First, let me urge you to give yourself the gift of the Inner Advent course. This year I will be bring new perspectives and designs for recollecting, reviewing and releasing the life of your soul during 2013. Click here to learn more and to register. https://theimagineselfacademy.com/courses/10/about
With so much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and everyday it is so easy to be global and vague in our gratitude. Nothing wrong with that at all. But I woke up this morning wanting to enrich my mood of gratitude by focusing on one area of my life and determining what I am actually grateful for in that area. What I offer and what I receive. It is actually quite valuable to be grateful for what you are able to give as much as for what you are able to receive!
I am choosing friendship and the friends that join with me in the participation of deep friendship.
For those of you that do not live in the US, I invite you to spend some time on November 26th in the mood of giving thanks for your friends.
You may think that you are only a name on my mailing list and on a superficial level that is true. Just like you may see my name in your inbox and not think about me even if you read my email.
But is there more? Is there a deep friendship between us even though we only meet in cyberspace? I feel this is so based on my imagination of friendship.
A couple of months ago I had reason to think deeply about deep friendship: really contemplate what it means to me and writing down my imaginations.
There is a certain form and feeling of friendship that is based on similarity, familiarity, proximity, frequency, history, and attraction. I love this cozy, memory-filled friendship and today I have a dear friend of this order staying with me to share Thanksgiving. Its the best and delightful. Hanging out, yakking about stuff together, giggles, complaints about our aging bodies, eating chocolates, all the goodies of friendship.
But I want to talk about the deeper stuff of friendship, the kind of friendship that may or may not include sharing chocolates and memories. Hence, my relationship with you, dear friend.
In reflecting on deep friendship, I realized that the four elements of the Becoming I Inner Year programs are the four areas of conversation/attention/devotion living in deep friendship:
CONTRIBUTION, INTIMACY, BALANCE, MORAL DEVELOPMENT
• contribution and the recognition and support of a each others unique gift/purpose/destiny and its manifestation;
⁃ your presence on my mailing list, your comments and emails, your participation in the Imagine Self courses keep me devoted to my contribution – the work I do to serve others.
⁃ I hope my emails and my courses serve your contribution and create in you a deepening understanding of your purpose.
• intimacy and the willingness to risk and sustain transparency, vulnerability, reciprocity, and differences through connection, attunement, trust, autonomy, care and forgiveness;
⁃ my sense of you, each of you, means I must be intimately open and available to who you are, who you have been and who you are becoming enough to receive the inspirations that shape my writing and my teaching.
⁃ I must be transparent about my own joys, questions, sufferings, and struggles. If I am not genuinely intimate, why would you trust me?
• balance and the thoughtful, creative, ongoing composing of an inner and outer life that arises out of the mysterious choreography and colors of paradox and polarity.
⁃ my sense of the archetype (or the universal and original design) of the human being must constantly balance with my sense of the individual and the unique expression of the archetype in you and the thousands of others who engage in what I offer.
⁃ I must balance instructing with encouraging, my impulse to fix things with the need to remain reverent of choice and process.
• moral development and the courage to confront, explore, and resolve the difficulties of inner weaknesses, blind spots, notions of overly spiritualized ideals and demands of materialistic measurables, resistances to full expression of freedom and responsibility, letting go of attachments to identities and defenses, and evolving an increasing ability to wonder and love.
⁃ As Gandhi said “Be the change…” If I am encouraging you to attend to your moral development (moral development is where spiritual development meets practical development), I need to be working on this myself fiercely and compassionately.
⁃ I do my best to write and teach in ways that you feel strengthened, encouraged, and accepted – seen with real warmth – so that you can make the challenging steps to become more truthful in your thoughts, more harmonious in your feelings, and bring more goodness in your deeds.
And then there is the shared delight of celebration that through the light and dark of friendship, two separate I’s have penetrated into a we of significance for the future.
I do celebrate what we share and the future we are shaping individually and collectively.
For Thanksgiving, in the mood of giving thanks, fill your heart with imaginations of your deep friendships, the ones that make you more you in freedom and love.
The Inner Advent course will deepen your friendship with yourself! Register here. https://theimagineselfacademy.com/courses/10/about
PS: 2014 will bring new versions of the Inner Year programs on Contribution, Intimacy, Balance, and Moral Development. Look for the announcement soon.