I've been thinking about friendships today.
We just got back from PantheaCon. A number of my friends attend that event every year, including people I only get to see rarely or, in some cases, once a year and then only at this convention. That, and an email from a gal pal today reminded me that I feel close to certain people even though I only know them on-line or only see them once a year.
What seems to matter the most in these friendships is:
* Self respect plus respect for each other and our partners.
* Solid ethics and values (even if their lifestyles differ greatly from mine). I admire people who walk their talk.
* Hard workers with common sense who try and handle their resources (time, energy, money, talent & skills) as wisely as they can.
* People who have great sense of humor. I find that I really like people who can laugh at themselves and who know that "Life is too important to take seriously."
* People who show grace under pressure.
* People who love books, learning, music, history, cooking, nature, play, animals and art.
* People with a a long gratitude list. (I've noticed that some of the people who've had the hardest lives have the longest gratitude list).
* Friends who will support each other as we live and grow and change over time. I don't need people to be on my same spiritual or emotional path, but I do need to be around people who are working a Program, Path, or ethical Way of some kind. I can't afford (and don't like) to be around people who are unconscious.
* People who know and love me well enough to call me on my S**t
* People I can really trust: spiritually and emotionally. I'm talking about trust on a real and very practical level. I need to be around people who care more about how they are than how they look to others. I need to be inspired by those seeking their own happiness. I want to work those who concerned about those less fortunate than themselves.
* I love people who treat their own children, their friend's children, and their Inner Child as they wish they had been treated when they were young.
* The people I cherish respect those who know more than they do, and they mentor or offer support and information to others who may have less life experience.
These were some of the grace notes from that weekend:
My friend and colleague Magpy who came up to work our table at the Con. Even dead tired or stressed, she is a hard working and very equal partner in any endeavor. She is also darkly funny, fair minded, willing to compromise, and very tactful. (She would have thrived in the Medici court). She is a great companion in the trenches, deeply well read and loves to share notes on books and movies. I feel lucky to know her. She is the quiet sort and a very deep thinker and some people don't get her because of that (and with so much Fools Gold around at PantheaCon, it's no wonder. But Magpy is a rare jewel, and when she speaks, she's always worth hearing.)
My friend Anne, who runs her own business, has raised some awesome kids (all of whom are very close to her and to each other). She has this wise, amused, tough minded approach to life. She never stops learning and she isn't afraid to make sudden left turns when the spirit calls for her to do that. She is probably the deepest Witch I know and one of the women most in tune with her rightful power.
I was reminded again this weekend how much I like the members in two, different polyamorous families, the Luck family and the good folks at Xcentricities. Both families are full of talented, scary-smart people, who take the time to be gracious, no matter how busy they are. Several times at this con I saw various of their members do kind, supportive or useful acts for others without being asked (and never caring if anyone else saw them doing it). IÃ’ve noticed that they and their partners are a class act, and I take inspiration from being around them. Two gals in particular shared their take on several of the workshops they went to that weekend and gave me some very good food for thought.
My friend Thalassa, who runs the Vendor Room at PantheaCon. She gives a tremendous amount of her time to the Earthwise Community (and works a very demanding job). Nothing is too small for her to handle (even when she is sick or tired) and she is careful and considerate of the hundreds of volunteer staff, attendees and vendors in her charge. That said, she does not suffer fools gladly and will not tolerate bad behavior. She is very stylish, one of the wittiest women I've ever met, and one of the best read.
I also had reason to be glad of Rowan, who has a busy work and social life and who planned on a busy Convention, but who got up early and took the time to come to my 9 o'clock lecture on Sunday morning because she felt I needed the support. (She was right about that). The lecture went well, even though I had to change it's focus due to technology glitches beforehand. About 20 people came, and they were interested, kind and enthusiastic. We sat in a circle and talked about traveling to sacred placed in Italy and Greece. When I got off track a bit (which I tend to do) Rowan got me back on topic. (If you've ever taught a class you'll know how important that was). I admire Rowan because her knowledge goes deep and wide, and because she is honest and intellectually fearless. She is always interesting, because she is always interested; in books, people, travel, life, art and history. She is also very sexy and proud of herself, in the best way. She is a powerful leader and she lives life on her own terms.
And then there were the other sort.... I ran into some people who were still stuck in the same old rut or had gone backwards. The saddest case was one young woman who's fiance had beaten and choked her. He had been arrested by the plice and she has moved out of their place. The last we heard she was with her family. She is now back with him and hanging around the very people who won't support her growth or his (supposed) sobriety. Many people tried to help her and he, too, had help. It's just too sad.
And, of course, the usual whiners and drama addicts were also there. In a crowd of almost 1,800 people that can't be helped. However I also noticed more Solitaries and more Ordinary Pagans (Pagans with jobs, common sense and a "Can do" attitude to life) then I've ever seen there before. I like to think that our work her at Full Circle on advertising this event has helped to get the word out about this event to these very folks.
I also saw lots more kids there this year. All in all, it was a nice group.
The Program was better this year, as well. They have finally started jurying the workshop applications. It made for a much better series of presentations then we've seen in years.