Spring-cleaning Friendships

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It’s the first day of March and we are off to a great start.  The name of March comes from ancient Romans when March was the first month of the year and named Martius after Mars or Ares, the Greek god of war.  In Rome where the climate is Mediterranean, March was the first month of spring, a logical point for the beginning of the year as well as the start of the military campaign season in those times.  March is also the first day of spring according to meteorologists.  So, yesterday was the 29th February and you took a great leap of trust in yourself for the day, which helped put a spring in your step as you march into action.  Our local fire planes flew into action this morning on the bay outside my perch; they landed, collected water and off they went, only to come back again 15 minutes later to repeat the exercise or drill.  They are getting ready for the fire season on the Riviera coast.  They are on a mission!

Day 30 and I have had no coffee.  I made some for another this morning and had no desire to have a cup.  Headaches are gone and I am drinking various varieties of organic green teas instead of coffee.  I have been drinking green tea for many years but had not really researched anything about it other than snippets in newspapers and the back of the packets. There are green teas that are harvested in sunlight and in shade, grown on the flat and on terraces, just like wine, now I wonder what the difference is in taste and nutritional value?  See how one decision leads to another, I give up coffee and discover another world of intrigue and delight.  What about the Japanese tea ceremony and all that it entails.  Wonderful!  I have a ritual for my mornings, afternoons and evenings; as there are green teas appropriate to each time of the day.  My friendship with myself is improving by the day.

Springtime is a time to turn the sod as they say in Ireland, to let the heat in, to get the earth ready for the growing season.  It’s the time of year you make plans and put them into action.  You dig the earth, add nourishing materials to the soil, plant seeds, water, weed, prune and wait for nature to do the rest.  Why not do the same for your inner world?  Over this spring time, beginning to-day; do a thorough cleaning of your thoughts and feelings on your friendships, tidy up your memory archive and establish where and what you want to achieve come the end of spring and summer.  Then harvest the results in the autumn, and live with them in the winter ‘til spring comes round to do it all again with more self knowledge.  This is the way of ‘The Possible Self’.

Lets assume we begin to-day on taking each friendship we have with a; spouse, partner, lover, child, parent, relative, friend and/or colleague and establish our thinking and feelings on the state of each of these friendships.   This is one of the better articles I found online that explores our understanding, in a philosophical way about the nature of friendships    So perhaps you could read this article before you do the following TPS exercise on Spring-cleaning your friendships

• List the friendships you have on a sheet of paper.  Leave enough spaces between them so that you can cut each name to the size of a playing card.

• Draw ten concentric circles on a separate, very large sheet of paper and put yourself at the center.  Use a different colour pencil for each concentric circle.  Put the sheet of paper on the floor.

• Take each card and list the thinking and feelings you have for each person on the back in terms of e.g. loyalty, trust, intimacy, loving, kindness, honesty, understanding, integrity, fun, humour, inspiring, caring, sharing, motivating, supportive towards yourself and them.

• Throw the stack of names up in the air and see where they land on your concentric circle.  Turn over the names so you can see all of them.  Observe where they fall in relation to you.

• Re-arrange the cards on the circles in terms of closeness to you.  Spend time on this process, and explore your feelings and thinking about each friendship as you rank them in terms of closeness etc. Some friends we go to the movies with, some we live with but they may not know us intimately, some we play sports with, some are colleagues etc. What you are endeavouring to discover is where you are most understood, who listens to you, loves and cares what happens to you, supports you and makes you laugh, and you do the same for them etc.  Remember when you were a child and you couldn’t wait to get up and go to school to be with your ‘best friend/s’.  It was magical!  That’s the feeling and thinking you are exploring in your friendships.  Maybe that magic is spread across a multitude of friendships, find out!

“Friendship essentially involves a distinctive kind of concern for your friend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind of love. Philosophers from the ancient Greeks on have traditionally distinguished three notions that can properly be called love: agape, eros, and philia. Agape is a kind of love that does not respond to the antecedent value of its object but instead is thought to create value in the beloved; it has come through the Christian tradition to mean the sort of love God has for us persons as well as, by extension, our love for God and our love for humankind in general. By contrast, eros and philia are generally understood to be responsive to the merits of their objects—to the beloved’s properties, especially his goodness or beauty. The difference is that eros is a kind of passionate desire for an object, typically sexual in nature, whereas ‘philia’ originally meant a kind of affectionate regard or friendly feeling towards not just one’s friends but also possibly towards family members, business partners, and one’s country at large (Liddell et al., 1940; Cooper, 1977a). Given this classification of kinds of love, philia seems to be that which is most clearly relevant to friendship (though just what philia amounts to needs to be clarified in more detail).” from an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Having read this full article online on friendship, you decide what nature of friendships you have in your life.

I came across these articles 1 and 2 on the ‘friends’ we communicate with and gather on-line in various social networks like Facebook etc.

Can you really have time for 50/100/ 300/ 500/1000 friends?

Is the number of friends you have online in social networks motivated by ego, a sense of self-importance, popularity, showing-off how we we get to meet so many interesting people as we go through life, are we building a fan club, groupies etc.?

Does it mimic how we want to be seen to be part of various social clubs in our physical lives?

I think the time has come for us to reclaim the word ‘friends’ and decide what it means to us as we spring clean our thoughts and feelings on the people in our lives, and what nature of friend we are in our friendships.

 Keep on wearing your smile as you do it.

‘There is no better mirror than an old friend’   -Mexican Proverb

‘Don’t allow grass to grow on the path of friendship’   -Native American Proverb

‘Only your friends will tell you your face is dirty’   -Italian Proverb

‘Life without a friend is like death without a witness’  -Spanish Proverb

‘A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool only when he has need of them’  -Turkish proverb

‘Who seeks a faultless friend remains friendless’  -Turkish Proverb

©Copyright The Possible Self 2012

info@thepossibleself.com

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