Maryanne Comaroto, Ph.D., answers the question: Is there such a thing as having too many friends?
I have wanted to write this blog for weeks, its answer pressing on me as I sit sneezing, coughing, achy, stuffy head, Kleenex feverishly strewn about in a trail from my bed to my computer. So I sit cross-legged in my favorite jammies, gurgling, nursing my tea, missing dancing with my beloved friends this Sunday morning, torn between caring for myself and showing up for the rest of life.
I know it is my practice to listen daily to my body and follow its wisdom: sometimes to sweat my prayers and celebrate freedom of being, sometimes in stillness, and at other times alone. Then I picture my husband dancing among my friends, churning about, his eyes closed, people spinning past him, hugging on to him, sharing their beauty and authentic presence with him, when I realize the gift of friendship that I find on that very dance floor lives inside me no matter what state I am in. I exhale and relax into my healing, comforted by the truth of it.
It wasn’t always this way.
When I first arrived in my dance community many years ago, I had two intentions: 1) To be free, totally free in my body and to have my insides match my outsides and celebrate, I am that that I am. And, 2) To attract a group of friends that I would grow with, perhaps get old with, that cherished my same core values and shared a deep commitment to the path of higher consciousness. I knew very little about such a community or this freedom. What I knew was a world where people pretended to be people they were not, said one thing and did another and valued money, power and prestige above all. People who were stiff, stuck and dying inside. But I was determined to find that or bust.
Which is probably why this place found me.
A Long-Lost Friend
Given that I had no idea people like this existed, I wouldn’t have even known what to look for. It doesn’t really matter because a bridge burst forward from my heart and planted itself in this place that I now call home the moment I stepped on the floor. I was greeted like a long-lost friend, swept away by their genuine care, though not a word was spoken. Whatever I had, they were ready for. They didn’t even flinch. I screamed and cried and stomped and spewed, and then magically, little by little, unraveled and melted. They just loved me.
Finally, I had found a place to live, a real live place where people connected the inner spirit world to a place big enough to hold everything, a place where love IS the answer instead of a metaphor. Where no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you left behind, you are welcome and included, all the way out loud! A place where friendship is a way of life and spirituality is synonymous with reality and valued above everything.
Friends are Gifts
So for me, the idea of too many friends seems mutable until we understand what it is we seek and why. Primarily, because friends, the kind that I am speaking of, cannot be had, accumulated or acquired. Friends are gifts like the sky and the wind. Spirits that flow in and out of your awareness and life, magnificent reflections that dance in and around you offering opportunities to heal, prosper or bless.
Like all gifts, friendship is a gift that we must be open to receive. An unfolding paradox that invites us to feel, deal, and heal as we peel back the layers of false self, tenderly, respectfully, carefully revealing what is most high and splendid in reverence of each other.
Today, I can truly say my life is filled with friendship. And who I have become in the presence of each one is unique as it is plain, someone that treasures the courage it takes to stay on the dance floor, moving in and around each other as gracefully and compassionately as possible. No longer wondering how many friends are too many, as I have come to find that you have a friend in me and that is enough.
Blessings to you Gabrielle and Kathy, my teachers and beloved friends always.