need friends

Do You Want More Meaningful Friendships this New Year?

At the beginning of December I was already looking forward to New Years.  There's something so beautiful about having an external invitation, like a holiday, to pause for reflection.  Most years, my husband and I spend an evening journaling-- using questions such as:

  • What was the hardest part of this last year?  How did I respond?
  • What do I want to celebrate from this last year?  What did I accomplish, where did I grow, and what am I proud of? How can I foster even more gratitude in my life?
  • What did I lose this last year?  Have I grieved those things fully?  Is there anything I want to do right now to honor those loses or let go?
  • Where do I hold angst, stress, guilt, or frustration?  What might I do now to go into the New Year with less of those feelings?

And then I inevitably pick a few words.  A theme.  An intention.

I don't do goals.  I do feelings.  What do I want more of in my life? And I name a word. Or two or three.  :)

Past words have included: gratitude, traction, abundance, courageous, and connected.

Then, from there, I can better make decisions about what would help me experience those feelings.  It ensures that I never set resolutions based on obligation or guilt, but based on pursuing the things I want to feel.

Entering my 2014

This year, in early December, as I was already scheduling a few weeks out to block off an afternoon for reflection, I pictured myself sitting in a group of women.

Just thinking about us all having a place to share our reflections and witness each others losses and celebrations thrilled me! I sent invitations out.

And yesterday afternoon I sat in that circle I created.  I don't think any of the 9 women who came knew more than 1 other person in that circle, and most of them didn't know anyone else.  But as always happens, because humans crave more meaningful conversation that we typically get, magic ensued.

What  a joy to be able to not just journal on my own, but then to also share some of my reflections with others.  And to hear their stories.  To resonate.  To be inspired. To process out loud.  To hear myself get clearer as I shared.  To celebrate each others wins.  To bear witness to their losses.  To collectively decide that we want to enter a new year with more clarity and less fear, doubt, and uncertainty.  We committed to live lives of love in 2014, instead of acting out of fear, and we chose it together.  That's powerful.

So this year when I chose my words, it wasn't just written on a page, but it was spoken out loud in a circle of supportive faces. I spoke mine and they spoke theirs.

My chosen words for 2014: "I want to feel generous, present, invigorated, and expanded."  I can't wait to see how I show up in my friendships with more presence and generosity!

What would you say if you were in that circle? What do you want more of in your life this year? (Here is a partial list of feelings words to see what jumps out at you!)

Choosing Connection

Is connection on your list?  Or, what about acceptance, belonging, appreciation, inclusion, mutuality, or affection?  Or maybe Frientimacy-- the intimacy of close friends?  Does one of your words include inviting more love into your life?

If one of the hungers of your heart involves being connected to others-- whether that be making new friends, repairing some old relationships, or developing some friendships into deeper and more intimate experiences--I invite you to join me this Friday night (1/3/14) on the free call I'm leading.

If one of your themes has to do with friendships, surrounding yourself with good friends, then I hope you'll carve out an hour at the end of this week to give yourself the pause to start thinking how to turn that word into reality.

Yesterday, as these women left my home... they just kept saying, "Thank you for organizing this... I needed it, but would have never done it on my own."  That's true for most of us.

So I extend the offer to you, to sit in a virtual circle with me this Friday!  Give yourself the inspiration and information you need to attract more meaningful connection in your life.

If you have a phone line, then you have a circle of women waiting to be with you.  :)

www.FriendshipsWanted.com

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Activity Idea:  A couple of years ago I came across Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map who does something similar but she adds some brilliant questions that I now answer after I pick my word/words:  What can I accomplish/experience this year to help generate these feelings?  What can I do this quarter....?  What can I do this week...?  What can I do today...?  Brilliant.  Reminds us that even drinking one green smoothie or sending a card to a friend might move us toward our word.

In the meantime, leave a comment sharing some of the words you're choosing for your 2014!

