[Self Discovery] The Economics of Friendship

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
– Kurt Vonnegut –

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Usually, when I delve into my ideas and reach into the cobwebbed corners of my brain for a post…I can knock it out in a day, maybe two; at the very most a week.  But this is something that’s been coming for at least two years; maybe even more.  Originally, I thought it was the festival induced nostalgia of the Springtime, or the evolution into the downtime of Fall and the family oriented nature of the Holiday Season; or, maybe it was shoving my life into a U-haul two times over, moving away from everything I’ve known and towards the person I want to be.  But, the more and more I separate myself from this feeling that’s  been in the pit of my stomach – the more I realize that no, it’s just me; it’s always been me.  Me being nostalgic and searching, me attempting to analyze the past and postulate a formulaic method of the future as I dissected the nature of love, empathy and friendship.

The human condition is one of connection; and at times it seems that we can’t help but to connect – to love, to find ourselves in another and to forge bonds outside of ourselves.  Coddled by ego and love, protected by loyalty and exponentially expounded upon by experience, our relationships are fragile beings, brought into this world each time our human vibrations intersect with one another’s. Eventually, even if we’ve branded ourselves as an independent being of light and love – those relationships become what define us and our realities, irregardless of how routine or random it might seem.  But on the other side of connection, you have the dichotomy of loss and breaking apart. Losing friends is tough, but the tragedy lies in falling apart from the living – from watching the bridges burn and looming in their flames, somberly separating after a difference of opinion, or more tumultuous – of life.

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The Give and Take of Friendship

All relationships are a game of emotional catch; with a natural give and take, a push and pull – a simple supply and demand economics of personal happiness and social responsibility. They’re like a battery, or a gas tank, or a freshly rooted flower – filling, emptying and growing in symbiosis.  But if you drain one too much, or overfill it another day – you’re putting unnecessary strain into the relationship, infusing it with a toxic nature, even if the relationship itself doesn’t seem toxic yet.

In the duality of life, friendships can only thrive when its seed is watered from both ends.  What makes someone your friend? What propels them to flutter inside your heart and fill your mind with wonder and joy? How much endured emotional pain is worth the familial pleasure of friendship? Love of any kind is an investment – familial love, fraternal love, romantic love – every time you interact, you give part of yourself away.  Time is a human construct, but there are still only so many moments in a day – how and with whom do you choose spend them?

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The Benefits of Boundaries

Friendship is malleable and free-form like an emotional rubber-band, full of flexibility and movement; but even the strongest rubber bands snap under extreme pressure. Boundaries are essential to any budding relationship and are key to building the foundation of a successful one. If you fly into a friendship blindly without thought, you could end up like Icarus and burn yourself on the sun of your relationship. The most important boundaries are the ones are those you build with yourself: what you will and won’t stand for, what personality traits you covet, what you’re willing to let slide and what you abhor. You can only give yourself away so much before there’s none of you left to hold for yourself, none of you left to care for you – and let’s be honest, if you can’t find time or energy to care for yourself, it’s a bit paradoxical to be giving it away. Conversely, when it comes to the people in your social circle – it seems anachronistic that enforcing boundaries would build a stronger bond, but by not having any boundaries you’re saying you’ll fall for everything; intelligently implementing them not only builds trust, but creates a solid foundation for your friendship to stand on.

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Know When To Let Go

Rarely does a relationship ever stay on the same trajectory it once was – which admittedly is half the fun of mutual growth; but like a mirror, once it’s been broken, it can’t be put back together in the same way. Small scale issues from broken boundaries to unspoken grievances can compound over time, eventually tilting the emotional scale in one lopsided way or the other.

The house that friendship builds is based off of mutual boundaries and a solid foundation; with walls of security and support, and open windows into your heart and soul. If built on honesty, loyalty and sincerity, it an move mountains – but if any of those core tenants are broken, the relationships trajectory is hijacked, and the aftershocks can ripple its tenants to their core. Sometimes, the strongest thing you can do is to let those people go, and let the relationship dissolve into the ephemerality of life – for both of you.


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“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

When I younger, my mom pulled me aside one day and told me: you don’t have to like everyone, and not everyone has to like you. The first time she told me, I was 8; but the second time, I was 24 – and the words had infinitely more weight. Some people are meant to be part of your world, in a mutual exchange of love, empowerment and encouragement while others serve as reminders and stepping stones; they’re the loose change at the bottom of your purse, waiting to be tossed back into the wishing well of life. If you’ve invested properly in yourself, if you are honest with yourself about what you have to offer – you’ll attract that energy back; and if you’re making a worthy investment in yourself by creating boundaries, it shows. At the end of the day, the most important friendship to reconcile is the one with yourself.


