My Sacred Friends
I remember my mother telling me years ago about someone in her life she finds aggravating. Its a regular struggle for her to manage this relationship while maintaining her composure and peace of mind. My mom's friend Debbie referred to this person as her "sacred friend". In Debbie's eyes, this person was put here to help my mother grow and learn. Each encounter with this person is an opportunity for my mom to practice compassion, resilience and remove her ego from the situation. When the individual makes an off-hand remark my mom finds offensive or inconsiderate, its a chance to not react. All easier said than done but I follow the point.
I have found myself writing with some frequency as of recent on what I fear losing. Rather than focusing on the goals and dreams I might hope to achieve, my inner nerd is working to invoke loss aversion by asking, "what do I fear losing?"
I would be sad to lose my curiosity and inquisitive nature to turn over rocks to take a look. One aspect in my life keeping me curious is people who think differently than me. I think the world would be a boring place if all the dissenters and go along to get along people I know and see disappeared or fell into lock step around what I believe. People who hold different beliefs than me or who are simply coasting through life inspire me to keep pushing. I fear losing my drive and giving way to hubris and self-confidence I have figured things out. The people who get on my nerves because they are entrenched in something I believe to be incorrect or those who simply want life to be comfortable and remain in their bubble, these are people who give me energy.
While I must work to keep my ego under control and not descend into a war with them, I must thank these sacred friends for pushing me to "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." To fan the flames of curiosity and keep my mind and body open to new experiences and thoughts. With any luck, I'll continue gaining new context, allow my positions to changed and evolve, and hopefully every once in a while, impact theirs.
"We are essentialists who achieve our identity primarily by contrasting it to the unfamiliar character of others. There could be no America without an abroad; if you could demystify the abroad entirely, America as we know it would vanish."
Andrew Solomon, Far & Away
Go Forth Boldly