How To Spend Time With FriendsJul 07, 2022
Find the time to nourish long-lasting relationships, and the courage to let those go that are no longer serving you.
We often talk about the need for social support as a key part of wellbeing and having a happy life. Friends are relationships with a connection of trust, support, honesty and ease. Who you consider as friends affects how supported, lonely, connected and purposeful your life feels. They are your community, no matter where you are in the world. I reflect back on when I was back in the UK one summer where I had the pleasure of spending time with my dearest friends.
I have never been one for celebrating my birthday I decided to make the most of an opportunity to see people while I was back in the UK. I based it on how I would like to spend my ideal birthday and invited people to come and share time with me. Often at these kinds of events, I worry about if anyone will show up and that no one cares to make the effort to celebrate with me.
That year I made a concerted effort to focus on enjoying my day and valuing whoever I connected with by being present and in the moment with them, displaying my gratitude for our connection and their generosity in sharing time with me.
I really enjoyed my birthday and was really touched to spend time with those there. I did not miss or worry about who was not present but felt immersed in my birthday and really blessed.
Not rushing around
It’s very easy when you visit once a year to get caught up in a checklist of seeing people. In the past, I have been guilty of allocating an hour to each person I see and then running off to the next. I found myself exhausted, clock-watching, and not feeling like I had really enjoyed the company of the people I had seen.
On this trip, I decided to allow half a day to see someone if not longer. This gave us a good amount of time to catch up on events in our lives, and also allowed our connection to deepen with longers chats and opportunities to support one another. This meant I had to be selective and make choices about where I placed my energy. I intuitively engaged with what would be the right choices for me by looking at the overall balance of my days and weeks and time. Those relationships that needed nourishing managed to fit into the timings perfectly.
Silence and Play
This is my favourite friendship - someone that you do not need to speak to. You can spend time together in silence acknowledging your different moods and energies. It is only when you spend enough hours with someone that you can enjoy the silence and not spend your whole time talking. The silence promotes a deeper connection and a trust in each other that words cannot convey.
You can play games showing your vulnerabilities, idiosyncrasies and silliness where you laugh and perhaps support each other. These games build trust and teach you more about one another. Playfulness is key to building healthy and long-lasting relationships. We often forget to give sufficient time to ‘just play’.
Perhaps you build or construct something, a problem-solving exploration surrounded by children helping you out. You work as a partnership in improving your communication skills some of it non-verbal and some verbal as you problem-solve. The task is a brief satisfaction but the time as friends connecting in this way, priceless. Yes, with me there is likely some movement, meditation and possibly some work if that is part of our connection.
You need to allow time for the space to arise where all these things occur. It cannot just be over a cup of coffee or dinner in a restaurant. There needs to be quiet, no music playing or TV in the background. It is important to share different skills and show vulnerability. This can even occur when you cook meals together like working out what you’re cooking, finding the appropriate pots and pans, or adjusting the recipe for missing ingredients. You make it an experiment like child's play.
I never grew up feeling like I have a tribe. I didn't feel that I belonged. My friends have always been international and writing pen pal letters was vital to my friendships before the digital age of social media. To leave the UK was to give me an opportunity to connect with all my friends worldwide, where I worked less and had more time to build deeper genuine connections.
When life is changing one of the hardest things is recognising that you have to let go of people that you love and have had great experiences and times with. We fear that if we leave, move on or have a change in direction, we will lose people in our life. You have to trust that genuine and good relationships will endure whatever happens and changes in life.
When it was time to leave the UK, I acknowledged that people would still be here for me. And if they weren't going to be there for me, I accepted that it was time to move on from that relationship. I released that relationship from the future, thanking it with love for what it has done for me in the past.
Finding new people
I'm very good at making new friends, yet shut down when networking for my work. As I have lived a retreat life, it's easy to blur the lines between clients and friends. The intensity of the experiences often brings value to both sides, and I believe that our souls connect without distinction of friend or client. I have been very fortunate with the wonderful people I have met. I feel like I've built a global tribe similar to that which I had as a child, but thanks to technology I can keep connected to everyone while I travel.
I have considered ways to connect this global tribe as part of my business through Facebook and other solutions. There is always something missing in this digital tribe, perhaps the lack of time and physical space, to allow the silent games and explorations to happen. You can have some great long-distance connections and relationships, but I find this very difficult in the group scenario online.
What I witnessed in my past retreats is the number of people who returned, and the connections they have between each other shows why they reunite in person too. I see the retreat as building a worldwide community of people who do not need to see each other regularly or become best friends who chat on the phone every day. But people with who you can simply enjoy that space, exploration and deep profound connection during a retreat.
I have found a life where my way of deeply connecting with people is fluid, some labelled ‘friends’ or ‘clients’ or ‘collaborators’. That is our choice that we agree on the boundaries as our relationship unfolds. I just acknowledge how very lucky I am to have found the travelling tribe that supports me.
Future ways to connect
Photographer Sian Mercer
I did not know how relationships would change once I moved to Australia. What kind of local tribe I'll become a part of and how this might change my international world. I did not see my way of connecting changing, or the international relationships that encourage me to travel and visit others.
Does it mean that you have to pay to be my friend? It is unhealthy to separate and categorise who we are and what we do. It disconnects you from a greater sense of purpose, the deeper connection and relationships we build if you cannot move between these blurred lines. I do not wish I have a desire to separate work and personal, friends or clients. My intention is to support and spread healing and love to others. I have to live in this material world and earn money to pay for things, and it is part of the energy and value exchange in which we all coexist.
Most importantly as times shift and re-settle, there will be time for connecting in new ways. As all our lives change and shift, do not lose touch with me. Perhaps you do not wish to receive my emails or read my blogs, maybe you are not on social media or haven’t got WhatsApp. We choose together how we connect and when our relationship has passed - perhaps give me a bell if it is time to move on. It is always nice to say farewell, or maybe we just need a moment to connect again and re-find our spark.
If you wish to build your global tribe, I invite you to become part of the Embody Life Sanctuary Community - a safe space to share, connect and form relationships with like-minded souls worldwide.
This blog was first published in 2018 by omegamovement.co.uk
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