Tag Archives: mindfulness


“I married my best friend” is a bit of a tired cliche. How often is it really the truth? How do you truly know this statement to be fact? And if that statement is put to the ultimate test and proven to be true, what do you do then?

It seems like a lot of relationships start out as infatuation/lust. Sometimes they develop into genuine friendship but all to often couples rely on that friendship developing over time and through life experiences, that can be a bit iffy. Men get their head turned by a pretty face or cute figure while women like bad boys and all too often overlook what’s right in front of them. That’s a broad generalization but good enough for where I’m going with this. How many people do yo you know that tell everyone that they are married to their best friend while finding excuse after excuse to be anywhere but around their spouse? I can still remember when I matured enough to realize that all too many people can’t wait to complain about their partner, in fact it almost becomes a badge of honor to talk trash about your “best friend”.

My wife truly was my best friend. Trust was something we had right from the start, respect was never lacking, and secrets were something shared and never kept from each other. I knew for a fact that I married up and was amazed every morning when I woke up and realized she wasn’t a dream. Maybe that is part of the puzzle of finding that perfect friend, we both thought we had found someone better than ourselves and worked constantly to be worthy of each other’s love and respect. So how can I say with such certainty that Karen was my best friend? Because when faced with the ultimate test, the sudden and irreversible severing of that friendship, I find myself completely lacking in the knowledge and skills to have and be a friend.

Karen and I were married in 1986 when we were both 21 years old. Karen had been part of the popular clique in school while I had been the opposite end of the spectrum spending most of my time behind the scenes figuratively and literally. Looking back now I never really developed any life long friends until meeting Karen, while she heard from friends from high school all the time I truly can’t remember the last time I talked to someone I was close to from back then. I spent 30 years looking forward to getting home just to be around my best friend. Actually I was rather anti-social, my go-to response when asked if I wanted to go golfing, hunting, drinking, or pretty much anything was “I’ll check with Karen”. That response probably made some friends think “boy is this guy whupped” but the reality was it was just an excuse not to be away from my bestie. Usually I never even discussed it with Karen cause I would rather be with her.

Now that she’s gone it’s the quiet support, the knowing she was always there that I miss the most. If we went somewhere she was my guide, she was never awkward and approached all situations with confidence. Now I’m consumed with doubts and anxiety at just the thought of accepting an invitation. How do you know you’re not bothering someone? How long is too long to stay? Do they really want me here or do they just feel sorry for me? And most important of all, who’s going to elbow me if I slip into my “Union Meeting” voice or get to preachy?

Karen was my validation, seems like everything I did was anchored to her. Sure I did stuff that pissed her off, that’s normal (whatever “normal” really is) and just like a child testing boundaries I usually didn’t do that again. Where and how do you find that stability, that continuity, that reassurance we all need after a stressful day, week, month, year? Lots of people may tell you that “I’m here for you” or “if you ever need to talk” but how do you get that voice in your head that’s screaming “you’re being a bother!” to shut up? I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Practicing a bit of self regulation before reaching out does seem to muffle that little jerk inside my head a wee bit.

What can you (I) do once you (I) have recognized you’re (I’m) in this circular world of needing contact, support, and validation but not believing you’re (I’m) worthy of it? As with most everything in life Practice is the key. Practicing self regulation makes reaching out just a little bit less scary. Practicing mindfulness makes the inevitable missteps less painful. Practicing being a friend helps others realize that they too are worthy of love and affection.

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The Continuum

What do you do when the lights go out?

Find a candle.

August of seventeen found me sitting in the dark with no sense of where to look for the light that had gone out on SuperBowl Sunday of that same year. In hindsight the darkness was so complete I wasn’t able to see that light still existed, just not where I had grown accustomed to it being for the past 33 years.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time the first sparks that were trying to lead me to that light were all around me. My dear friend, Jennifer, sent me a link to an app called “Headspace”, before I knew what was going on I found myself spending 10 minutes a day in my back room meditating no matter what else was going on. On a lonely Saturday night emptiness and thoughts of Richard, a friend I hadn’t talked to in quite awhile, resulted in me sitting in the home of two unique and genuine people. We talked, chanted, meditated, and talked some more. I heard and felt things that made no sense but the validity of the experience was never in doubt. In fact when I mentioned to these friends that a decade ago I wouldn’t have even entertained or listened to what I had just experienced, Lauranna’s comment was simply “that’s why the storm that blew through then was unable to extinguish the light, she new you weren’t ready and couldn’t handle it”.

Shortly after that experience I was on a bit of a manic mission that took me from Oceanside CA to Klamath Falls Oregon and back in just over 48 hours. Along the way I stopped in Lassen Volcanic NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, and Pinnacles NP. During those long hours driving my truck NPR was my steadfast companion, all NPR seemed to talk about though was how mindfulness, meditation, and Yoga were for everyone not just hipsters and bendy young women. A woman named Jessamyne instantly became the breathe of fresh air causing that candle flame to burn just a little bit more noticeably. I signed up for the YogaGlo app and did some practices at home, something was lacking though. Thus began my search for studios in my area, unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to overcome the perceived stereotype and just kept trying to figure it out at home.

Dark lonely nights seem to be when what your truly looking for finds you. August 9, 2017, my 31st wedding anniversary, was one such night. Isolating and looking inward after a long day at work I opened Facebook and a post jumped out at me, Yoga at an old VFW hall downtown on Wednesday nights, seemed just right. I sent a message to the host of the group and then fretted when I didn’t hear back immediately. Little did I know that a simple post on Facebook would lead me to the candle I was looking for. People whose candles burned brightly, despite the personal darkness trying to consume them, all of a sudden came into my life. Alison, Danielle, Joyce, Darwin, Ziya, Nichole, and so many others literally and figuratively showed me the way.

My personal practice began through this month long awakening, that practice is ever evolving, expanding, and enhancing the flame on my candle. The fear of that candle blowing out is a constant just like the dark spot created when Karen’s candle blew out will always be there in my heart. Regular practice has helped me to not only find one candle in the dark, but to add candles in other places to help weather the storms that threaten the flame inside.

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