Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friendship Feast

My guest co-blogger today is my dear friend, Dana Stone. We’ve known each other since 1980, and neither of us is sure how we’d have made it this far in life without each other. In 2005, we celebrated the Silver Anniversary of our friendship. I am grateful for her every day, but Thanksgiving seems an especially good time of year to share our thoughts on what makes a great friendship tick.

Joyce: Dana, please tell the Cool Insighters a little bit about yourself.

Dana: I am old soul refining the gold and polishing the silver of my Higher Self, while keeping my karmic commitments. I have been a world traveler since birth (courtesy of the US Air Force) and spent my formative years in England and California. This is how I learned diplomacy and an appreciation for all cultures. My native American (BlackFoot tribe) and North African ancestry (Watutsi tribe) instilled in me a great sense of rhythm and a deep appreciation for the spirit of earth and all her resources. My interests run the gamut from teaching Jazzercise to Metaphysics. I love all forms of art, music and dance. Sensitive in the extreme to all things toxic (people, places and hair dyes included), after 32 years of government service, I am embracing my role as an earth elder teaching others authentic empowerment and wellness. I am currently working on developing an intuitive leadership training module for government and corporate professionals, focused on earth-friendly policy development.

Joyce: Let’s swap thoughts on the qualities that make for an enduring friendship. You go first!

Dana: Shared interests, honesty (by this I mean candor with kindness), integrity (will take a confidence to the grave), trust, loyalty (not blind but supportive), common sense and an earthy sense of humor are on the top of my list. A friendship that grows and changes, as you do, is also important.

Joyce: Agreed on commonality of interests—add worldview—between us. It’s as though in the friendship department, we were made for each other—companions on the paths we have chosen, side by side, that parallel through the same woods. How many times did we joke about our first marriages with issues so similar, we sometimes felt like we married the same man? (What a blessing we each did so much better the second time around.) I think just like marriage, our most important friendships have something to do with making a good choice and recognizing “a great match” when you see it. I never thought about it till this moment, but you and I have some of the same things in common that I do with Tim. That is, the same religious background and values. Of course, I have friends from different faiths, but add to the spiritual perspective, so much of our faith is in each other!

Next question: What actions do you see us taking that keep the fires of friendship glowing?

Dana:
I see us sharing tips and tools as we embark upon the joys of navigating the Social Security system. I also see us traveling to new vistas, laughing, loving, singing and dancing our way into our dotage.

Joyce: It’s about quality connection. Naturally, a certain quantity is important, but over the years, the various demands on us have meant we couldn’t always spend a lot of time together. Yet the time we spend together is so special—always a treat. We never miss celebrating birthdays, Christmas, or important personal events together. And with our common interests, I can’t count the number of workshops we’ve attended together. Loved our spa weekend getaway for our 25th friendship anniversary, reprising something we did more often when we were both single and life was a little less frenetic. We take time for our friendship, and when we can’t take a lot of time, we make it a celebration—which spills over into the whole quality of our relationship. It is one big celebration of gratitude for us both, and we tell each other how much we mean to each other often. Man, I didn’t think about it much till now, but we’re real gushers!

How ‘bout this: What things do I do for you that are the most supportive?

Dana: You are the best non-judgmental listener ever!!! You hear what I am saying and the intuitive thoughts and emotions behind the words. You are positive and enthusiastic, no matter what crazy idea or undertaking I am proposing, and you have the best referral/resource information database in your planner.

Joyce: For me, you’re “always there” in the most meaningful way to listen and give a positive spin on whatever I’m going through—or to shake a fist at the bad guys who do me wrong! (Especially when I’m being “too nice” to do it myself.) I’d say one way you support me is the same way my mom did—you only see the good in me. When I tell you about some fit I had, you act astonished that I could “lose it.” I don’t need to lose it with you; we’re so simpatico. That’s why you’ve never seen it. My mom had on rose-colored glasses about me, too. Reflecting from adulthood on times I acted like Baby McEvil, she’d insist I was always an angel. Luckily, love is blind (maybe even a little senile!) in motherhood and close friendship, too. You also give great input when I seek advice, keep secrets, and never judge. You liked Tim right away, which was an important barometer for me. I don’t think I could marry anyone that didn’t “feel right” to you. Thanks for all the class you demonstrated on some of my weirder boyfriend choices throughout the years. You’d never discourage me from walking the path of my learning, but you’d never fake enthusiasm, either.

