Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dragonflies

All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.
-Dame Julian of Norwich, 13th century English mystic

All was well.
-JK Rowling, last three words of her Harry Potter saga

I used to have a dragonfly inside my heart. She introduced me to the Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness, vegetarianism, and the local food co-op. We hung out at bookstores. We played with my cat while enjoying black bean chili and leftover birthday cake during our lunch breaks. We confided in each other and blew bubbles out car windows. Soon we were best friends and she starting calling me her other sister.

I fell in love and moved an hour's drive away. She fell in love and got sick. These obstacles did not deter us. We stood in line at midnight in my town with lots of Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and maybe even a few Slytherins to buy Harry Potter 5. In her town I stood on a balcony in an iridescent hydrangea colored gown and sparkly silver sandals as I sang with two other angel-friends. Then I stood up for her as she became a wife.

When my life was in pieces she gave up her New Years Eve to help me pack it up and move it back to her town. (Actually, she took over the last of the packing. I was too much of a mess to do it myself.) We attempted to assemble a computer desk and successfully painted a bookshelf (which crashed to the ground, books and all, several months later when I moved it across the room). She got better. We carved pumpkins, stared at rainbows, and screamed Aretha Franklin songs on I-40 at 2 in the morning with all the windows rolled down while I played percussion on the steering wheel.

Somewhere things started changing. She was mad at the Dalai Lama. She thought it was unfair that I didn't have cellulite. She was aggravated that I didn't want to watch American Idol or shop at the mall. She played around with the name of my favorite 80's tv show trying to make it sound like a porno. These things bothered me - I didn't change my ideas or behaviors - I didn't express my hurt either. I'm sure I was not blameless.

The day my friend hurled red hot balls of anger straight at me I knew that I had to walk away. I thought I was simply walking away from that conversation. Weeks later I realized that I was walking away from her. With the exception of a few initial heated comments I was calm and kind to her. I knew that we were headed in different directions and we could no longer share our paths. I thanked her for being my dragonfly and said goodbye. I took the bad feelings, put them in a tiny invisible box, tied them up with iridescent hydrangea colored ribbon that only I could see, tossed them in the creek across the street and watched them float away. I left the good memories inside my heart. She was angry and hurt.

I knew that I'd done the right thing but I'd also lost my best friend and that never feels good. I wasn't finding folks who made me feel comfortable right away as she had. There was a hole in my heart and I was lonely. I needed to find my people. That was how I was feeling when I went to my first women's retreat. The retreat began with an hour of silent solitary walking meditation. During that mediation I stumbled upon a patch of trees sheltering an altar with a Buddha statue and a small waterfall. I stopped, sat on the grass, and closed my eyes. Eventually a calming, absolute quiet came over me and I sat that way for many minutes. When I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was a deep turquoise colored dragonfly and I started to cry. I knew everything was going to be fine.

And it was and it is. At that retreat and the three others that I've attended I've found my people. Women who are totally themselves. Women who are open to others, who are creative. Women who are joyous. Women who love. These women are dragonflies! Once I got home from that first retreat I vowed to keep my heart open. I've found that my friendships have deepened and new wonderful people have come into my life. Now my heart is always open and ever expanding. It is also full of dragonflies!

Recently I stumbled upon my original dragonfly girl's photographs on a website. Absolutely breathtaking! I felt such joy to see that she is creating beautiful art. When I read there that she is moving to Europe in a couple of months I was tempted to write to her to let her know that I valued her friendship but I stopped myself. I told her that already. She knows. The Universe knows. All is well.

9 comments:

chocolate covered musings said...

i *love* that you have found your people. i *love* that you can write about such an amazing friendship and i want to honour your courage for saying goodbye when the friendship no longer served you.

wow.

mka said...

ccm,

thanks so much for your comment - you got exactly what I intended readers to get from this piece. double wow!

are you guys home yet?

love, mka

tammy vitale said...

isn't is great to recognize that people fall into our lives and then drop out - and it's *ok* because each of us got what we came for....wise woman you are. Took me a very long time to learn that one.

barb b said...

Hey MKA, did you get my comment. if not here it is again. I really liked this. seems like it takes me forever to realize that a relationship is not good for me and then I manage to leave it in a messy style. take care barb

mka said...

tammy, yep - it seems to take the longest to learn the most important things and that's actually good, I think. (see comment to barb)

barb, thanks. i'm slow to figure these things out too - i've decided slow is better - lessons seem to stick if it's taken me a long time to figure them out.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful piece of writing.

- Hermanzoon

mka said...

Hermanzoon!! Thanks so much for your lovely compliment!

Farin said...

Wow MK. WOW. The enlightened masters always say "all is well". I wish I had the heart to believe it sometimes. I've lost many friends, mostly because they were guys and I was (or they thought I was) into them or actually in love with them. Usually they were the ones to say goodbye, generally in the form of suddenly ignoring me. I refuse to let the love die (in most cases), but I've never been able to cast the hurt aside either. The fact that you can do so, and not become hard and cynical, is something for me to meditate on.

And again, EXCELLENT style and presentation. I've studied writing second only to singing, and I'm always so gratified to see people who really understand how to write!

mka said...

Farin, This letting go or casting away the hurt as you call it, well it took me a loooong time to get here. And it's not always my first reaction. Sometimes I have to "talk" myself to it by stopping, breathing, repeating "we are all doing the best with what we have" to myself over and over. If it's a big deal kinda thing, like what I wrote about in this piece there's usually tons of journaling and contemplating (my form of meditation) involved. This life work is not easy stuff - The concepts are simple - but not easy.

I know that it's hard to do extra reading when you're a grad student but I'm gonna give you a short reading list anyway. Do with it what you will. The book that started me on this path almost 10 years ago was the Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness. What I really want to suggest to you are The Four Agreements and Eckhart's Tolle's A New Earth. I've written about both of these on this blog. Start with The Four Agreements - especially if you're stressed for time. It took me months and months to read A New Earth. I'm always happy to talk about this kind of stuff. Stop by my office sometime, if you'd like.

AND thank you so much for what you said about my writing. Other than an essay writing course in college I've not formally studied writing. Everything I'm reading about it tells me to be true to what I think and feel and the writing will be good. Writing makes me happier than anything else in my life. (well, except maybe my dog and cat) It warms my heart to know that my work touches you. Thanks so much for reading! I sincerely appreciate it.

xoxo, mka