A few months ago I took a course called Authentic Relationships. It was a Level 2 course in the Kundalini Yoga training program. At the time I was still in Level 1 training for Kundalini Yoga but I couldn’t resist a course that focused on what I believe to be my Achilles heel, real honest relationships.
We shared sensitive personal stories in small groups in this course and we did a lot of “flash writing” where they’d ask us questions and we had to quickly write stream-of-consciousness whatever came to mind.
In one of these stream-of-consciousness writing sessions I wrote about a close friend of mine from college. I’ve been flabbergasted my entire life as to why people adore her so much. She has the ability to not only hold a conversation with absolutely anyone but to seemingly connect with them in ways that I hadn’t been able to understand. We became friends because we were forced into close contact. She lived across the hall from me in the dorms and would often seduce me into her room with the promise of popcorn and Little House on the Prairie. (No judgments please- we went to school in North Dakota in the eighties.)
Slowly I fell in love with her because I was forced to interact with her. This has been a theme for most of my life. When I actually have to interact with other people I usually end up liking them no matter how much I try to tell myself that I despise them before I actually know them. (Obviously this is something that I am working to overcome. Pre-judging people doesn’t meld well with my new-found spiritual nature.)
I’d watch other people fall all over themselves to spend time with her and I’d wonder what it was about her that was so compellingly attractive. I have friends in LA who’ve met her a couple of times and they all talk about her with stars in their eyes.
I used to notice the undeniably human things she’d do in public. She’d fart and burp in front of other people and just excuse herself. She made blatant horrible mistakes. She’d apologize and expect to be forgiven. She was a singer and she often forgot the words to songs she had written on stage. She wasn’t perfect.
But she was whole. She was authentic. She was honest. She never tried to be a cartoon caricature of what she thought somebody else expected her to be. She was always unapologetically her true self. That’s what it takes to make real connections with other people. Honesty is required. Vulnerability is required. Connecting through your heart rather than your head is required.
I can understand now why almost everyone this friend came into contact with was enamored of her. She still is an island of truth in a false world. I haven’t spoken to her in a couple of years but I know that when we do connect again it will be like no time has passed at all. I intend to make sure she knows that she’s one of my heroes. I want her to know that I want to be just like her when I grow up- honest, vulnerable, beautifully imperfect and whole.