How do you choose to strengthen your bonds and create healthy boundaries in your relationships?

Let me know in the comments below!

[Self Discovery] A Resolve for Growth

“Resolve, and thou art free.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties, I quickly realized I had the entire world at my proverbial fingertips and set out in a determined fashion to conquer most, if not all, of it. Maybe it was a byproduct of my 20-something, 20-anything phase, or maybe it’s simply an ode to the fact that I love making lists – but as I was rounding out the last decade of my life, I found myself insatiably devoted to the litany of bucket lists that I’d created.

As I approached 30 and 31, my lists extensively cataloged places to go, things to do and personal mountains to climb. Each was carefully curated with the best of intentions in mind, playing on my zest for life while rediscovering a purpose in my passions.  As the beginning of the year came and went, I realized that though my lists were representative of the person that I was driven to become – between the constant stroking of the go and daily reminders of what hadn’t been accomplished, they were also slightly exhausting. As John Lennon so famously said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

Instead of limiting myself to resolutions I tried to start at the inception of the calendar year, I’ve decided to maintain a fluid list of small ideas where each day holds a unique opportunity for growth and a resolve for evolving past who we were, to become who we want to be.  Regardless of when you set your resolution, it’s important to understand that it’s really the intent that matters.  Sure, a ’31 Before 31′ Bucket List was great – but I found myself so wrapped up in checking the boxes and heading into the next goal, that I couldn’t stop and simply appreciate my small moments of accomplishment; and that’s when I realized that my focus was in the wrong place.  Contrary to my previously held popular belief, It’s not important how many goals you accomplish, or how ‘much’ you grow – but that you have the will and wherewithal to grow in general.  We must be willing to step out of the mundane routine of the every day, and into the novelty of creating magical memories where even the most minute metamorphoses can equate to a massive internal shift.

Over the past few years I’ve inched towards several goals, some haphazardly while others have been more wholeheartedly. Tthis year, instead of a compiling a concise list or a ridiculous repository, I’ve decided to keep it rather short and sweet – well, all things considered.  No joke, going back and looking through these lists is a bit emotionally exhausting – not the kind of feeling you want to have when you’re gearing up to accomplish greatness!  Instead of a grandiose number of accomplishments, I’ve whittled it down to a few that I’m set on taking up.

First and foremost,  I vow to give less fucks. Less fucks?  Yes, a whole lot less.  I suffer from this incurable disease called ‘caring too much about everything’ and not only is it time consuming, but it’s simply exhausting.  Giving less fucks has freed up more time to care about what’s truly important – me, my cats, my husband and this beautiful life that we lead – and less about isn’t – like a past that can’t be changed, unwelcome opinions and toxic friendships that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter.  Coinciding with giving less fucks,

Next, I really want to get back into reading. When I read, my writing improves tenfold and my imagination runs rampant – it’s like a vacation in my hands, how could you not love it?? I implicitly understand that reading more than 10 books a year is a lofty goal; one that can basically be accomplished only if you choose to live inside a literary world and essentially ignore the real one that we’re living in.  Instead of a list of 20 books, I really just want to get through five good ones.  Just five.  I think that’s pretty solid.

Now that I have a plan to engage my mind, I also want one that engages my body and spirit.  Creating a militant workout routine just isn’t my style, because give me rules and watch me avoid them – but I’ve rediscovered a love exploring the great beyond, and have found that being outdoors reinvigorates me from head to toe.  Instead of inundating myself with gym time or diet plans, I’m choosing to eat healthier – with less processed foods and more time at the Farmer’s Market.

When it comes to the my professional life, I’ve realized that I need one job that pays the bills and another that makes me happy; and if they can be the same – even better.  By in large, they aren’t though and you have to be willing to subsidize your happiness somehow – take a course at a local community college, join Toastmasters, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a neighborhood council, take up an instrument, join a choir, write for a local paper, read to schoolchildren, start up a kickball team…the opportunities are endless once you open your mind beyond your 9-5.  And working from home, I’ve also realized that when I’m done with work for the day I need to be done – put the laptop away, get off social media, and get into myself.

