What Do Friends Mean to You?

When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands. Maria Shriver, journalist

One of my best friends recently gave me the gift of the little handmade purse pictured here. She crafted it out of a piece of decorative paper. It fastens with a tiny piece of velcro. It’s so precious to me, mostly because it is a sign of our friendship. 

In my life experience, friends have been especially precious. Growing up with no mother or siblings heightened my dependence on, and desire for, special friends in my life. I’ve found that it’s not about the amount of friends I have but the quality of the friendship. There was a period in my life when I had no best friend. I felt lost. Now, I’m blessed with several. Some close-by, some in other states. They are my sisters by a different mother and my treasure. 

Affirmation: I will be the best friend I can be.

Coaching question: What do friendships mean to you? How do you find, nurture, and keep friends in your life? If you’re short on special friendships, what step will you take to find a good friend? 

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Reconnecting With Ourselves and Others

Humans have an incredible capacity to deal with stress and pain and trauma. What we can’t cope with is not truly connecting with ourselves and our community. Sarah Wilson, author

In an age when busy is better and technology rules, we frequently have little time for quiet contemplation or real connection with others. As much as I enjoy the connection Facebook and other technology offers, there’s nothing as rewarding as talking face to face with a dear friend. 

Most afternoons around four o’clock, I end the busy-ness of my day and take time to read in a quiet, comfortable place. Sometimes, I do nothing and just think.  I reconnect with myself and calm the beast that drives me.

Affirmation: I make an effort to connect to myself and my community.

Coaching questions: What’s keeping you from truly connecting with yourself and your friends? What’s one thing you’ll do today to resolve this dilemma? 

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Girlfriends, chocolate, champagne

There is nothing better than a friend, unless it’s a friend with chocolate. Charles Dickens

Girlfriends, chocolate, and champagne—what a great combination! This afternoon I’m going to a Smoking Pots (my cooking group) event. Each of us brings a dish made from our favorite chocolate recipe and the hostess provides the champagne. Good menu.

I’m bringing Ina Garten’s, aka Barefoot Contessa, French Chocolate Bark. It’s a heavenly mixture of dark chocolate, cashews, and dried fruits including crystalized ginger. An early Valentine Day’s treat. 

Affirmation: Having fun and a little chocolate is good for me.

Coaching questions: What’s your favorite chocolate recipe? What would you like to do for fun this week? Get to it!

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Friends Make Life Better

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you. Winnie the Pooh

Having grown up with no mother and no siblings, friends have always been especially important to me. I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have friends who were “sisters and brothers.” This week my college roommate, her husband from Boston and a college friend from Denver visited us. 

When we reunite, it’s like no time has passed. These dear friends stimulate me intellectually while embracing me in their love and caring. We spoke of the importance of diversity, what it means to lose the love of your life, our concern for the planet and our toxic political climate, grandchildren, and good books. Three ladies who have grown old together while being apart. Just as Winnie the Pooh says, I’ll always be with them and they with me. 

Affirmation: Friends matter.

Coaching questions: What do friendships mean to you? How have friendships helped you heal and grow in your life? What do you bring to your friends? 

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Wise Women Cultivate Friendships

Of all the things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship. Epicurus, Philosopher

I’m very fortunate to have good friends. Being an only child, friends become “sisters” to me and I cherish them. Unlike children, grandchildren, and other relatives, friends choose one another. I’m not sure what Epicurus had in mind when he spoke of wisdom and friendship, but I do know that a wise woman seeks friends with whom she can be truly herself, women (and men) who share her joys and sorrows, who help her to become a better person, who make her heart sing. 

If your life is confined to your work and immediate family or husband and grandchildren, cat or dog, I encourage you to find a friend. Friends take time, energy, and cultivation (just like a beautiful garden) but, believe me, they will enhance your life for the rest of your life.

Affirmation: I seek out and have good friends.

Coaching questions: What do friends mean to you? If you are missing one or more really good friends, what steps can you take to attract friends into your life? 

Coaching request: Tell a friend how much she means to you. 

Four Keys to Greater Happiness

The happiest people in the world have a few characteristics in common: they create strong social networks, have a sense of purpose, are usually generous and have faith. The Blue Zones newsletter

There are two Blue Zones books and studies. One is about the longest-lived people in the world, the other is a study of the happiest. The formula discovered in their extensive research on happy people the world over seems simple…have friends, purpose, a generous spirit, and faith. As we search for happiness in more money to buy more stuff or have more experiences or greater leisure, we may be missing the point. 

We don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Whatever our economic background, age, or circumstance, we can embrace the principles proven to bring us greater happiness. 

Affirmation: I know how to create happiness in my life.

Coaching questions: Do you have friends, purpose, a generous spirit and faith? What element needs to be stronger for you to have greater happiness in your life?

IMG_3986I’m in a happy place with friends.