myself. And with about 10,000 articles here, it doesn’t hurt to put topics back on top of the list of articles.

So here is an old one going back to my teens: Good friends don’t buy into our stressful stories.

Of course, if we wish to hold onto our stressful stories, then good friends are those who tend to support them. They show their sympathy by listening to and agreeing with our stressful stories.

But if we wish to be more aligned with reality and find freedom from our stressful stories, then good friends are those who don’t buy into them. They still listen and are present with us. They still show sympathy since they know the pain of stressful stories. But they don’t buy into the stories in themselves.

They know, from own experience, that stressful stories mask pain and hurt, and that this pain and hurt wants to feel heard, met, listened to, and allowed. They may know that stressful stories hold no absolute or final truth, and the liberation of clearly seeing this for any specific story that’s here and finding specific examples of the validity in the reversals.

So how to be a good friend to others, especially when they are interested in finding healing for these parts of themselves? Listen. Listen for the fear and pain that often is behind the stressful stories. Ask what they would like from you, and what would be most helpful. After a while, perhaps suggest that this can be explored later on.

In some situations, we may have the experience and skills to guide this exploration, and they may ask us for it. Or we may mention that we are available now or later if they wish to explore it.

We can do this exploring in a range of ways.

It could be asking the triggered part what I want us to know. How it is experiencing the situation. Have a dialog with it. Thank it for (wishing to) protect us. Help it to see what it really wishes for us. Help it to see what happens when it comes up as it tends to do. Invite it to explore different ways of coming up that may be more helpful to us, and more aligned with what it really wants for us (usually, a good life).

We can do it by inviting in a noticing and allowing of what’s here – the sensations, words, and mental images. Notice. Allow. Notice it’s already allowed (by life, space, awakeness, the mind). Rest with what’s here. Notice, allow, and rest with the sensations. Notice and allow the fears that may come up when we initially do this.

We can do it by identifying and investigating the stressful beliefs, for instance through The Work.

Also, after they have expressed what they wish to express, and had some time to rest with it, we could offer a simple mix of these according to what seems most helpful. Invite in noticing and allowing what’s here and rest with it for a while. Invite in noticing and resting with the sensation component. Invite in a noticing that this part of us that’s triggered is here to protect us. Invite in different and potentially liberating perspectives.

Often, it won’t be quite as systematic or formal as described here. But some of this may happen spontaneously according to what seems appropriate and helpful in the situation. And we may notice that something in us is triggered by what they share, do some of this for ourselves, and perhaps mention it.

If we are on a path of discovery, healing, and aligning ourselves more closely with reality, it’s helpful to find friends who are doing the same. They can help us shift out of stressful stories, and perhaps even help us explore them. And we can do the same for them, and for ourselves. We can be a good friend to ourselves in this way. And in each of these three ways, we create a new culture within ourselves as individuals and among ourselves as groups of people with this shared orientation.

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KL: i’d like to just tell you what i like about you

since we won’t have time to chat much, i’d like to just tell you what i like about you
would that be okay?
(i’ll give you a moment to prepare yourself if you want.  LOL)
i was starting to write it like a poem in my head
but…i’ll just share the simpler approach
that’ll be the theme for today.
i really appreciate your welcoming personality
when we connect, i feel a warm embrace like you really care
i like your touch…when we did Breema so many years ago
i sensed a presence that is palpable and it helps me find myself
i like your quirkiness
from the music you listen to, to the clothes you wear, to the myriad of personal growth offerings
you are unique and a true artist
i like your sensitivity though it can be hard on you at times, you are a model for the capacity of human sensitivity…what we could feel if we weren’t always distracted
i like your intuitive nature…the ability to tune into Wisdom and know what is needed…from healing people, to responding to their woes and worries
okay…i think there is more, but i need to stop there for today
I’m grateful you were born

A friend of mine just wrote me this on Skype since it was my birthday yesterday. I thought I would put it here so I can find it again later. Sometimes, in dark moments (which I have now and then, especially over the last few years), it’s good to be reminded.


I have been reminded of this recently:

Some folks are used to conversations that reinforce beliefs and velcro, including stressful beliefs.

Others tend to meet what’s here with love and gentle inquiry.

I notice both from myself, and see I sometimes slip into one or the other depending on who I am with. (Even if I slip into the former, I am aware of what’s happening and that it’s not comfortable, and I usually go into the second on my own afterwards.)

That’s why I am even more grateful for having friends in the second category.

It’s such a relief to have conversations about what’s going on with both of us, and taking time to meet unloved parts with love, and unquestioned stories with gentle curiosity and inquiry.

Thank you to KL, AH, CL, MET, SF and others.

Lessons from the Blue Zones: How to live longer and healthier lives

The four essentials:

1. Move Naturally – Make your home, community and workplace present you with natural ways to move. Focus on activities you love, like gardening, walking and playing with your family.

2. Right Outlook – Know and be able to articulate your sense of purpose, and ensure your day is punctuated with periods of calm.

3. Eat Wisely – Instead of groping from fad diet to fad diets, use time-honored strategies for eating 20% less at meals. Avoid meat and processed food and drink a couple of glasses of wine daily.

4. Belong to the Right Tribe – Surround yourself with the right people, make the effort to connect or reconnect with your religion and put loved ones first.

More info at Blue Zones.

The other side

I feel I should correct the one-sided ending of the previous post

The process of individuation, of becoming more fully, deeply, richly human, of bringing the soul into this life, and of awakening as what we already are, it is not really one that is likely to make us lonely, not even in a conventional way. In becoming more fully human, we also become more mature and more deeply ordinary. And this is exactly what most of us are looking for in our friends. If anything, it makes for easier, deeper, richer friendships, and more numerous as well if we are looking for that.

The process only becomes an obstacle if abstractions becomes more important than the lived life, if there are still strong shadows there, a strong belief in certain ideas, a strong attachment to certain identities and images. And if these are present, then it is only natural that others will shy away from it. It is valuable feedback to ourselves.