Lastly, when I think of my friends – I want to let them know personally.  Not post on their Facebook wall or send them a Snapchat, because really – those aren’t for them, it’s for you – I want to reach out and tangibly touch them with my words, hear the nuances in their voice as they tell me about their day.  I want to be present in the moment with them, and by in large that means getting offline and into a real conversation.

Whether you’re carving out a solid block of a few hours every weekend, or devoting 30 minutes a night, it’s important to set aside some personal time for yourself to dive into your dreams and rediscover who you are at your core.

What are your personal goals for this year? Where’s your resolve for growth?

[Self Discovery] Nine Ways to Raise Your Personal Vibration

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Vibrations.  They’re more than the physical projection of minutiae, or the oscillation of air molecules.  For as much as they occur around us, they’re simultaneously emitted from us.  Each and every entity, not just on the face of this Earth, but the universe in it’s entirety is vibrating at a unique frequency. From a cosmic perspective, molecule by molecule we’ve all been vibrating equidistantly away from the heart of the Big Bang.  Could it be that our entire lives, as we ebb and flow through the world we’re most attracted to those molecules that were in fact within the closest proximity to us when the Big Bang happened? And then, take the idea of two tuning forks set to an equal resonant frequency; one static – the other made to vibrate.  If you bring the two tuning forks together, the tuning fork at rest raises to the vibrating frequency of audible fork. In the same way, maybe that’s an underlying science to instant friends – those people who find a strange affinity towards, but can’t place the time or place; soul recognizes soul when they’re vibrating on the same frequency plane.

Vibrations. We all have them, and we’re all tuned into them whether we recognize it or not. It’s the warmth of a hug from a friend and the ice cold, clandestine stare of a stranger, the enticing diatribe from a family member and the off-putting physical stance of a foe.  Whenever we feel, we emit a vibration – and whenever we act or speak, doubly so.  From the first breath, up through this very moment – you’ve been a human battery, charging and recharging on the vibrations raining down from the world; where external chaos breeds mentalMade with Repix (http://repix.it) calamity and physical tranquility evolves from calm surroundings. As we’re propelled into maturity by life experiences compounded by emotional epiphanies, the goals and passions we seek in life changes as do the types of personalities we desire in our lives; along the way, we pick up a few friends here, a few others there….and at other times we undoubtedly, unfortunately, outgrow friendships of our former selves and end up leaving a few wonderful people behind along the way.    That’s not to say their effect hasn’t been left, our shared past is my prologue – my future story wouldn’t be complete without their cameo in an earlier scene.

VibrationsWithin each and every action, interaction – reaction – the vibrations we’ve exchanged have shaped, manifested and evolved into my current world.  So it’s only right that in turn, we acknowledge our own ripple effect on the world. Smiles to frowns, bubbly laughter and emotional explosions, private conversations unintended for public ears, words spoken out of turn or context, unfriendly fire in the form of gossip and flippant phrases better left to your imagination; over the course of a day, a week – a year, how many ripples have you left, intentionally and unintentionally in the lives of others? Do you realize that over the course of your life, they’ve been compounding around you? Innocent conversation converts into malicious musings, and sonic snap judgments are all too easy to make – especially out of context. Quite simply: you effect the universe in more ways than you can ever understand.  Your physical presence can say as much, if not more, than the words coming from your mouth and your intonation and intent play as crucial a role as your elocution.  As an empath, I’m constantly bombarded by the everyday energies of those around me, but that’s not to say those who aren’t are immune – they’re simply not as aware of the effects.

Nostalgia, though a beautiful reminder of the way things were – is also by in large the reason we get nasty expectation hangovers.  The stark irony of being blessed with a beautiful series of friendships over the last year is that it’s caused pause and perusal of the ghosts of friendships past. The toxic friendships that manifested during times of strife and the beautiful friendships borne out of shared genius. I’ve always been incredibly receptive to the forces around me but it’s only been recently that I’ve felt understood their full weight.  The good news, is that what has been seen cannot be unseen – once you acknowledge the gravity of your weight on the world, there’s no going back.  As they say in the Matrix: there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path and the only way I saw that I could be a better version of myself was to elevate my every day life.  Somehow, while in the throttles of passionate, intense and at times subversive life experiences, my soul grew into my twenty nine year old body.  I was vibrating on a higher frequency, attracting other passionate souls who were pushing their own personal boundaries while reveling in the wild ride of life.  So, how exactly does one raise their personal vibration? I have nine ways to do it.

