Yesterday afternoon, amidst the 94 (feels like 104) degree Richmond weather, I had the opportunity to catch up with one of the most generous, kind, and encouraging human beings I have ever known. We met at Richmond's beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, a place I highly recommend to would-be visitors, but with the heat, we decided to have lunch rather than explore the grounds.
a rose at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Eight years ago, when I met her, we both worked as high school language teachers--Wendy Spanish and I English. We quickly discovered that we not only shared passion, intensity, and occupation, but we also shared a hometown, Buffalo, NY, and a birthday! Soon after, we became friends and made time to eat lunch together every other day. Wendy, a fit and active woman, older and wiser than I, has inspired me to keep trying new things, such as kayaking, hiking, and yoga, despite being a few years older than my parents.
Last month, while in Buffalo caring for my mom after her surgery, I received a letter to mom's, from my same friend, hoping that caretaking was going well and sending her love. I literally cried upon opening it! It's not often that people ask how caretakers are fairing... it was just what I needed!
some of my wonderful (teacher) friends (and f/c): Sharla, Annie, Wendy at our post-snow day wedding party
Although I left my teaching job two years ago, we have kept in touch and tried to see each other and catch up periodically. Do you have those friends in your life that leave you feeling excellent about your life and the world? That is what Wendy does, and to be honest, I don't think she can even help it. As a true friend should, she helps me know that I am moving in the right direction and helps me feel at ease with my choices and progress. Even when you know you're doing what you're feeling drawn to, some days are harder than others. You know, specifically, when you quit your job, go back for a second degree--in something like a "dead" language, no less, sell a beautiful vehicle, and downsize your life and spending habits, people can certainly think you've gone off the deep end! Becoming a yoga instructor and sharing one car with my husband is enough for some people we've known to all but delete our numbers, but not Wendy.
Thankfully, she has been on many of her own life adventures and has made the right choices for herself and her family--choices to move across the country or even out of the country, that many others were unable to understand. In catching up, I was reminded of how open, excited, and free she is. Free of worry, judgment, and "shoulds." Her possessions do not dictate her life and acquisition is not her sole focus. She gives unabashedly and generously of her time, money, and attention.
Like I mentioned, after spending time catching up with her, I felt recharged, renewed, and I returned to the optimism and positivity I've been somewhat lacking the last few weeks. I am so thankful to have her in my life. She, like people you may know (or be), has a gentle way of illuminating what's truly important. Life is not so hard, so nerve-racking, so scary--it's an adventure to be enjoyed; it's an event worth your full attention, intention, and presence. And when you look at it like that, Making Mindfulness really isn't that hard, after all.
I know I've already recommended you Let People Know They Inspire You, but have you taken the time lately to let people know they help you want to be a better, more present person?
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Gratitude, Life, Mind & Body, Positivity