 

 

 

 

 

New to the Area: No Friends Yet, by Katrina Emery

Note from Shasta:  This is a guest blog from... (drum roll please).... my little sister, Katrina Emery! She's a fabulously talented writer (see her blog link in the bio at the end) and her experiences going from having tons of friends in Portland to knowing no one after a recent move overseas are feelings we all know well!

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In April this year, my husband was accepted to study at the University of Amsterdam in Netherlands, a long way from our hometown of Portland, Oregon, USA. We packed up and arrived here in August, quickly falling in love with this city of canals, looping bridges, water, and bikes.

Jesse and I have been here for two months now, and I can sputter a sentence out in Dutch, find my way without a map, rattle off my favorite cafes, and giggle if someone confuses a coffeeshop for a cafe (coffeeshops serve the stuff you don't tell your boss you tried). I've developed a taste for gouda and Dutch gin. I've almost mastered the graceful bike dismount. I judge tourists that stand in the middle of the bike path.

I haven't made any good friends.

Shasta likes to point out the health risks of being lonely and not having local friends, and while she means for it to motivate us, usually it just scares me. Great. I can't speak the language and I'm going to die young. It's a lot of pressure! We're only here for a year, and we're already two months in. That leaves only 10 months to find a friend, get to know her, have the time of our lives, and cement best friend status before I leave next summer. Ideally, she would have family in Sweden and invite me over for a Scandinavian Christmas celebration where we would eat homemade food, drink mulled wine, learn to say "cheers," laugh, knit big sweaters, and have that long happy movie-montage moment. I've got it all planned out.

While walking around a few weeks ago, I saw a girl that seemed nice. She was sitting on the steps in the sun, reading. Possibly Swedish. I went through the scenario in my mind:  "I see you're reading. I like to read. May I sit by you? And could we be friends?"

I kept walking. Sweden for Christmas seemed a bit further away.

Another option was a girl I'd met in Portland, who, of all things, was also moving to Amsterdam so her husband could study. It was meant to be, I knew it. When we arrived and felt settled, I sent her an email....and never heard back. "Maybe she didn't see the email. Maybe she's just busy right now. Maybe she's preparing a surprise party for me," I told myself, thinking about the likelihood of pinatas at the party. Then my husband said, "Maybe she's just not that into you." Oh. Right.

Not having friends just doesn't fit in my plan of being here. I'm here to create solid friendships with people who live all over Europe, thus ensuring free places to stay and awesome company for all my future travels. And I've got those all planned out, too, along with my weekly meals and what restaurants I'd like to try in town. A friendship is just one more thing that fits into that plan, right? Not so far. And imagining it hasn't helped yet.

So instead of dreaming, I'm trying to relax. I'm trying to stop counting down the months, worrying about the health risks of being lonely, and instead enjoy my time here, the people and friends I do have, and all those Belgian beers that I get to try. While I do that, I'm trying to smile, be friendly, and talk to people without worrying about what they think of my mono-language upbringing.

Instead of sitting at home planning, I'll get out there more. I'll rely on time, happy coincidences, repeated invitations, and slightly lower expectations. Maybe I won't find a best friend, but I could find someone who'll show me the best Indonesian restaurant in town, or help improve my Dutch vocabulary, or admire Van Gogh paintings with me. And those are the things, amazingly, that are slowly happening in between the time I spend planning.

Just yesterday as Jesse and I were sitting in a cafe, our table-neighbors heard us speaking English and struck up a conversation. They're from Montreal, and visit Amsterdam every year. We're going out for a drink with them later in the week.

And two weeks ago, I forced myself to go to an expat hiking group. I had almost backed out due to nerves and feeling shy, but it turned out to be a beautiful day, and I met a lovely couple from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Which is pretty close to Sweden.

Not that I'm planning or anything.

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Katrina Emery enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, sewing, and riding her bike. Currently she is doing all those things, Dutch-style, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. You can find her musings on her blog at The Penny Farthing.