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Chai High

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Friendship for Real

“Real” friendship does NOT involve doing the arithmetics in calculating the pluses and minuses in your career, social life or status. In other words a relationship is not based on those self-serving measurements but purely on common interests, common values, and this is big for me – amount of fun and joy or sense of serenity and peace we get from each other’s company. A bonus might be that there’s learning from one other whether you share a similar background or drastically diverse – sharing stories – it’s always rewarding. It’s crazy but even if there’s a negative correlation or unfavorable risks, a true friend will come to support and aid at such times of trouble, when help is warranted.

In other words a diamond in the heaps of sands and debris and trash …

In a lifetime if you even manage to count such a friend with one hand, then, you are very very lucky- said my mother who comes from an era where there were no curated social networks and medias, where there were no Likes and validation through such virtual signs.

While I wonder if my friends are each a diamond or a diamond in the rough, haha, I came to the conclusion that perhaps it’s time to turn it around – change the perspective – to simply flip the focus. Instead of wondering, why not review how many people have I have been a good friend to? Have I been present? Have I really reached out? Have I said Yes to offers and invitations myself? No – often I said No. I am busy; I am tired: I am overwhelmed; I am not in the same situation, excuses abount – ultimately I was self-absorbed.

So Instead of trying to find such diamonds FOR MYSELF- think I will rather focus on polishing myself to be that diamond itself myself for others rather than wondering if I have diamond like friends ! Be the Diamond! So here’s the long winded way to come to setting a New Year’s Resolution:

1. Self-care – recommit to home yoga practice and to a nourishing sustainable well balanced diet reducing inflammations and acid. You can’t shine when you are depleted. Right?

2. Self- improvement and investing in such tools and resources. That could mean explorations in physical terms such as in simple and routine walks in nature, or in travels; or it may just be an inner travel to rediscover what’s within. Or going outward to reach out to others. You can’t shine if you are empty – devoid of insights and knowledge.

3. Forgive – judge less; do less, experience more. Forgive others and most improtantly, forgive yourself. You can’t shine if you are holding a grudge or angry.

4. Forget the negatives. You can’t shine if you are focused on the negatives – instead focus on the cup half full – then eventually my cup runeth over. Right?

5. Cherish and savior the moments with those dear to one’s heart and soul.

You can’t shine if you neglect, ignore or forget the NOW – the present moment. Right?

6. To be selective – in associations and space we choose to be in. Selective does not mean snobbery or discriminating or hallucinating one’s superiority or being egotistical in any way – I am special – I am chosen – kind of sick mentality? No. Selectivity not based on any self-esteem issues but rather on being able to set boundaries, guarding against toxicity (those who complain excessively, those who always bring up negative news, uninspired and unhelpful critiques to burst any bubbles of good will), and not to become a “therapist” or a “counselor” to those who could use a professional help unless a non-professional advice is sought. So … selective in words, time, space mostly to help protect our own mental health.

Once I had a “friend” who at bedtime will share a horrid news of the day in an alarming fashion, really setting oneself up for a sleepless night. If one tends to suffer from insomnia, definately someone to avoid as we need to protect our sleep hygine. There’s the lavendar, the perfect bedding, the warm bath, meditation, yin and restorative yoga … all that effort to create that sacred space of care and peace can come crumbling down with toxic messaging – so … mute or shut off noise and chaos, calm the anxieties, quiet the nerves from 4 hours before bedtime. True fiends – know, care and respect friends’ need to maintain health and well-being. I am sorry – I cannot process news of self-harm, violence, accidents, front-line news past dinner time and if that means I am less of a friend, that’s not friendship but a therapist without an appointment. Emergency SOS – now that’s different – if there’s something I can do to help and rescue a friend out of an emergency … I will rush over if that’s the case – but rehashing the day’s bad news that not even God can do anything about ? No more. No thank you.

You can’t shine if your energy is tapped or stolen, right?

7. Shed and purge and seek minimalism while retaining sense of humor.

You can’t shine if your mind and space is cluttered and dust covers surfaces and veils are over your vision. Right?

8. Retain or cultivate more humor; see comedy in all – smile and laugh more by fililng the mind and spirits with vibrations of vitality and good will.

You can’t shine unless you are able to laugh at the absurdity of this thing called life. Right?

9. Ah I forgot , hee hee, after forgive and forget – even in a very small way, “FIGHT” fight for what’s precious. Hate to sound corny but that would be to fight for human rights, safety, decent healthcare, democracy and security. Fight our FEARS. This is something I have to study so relates back to #2. We cannot improve ourselves if the community is in disarray. So Self vs. Whole vs. the community as a whole… something to think about. Forgive, Forget and still … Fight when necessary.

SO you can’t shine unless you are willing to SHINE with no shame; shine to preserve what’s good for all. Right?

If we care to be, we are a warrior and a goodess in one.

We are going to make 2023 a magnificient renewed year.

Namaste:)

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Alice Waters spotted @

during a stormy night at Chez Panisse, for us a memorable 2022 Eve! What was so memorable – of course the time with family we cherish. Is it like that Fleetwood Mac’s lyrics even “children grow up” but then, grown children come back and just like old times, siblings are cracking jokes and laughing – stay up for late night board games and movies and … cooking and eating and baking and eating and eating and eating …it’s the holiday season.

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Amidst all the festivities, yes, the Special Bonus surprise is that we actually saw Alice Waters! She was at the second floor bar area and waltzed over to walk over to the back to greet more patrons with a glass in her hand. The vibe – the energy of the place was completely different as soon as she was in the space.

Who is Alice Waters?

Alice Waters – while you can look up Wikipedia, I will simply say that she was the one who created the food movement of Farm to Table, Slow Food and California Cuisine, as one of the original chefs and co-proprietors of Chez Panisse. What’s relatively now a given or standard or taken for granted (such as organic foods, farmer’s market veggies, fresh in season produce from local farmers, sustainable farming – all that talking points) was not so, back in the 70’s when she opened Chez Panisse in North Berkeley.

Lucky to catch a little light from this empowereing woman. We felt that braving the storm and flooded highway was worth the journey energized by the vibe of the place. Gratitude for completing the year of 2022 with style and inspirations.

Landslide

by Stevie Nicks

I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too

Fleetwood Mac – 1975