Monday, 20 April 2015

Open your arms

Yesterday I lost a friend without warning. I had not seen her for a while. She was a person whom, twenty-seven years ago, helped me adjust to the situation of living in a foreign land without a stitch of knowing the language or cultural heritage. The age of my mother, her advice was caring and practical. Her tips to contact with my English roots here (through expat organizations or the Anglican church) kept me over the years sane. When she came with her family to eat by us, or her youngest son jobbed in the summer in our restaurant, our paths crossed always with a warm hug and loads of catching up. Over the last years I would see her at my gym in the morning aerobic class full of an energy and vitality honestly I believe only a Kiwi (New Zealander) can have. An optimism that continuously bubbled up over the surface, seeping out to bring warmth to whom ever was in its vicinity. I always felt she stood fully in life with her feet on the ground, moving in a dance all of her own and you were drawn in to wanting to move with her.

My friend just died instantly while out walking. We are all in shock; each has differing reasons why. Some are self-based, as in wishing we had talked once more or taken up the invitation to “drop around for a cup of tea”.  Others cannot believe how honestly “out of the blue” you can go when your time is up. Mine were instantly mingled with a gratitude she did not suffer or have a drawn out illness. It would not have suited her style. Then I, like now as I write, could only see her smile as she caught my eye across a room and like a magnate, I was pulled towards her to have a hug. I have spent yesterday and today thinking over various situations when we have seen one another, including as her son brought his family by last year from New Zealand to visit us, and I always come back to the one thing that made her for me special – she lived life with her arms open. Open to helping you. Open to gathering the flowers of life and breathe in deeply their fragrance. Open to hold you in comfort. Open to hold up what needed to be held until it could stand on its own. Open to being loved.

Last night my best friend was by me to visit and have what I call a good old chinwag! Lots of talk about ourselves in relationship to our desires, needs and worries. Sharing our feelings and asking for support from one another, to then be able to gain an understanding upon how we are seeing a certain situation. Knowing someone is there to protect your back and give you the ok so you can keep moving forwards. I sat with her with such a love in my heart for this woman who has been part of my life now for twenty-six years. Sharing in all the twists and turns I have experienced. Keeping her arms open for me to be comforted, share a supportive hug or be embraced with joy at what I have just lived.

Our friends and friendships have differing roles in our lives. Some are here for a short time to help us through an event or bring us towards gaining another view on a situation at hand. Then they leave.  Some remain steadfast and solid but only are in the background of our daily living, due to separation through the boundaries of different countries. Yet when we reconnect it is as if nothing has separated the bond between us. Some are short and sweet then crumble leaving us with a mess to contemplate over. Some friends are more termed acquaintances as they depth to which we invest our personal self remains based only on a business or cordial term. Each has its own schema and scheme in the plan of things. Each has its purpose and part in our dance of life even if at times we do not realize it.

Then there is also the lending of a friendship to a stranger in the form of support, (i.e. business, teaching, caring) which at the time perhaps you do not even realise how important it was. If you are lucky enough the universe will give you the chance to see this at a later date. I was blessed on Saturday morning by such a moment and in reflection I realize it was also the time in which my friend died. Reaching out to take some cheddar cheese off the supermarket shelf, a woman stepped in front of me and smiled. I looked towards her and felt as if I could know her. She smiled even larger and I remembered three years ago teaching her privately Qigong Yangsheng for several weeks. She had put on weight, grown her hair and looked so much softer in her face; it could almost have been a different person. She had come to me to learn how to gain a sturdy foothold on her pathway, which had been ripped up and torn apart, leaving her worn down from struggling over all the obstacles that were in her way.

When you teach someone there is a strong relationship that develops, which has the bond of a friendship. It is intensified when it is on a one to one basis and especially if the material being taught works on a mind, body and soul level. You are entrusted with a person’s inner world and asked if you can show them a tool to regain a balance, a direction or sense of purpose. In this lady’s situation it was a reason to keep going. We exchanged greetings and then she blurted out how she thinks often on how without having had my help, she would have gone into a dark place under the earth that threatened to cover her at the time and stopped breathing. I was her life jacket at the time she was drowning. She continued to tell me why and how a postcard of some snowbells with a poem I wrote about letting new growth come up with a lightness from the frozen winter ground, still is attached to her bathroom mirror. I was at this point suddenly very teary. I myself needed so very much this morning to hear some loving strokes of appreciation and here I was being dosed in it.

I asked if I could embrace her to share my thanks and wrapt her up in a warm hug of shared love for what we had each given the other. I opened my arms to accepting thanks. I opened my arms for another’s gratitude. I opened my arms for moments shared and appreciated. I opened my arms to love in all its forms.

In all times in life we have the choice when it goes on saying hello or goodbye; receiving or giving to keep our arms crossed; keeping everything out and bitterness held within. Crossing your arms over yourself keeps the boundaries ridged and nothing can get in. Or we can move through the rhythms of life with opening your arms at any time, which allows you to be ready to accept all the “flowers” you can hold. To get to experience the depth of the greatest attribute we humans can live, give and use – love.

Open your arms to yourself. Open your arms to friendship and sharing in all its forms. Open your arms to life.

Your Koruswhispers


The Listener

The listener doesn’t need to hear For his soul is already attuned; To the sounds that encase him Like a blanket that fits, Snuggly over ...