Among Friends

Yesterday, as I was making dinner, my thoughts were moving over the people in my life and the roles they have played in shaping my perspectives, the directions I have turned, and how (if) they have moved me closer to the type of person I want to be.

I am fortunate in that the list is long and the experiences have been rich. I reveled in the time and opportunity to dedicate my thinking to such things as the turkey roasted, the stuffing was mixed, and the family played.

There have been some major concepts continually surfacing in my life. I find them to be reoccurring themes, really, yet right now they seem to be driving much of who I am and where I want to be- among friends.

Trent: Embodiment

You know, there are people that have philosophies and then there are people that live them. People whose every move rings clear with what they believe, who they are. This has always been true for my friend Trent.  As I think back to how I knew him in college, it was just as true for him then as it is now. There is no question of what he practices- his values are visible and palpable. It is no surprise that his actual work is teaching others to move with that same kind of integrity.

Nichelle and Catherine: Sharing

Dance can be pretty elitist. So can any other body of knowledge, especially in its treatment within education. Nichelle and Catherine bring the best of the information to the people that can actually use it. Readers don’t need to wait to be in college before having interesting dialogue with dance or with each other. Readers don’t need to sift through academic jargon to find the change they want to make in their teaching. Readers don’t have to worry about judgement for questions they have and don’t feel comfortable asking. They offer the real deal, discussed in real ways.

Missy: Openness

Missy looks for what is possible. She approaches every situation looking for the opportunity in it. She starts with yes. It prompts others to do the same and over the last few months, I have had the good fortune to watch this open doors and forge relationships that would not happen for other people. It does not mean she isn’t discerning. It simply means that she looks at how something can work rather than immediately jumping to why it won’t.

It doesn’t seem as though these people should be outliers, yet I think they are- particularly for how their qualities inform their work. How interesting that embodiment, sharing, and openness are qualities that I have rarely found in professional contexts.

These people push me closer to the person I want to be, personally as well as professionally. (How can those two things be separated, appears to be the real question, right?)

Likewise, I love the idea of choosing relationships for how they support you in becoming the person you want to become. (Thank you to my friend Alison for sharing this idea. Alison: Levity–she reminds me serious work requires serious fun).

I love the specificity this allows me in deciding who I spend my time with and why. It permits me the agency to say “no” to things or people that don’t serve me. It gives me clear motive in how I choose projects and colleagues-and even friends.

What are your friends teaching you?