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[Rule #1]  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

It’s the Golden Rule and Newton’s Third Law, not to mention – we’ve been learning it since Grade School, so it should be relatively easy to remember. The universe reacts to the energy you put out and the friends you keep are in effect a direct reflection of who you are at your core.  The second half of the rule, often not mentioned, is never – ever – let someone else’s behavior prevent you from being the person that you are.  The behavior of others is just that – their behavior, and it’s not directed at any one person more than the sun’s ray’s fall on any one part of the world.  Adjust and adapt, and if you’re not keen on a person – just know that there are millions upon millions of people in this world, just waiting to meet someone like you.

[Rule #2] A Friend of a Friend is a Friend of Mine

Though a lot easier said than done, this isn’t actually that hard.  That circle of friends you have, well – let’s just put it this way: you’re not their first friend, right?  They come with chums from Grade School and Band Camp, Summer Camps and Basketball Teams, College Fraternities and Study Abroad Programs; they’re located around the world and chances are, they’re just as wonderful as you.  When the opportunity arises to adopt them into your social circle, think of your mutual friends as your flotations devices; don’t dilly dally in the shallow end – jump on in and swim a little deeper, you might just make a new friend for life.

[Rule #3] Reach Out and Touch (or, just hug; whatever)

It’s 2015 and I’m so sick of meeting people with a handshake. Historically, we shook hands with our right hand – the dominant hand – to signal we weren’t wielding a weapon.  At work or while doing business I’ll let’em slide, but in personal, social situations, I want my soul to touch your soul – but I’ll settle for a hug.  Hugs have a calming nature and a healing effect; long hugs can produce the same bonding hormones as sex and hugs are scientifically proven to have healing powers. Have you hugged a human today?

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[Rule #4] Always true to being you, unless you can be a better version of you – then be that.

You want to know what the best version of you is? It’s youYou are the reason people are attracted to you, and you are beautiful – so never stop being yourself.  It’s easy to become the friend who always says ‘No’ and turns down invitations, and equally easy to become a ‘Yes’ man; instead, throw those words out the window, say what’s actually on your mind and set some boundaries.  And remember, just because you’ve set boundaries doesn’t mean they’re permanent fixtures – that’s the beauty of being you: you adapt, evolve, and become a better version of who you were because of it.

[Rule #5] Respect

Aretha sang it best: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It starts with you, because to get respect – you need to respect yourself.  Respect your own intelligence, respect your body and the things you both put into it food wise and get out of it physically. Once that falls into place, then there’s respecting the world around you. Respecting the personal space of others, whether that’s physical, mental, emotional or temporal, is the first step to garnering it back towards you.

[Rule #6] Let It Go

As Shakespeare put it: Past is prologue.  The past is a beautiful introduction to your story – it’s a wonderful foundation for your current condition, but it’s not the story.  In much the same mannor, the events and circumstances of your friends lives before you are interesting building blocks in their personal puzzle, but the more you focus on them – the less you’re living in the moment of the friendship.  Don’t dwell on grievances or lavish on the lives and things that could have been, instead celebrate greatness and simply enjoy being

[Rule #7] Meditate On It

This too, shall pass.  It’s an old diatribe but it most definitely holds true, time heals all – but what time actually does is give us the personal separation of space from an event. The more space we have, the less personal it becomes and the more we can think of a macrocosmic answer to a problem we shouldn’t have taken so personally to begin with.  Just remember, the best way to get an answer, is to ask the right question.

[Rule #8] Honor The Capacity for Change

Hi, Pot! I’m Kettle.  We’re black! You aren’t the same person you were last year, and you definitely aren’t the same person you were ten years ago.  You could have some of the same passions and proclivities, but on the overall – experience has a habit of evolving us, with or without our consent.  If we can acknowledge our own maturation, then we surely can’t deny the growth of anyone else.

[Rule #9] Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

Pay it forward.  As a general rule, I only ask people to pay me back if either I know I’ll never see them again or I purposely intend on it.  If you’re my friend, we’ll hang out again.  You can get the next beer, coffee, dinner, ice cream, etc…whatever it is, there’ll be a next time – because I want there to be.


For more on the paintings and artwork used throughout this article, please head to the site of 21st Century visionary Alex Grey.

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