Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners, Buddies and Pals

When did you learn cooperation? When did you learn give-and-take? Who taught you? Your mother or father? How did it make you feel?

 

Did you have siblings?  Besides sharing parents, did you share a room? A closet? A bathroom? Did you share your emotions?

Have you ever had a partnership with just one very special person? How long did it last? How did you manage that?

Partnering isn’t easy…but it isn’t hard, either.  It takes concerted effort, for which humans are actually well-equipped because we have quite an advanced way of communicating. It gets more complicated with more partners involved, of course.  I think the rewards are increased in the process. Wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy the partnership of all living things?  After all, we share one planet. 

contemplating colors
Partners

Friendship and the Serious Introvert

This post is a feature article in this month’s Be Zine. To view the entire blogazine, click HERE.

I had all but disqualified myself from writing about Friendship this month. “I have no friends,” I thought, envisioning ladies’ magazine coffee klatch groups, beer commercials and Facebook statistics. I don’t have the requisite exercise buddy, shopping buddy, or the Oprah-sanctioned “5 Friends Every Woman Should Have”. That little childhood rhyme started playing in my head: nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms.

I’ve decided to re-frame the topic.

I do not have a lot of friends. I do not make a point to get together with acquaintances to socialize. I am an introvert and was raised by introverts. I didn’t have birthday parties or play dates as a kid. I had one good friend who lived two doors down, and we played together almost every day. He was a year younger than I and a boy. When I was in 5th grade, a girl joined my Sunday school class, bringing the class total to three – myself, the rector’s son, and this new best friend. She still sends me Christmas cards. When I moved from Illinois to California the summer before high school, I had to start all over. After a year, I had made a good friend who was a year older than I. She was a bit bossy, but she connected me to the Girl Scout troop, the school choir, the Italian club, and my husband. I was 15 when she introduced us. I was 45 when he died. Later that year, I met someone online – a bookseller who’d just finished a course in Spiritual Psychology. I’d found my new best friend. We’ve been together for almost 8 years. 

photo credit: Carol Toepke

photo credit: Carol Toepke

What I know about Friendship is not about quantity. It is about quality. I think I have enjoyed all the important health benefits that Friendship adds to life distilled into a few precious draughts. To feel that freedom that creates well-being, we have to be able to establish a trust that allows me to be completely myself; we have to create a safe vulnerability. Honesty, copious communication, time, and kindness are the key ingredients. For me, this doesn’t happen easily. It takes concerted effort. More often, I find myself in relationships with mentors or students. I feel quite comfortable as a student or a teacher. Those are roles I can hide in. To be in a true friendship, I have to come out of hiding and operate in an arena of wholeness and equality…which is far more risky. A tremendous accomplishment of my 24 year marriage is that I know that I can survive and thrive while being fully open to another human being. Still, I suppose it has to be the right human being. And those are rare.

The love of a true friend is extraordinary. It goes beyond the giddiness of fun, beyond the pleasantries of companionship, beyond the nobility of human kindness, beyond the affirmation of attraction. The love of a true friend is challenging. It asks you to be entirely forthcoming. It asks you to question your habits and assumptions. It asks you to change and react to change. It asks you to be the best you can be. And it asks you to challenge your friend in return. Because of this dynamic love, life is never boring and your relationship never goes stale. Because of the trust you build, you can enter into the most intense realities of life with some security and the sense of adventure. As my husband used to say after another trip to the hospital, “Never a dull moment!”

My calendar is not full of lunch dates or parties; my phone doesn’t ring for days at a time. Still, I have tasted the best of Friendship and grown braver, healthier, happier and wiser. And no worms were harmed.

International Poetry Month

This post was written for The Be Zine which is dedicating its April issue to International Poetry Month. As a Contributing Editor, I am honored to be able to join with truly accomplished poets in celebrating Poetry, but I am well aware that my skills do not match those of my colleagues! Treat yourself to some truly substantial fare by visiting the magazine here

My favorite poetry is philosophy dressed in dreaming, not logic. It imagines a larger reality, a more expansive love. Rilke is the gold standard, I think.  Oh, but that is the pièce de résistance, and there’s so much more besides that. I am a poem consumer, not a gourmet chef. I know very little of form or craft, but I love to taste and participate. So I’ve written a love poem to my late husband because, well, you might as well start with breakfast. 

Exclusive

Thick, boyish lashes fringe
Other eyes, perhaps as blue,
Open, tender toward Beloved

Still smiling youths may offer
Eager grins, warm confidence
Gleaming ‘neath soft whiskered lips

Clear voices might ring
Thrilling, gentle as yours when
You sang at daybreak just for me

Surely now first loves make vows,
Grow mature together, devotion’s
Friendly joy becoming solid strength

Fathers must bend heart and arm
Wrap manhood’s grace boldly around
Each golden, blessed child – like you

No doubt live sorrowing pairs
With looming loss, still holding,
Fingers trembling, to brave last words

I cannot boast an only, greatest grief;
I know this storied world is vast.
But still I weep in fond belief
That you and I loved first and last.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

“The Universe has been telling me to focus on Love. ” That’s exactly what I’ve been hearing, too!!  

I’ve been working on editing this month’s issue of the Be Zine coming out on the 15th on the theme “Nature: Wilderness, Gardens, and Green Spaces”.  I discovered (or re-discovered) that it’s all about our relationship to this Place.  Our existence is about a relationship.  ALL of existence is about a relationship (don’t take my word for it – ask Albert Einstein!).  In other words, it’s ALL about Love.  

Love makes the world go ’round. Not just our love for others of our species, but the Love that holds all of Life in its embrace. Respect it all!


One Love

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Both Sides Now

Whenever you’re trying to solve a puzzle, it’s important to look at it from different angles. 

To read “A Little Story About Loving Yourself”, a story I created for this puzzle series, click HERE.

From Every Angle

A Celebration of Femininity

Female energy.  I see it as a sisterhood of excitement…

My daughters

…and of compassion.

connect

I recognize it in generations of curiosity and understanding…

female curiosity

… and in powerfully individual dreams.

female dreams

It is the energy of a sparkling and fecund Universe…

female sparkle

 …and our human response to it.

female

A response that encourages our own growth…

female hope

 …and the growth of other lives around us.

female growth

 It is creative…

female creative

 

…and loving…

humanity 3

…and life-affirming.

female life

Feminine energy in harmony and peace is a vibrant good in the world.  

My three daughters

May it resound across dividing spaces, bringing us closer in union with All.  

between* Dedicated especially to my mother, my three sisters, and my three daughters.  Your energy brings me life!

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

This photo essay is featured in The B Zine, Vol. 1, Issue 3 – An online publication of The Bardo Group/Beguine Again.  Please visit the site to see my colleague’s works by clicking HERE.  Enjoy!

Parenting: Then and Now

Preschool crush plants a kiss. “Isn’t that cute?!”  Mom takes a picture. 

Grade school crush writes a note.  Revelation: someone likes you.  Mom smiles. 

Middle school crush messes with your self-esteem.  Why and why not?  Mom worries. 

High school crush introduces adult intimacy.  Are there rules?  Mom intervenes. 

College crush invites self-exploration.  What if?  Mom doesn’t know. 

Post-college crush proposes solid possibilities.  What will I choose for myself?

Mom leaves it up to you and breathes relief. 

afterglow

The afterglow: 5 couples around the table, relaxed adult conversation. “Isn’t this nice?!”

Mom takes a picture.