Lastly, what are the qualities I have in our friendship that you are most grateful for?

Dana: I am grateful that you always listen with your heart, are perpetually positive, have awesome creative ideas and can find humor in anything!

Joyce: Laughter is definitely a close second to anything that comes first. How we have howled together! You’re so intelligent, witty, and spiritually savvy. To know you is to love you, and I feel honored to have such a special place in your life. You’ve got a very full dance card when it comes to friends—a line even!

Wrap-Up
I had said this so many times, I was grateful to hear my thoughts echoed on an episode of Sex and the City when Carrie came to the realization that men may come and go, but your friends are who you’re left with when you’re a Golden Girl. It’s rough to think about, but women outlive men on average by more than five years. Many times the woman lives much longer. In some ways, choosing your closest friends is one of the most important decisions you ever make.

May your friendship harvest be like mine and Dana’s—the cream of the crop! We’d love to hear your Comments and special friendship stories.


To read more about Dana as coach, visit her Astral Coach site.


Photo by
Theresa Hayes, Dana’s sister, at the wedding of Dana’s stepdaughter on October 5, 2008.


9 comments:

Dr. Sally Witt said...

Joyce,

How cool to have your friend as part of your blog!

Thank you for sharing a wonderful friendship with us.

Sometimes I think that when we learn to be a good friend, we have it all together!

Sally
www.drsallywitt.com

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Sally. I am beyond blessed. I have the most fascinating and true blue friends. They are the Gold Rush I got when I moved to California! (Some of them happened before CA in other places. I got a gold rush anyway.) They all do such interesting things, I'm thinking of profiling most of them on my blog in 2009.

To have a good friend, a person has to be a good friend--and I believe you're right. It's a sign we have arrived in a certain place in our lives that's quite magical when we manage to create that kind of loving support system. A toast to friendship!

Beverly Mahone said...

Joyce,

One of the things I like most about you is you are who you are. You don't try to come across as someone else. It is evident by the friendships you have and you really do keep a positive aura around you. Dana sounds like a wonderful woman and she should be a part of BDN.

What I find most distubing about relationships between people is they expect it to be hunky dorry 24/7. But just like with everything else that's important in your life, I believe friendship takes work. You will disagree sometimes but you always grow in the process.

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Beverly. What a wonderful compliment! It takes courage to "be yourself," and I'm glad it's noticeable that I've arrived at expressing my individuality with minimal fear and awkwardness--a pretty big step for a people pleaser at heart. Dana is the best. Thanks for thinking of her for BDN.

Great point re: the pebbles on the road of friendship. It's always worth working through hard feelings or misunderstandings, because any relationship that is worth having is worth that effort. I find that as I have grown, the quality of my friendships has changed. Ironically, this connects back to your first point. The more I have "become me" and not tried to be friends with someone not on my beam, the "pettier" squabbles have fallen away. I think it helps, too, that I gravitate toward great communicators, since communication is my life. :) I'm lucky to have chosen friends who are both respectful and able to get their feelings across while leaving room for those of others to co-exist. That minimizes conflict, even if it doesn't 100% eliminate it.

Pam Archer said...

Friends are nice, TRUE friends are a treasure. You have a true friend in Dana. You are blessed!

Heidi Caswell said...

So cool to have life long friends. Thanks for sharing, and being such a friend to all. As I get to know you better I can see why you have life long friends. :)

Joyce Mason said...

Pam, so true. I do consider my friends my treasure, including the friendship at the core of my relationship with my husband.

Heidi, what a sweet thing to say. Connection is my life's blood, and it's always a bit difficult for me in a new group until I feel that heart link, which takes a little time. The Divas make it easy! What's that old saying about new friends are silver and old friends are gold? This is a time of community building in my life, and I now know why my favorite jewelry blends both silver and gold. Bless all of you, my friends!

Melodieann said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friendship with Dana by having her on your blog. She sounds fabulous. When are you going to convince her to become a Diva and share her with the rest of us?

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Melodieann. Since you and Beverly both see Diva in Dana, I certainly plan to make the pitch!