Wanna be my friend? We'll "Life Out Loud #nofilter" (verb)

When I was in kindergarten, we moved to 212 Greenwood Avenue, Jenkintown, PA. My parents were still married and we lived in a big Victorian house that my mom poured every ounce of creativity into. It was featured in the Showcase of Homes. I guess she figured she could control how things looked on the outside, even if things on the inside were a mess. My parents fought a lot and home wasn't a happy a place no matter how hard she tried. I was “the new girl”. I remember peeking out the kitchen window into the house next door. They had four childen and one girl who appeared to be my age. Each morning I would watch to see what she was up to and eventually I mustered the courage to reach out to her. To this day we both remember fondly that defining moment when I peered over the hedge between our houses and asked ”Do you want to come over for cheese doodles and coke?” How funny that I felt that cheese doodles and coke would seal the deal. But that is exactly how I extended my hand in friendship. We were 6 at the time and to this day Laurie and I speak daily. We are both 53 and give or take the occasional pause, we have lived our lives side by side ever since.

When I was in 8th grade, my mom was an art teacher. She wasn't getting rich teaching, but the silver lining was that she had summers off. She worked hard all year so she could afford to rent us a house in Beach Haven, LBI. I have incredibly fond memories of those summers. Before we even unpacked the car, we would strategize about how I would make friends to fill my days. We would spend the first day or two looking for signs of life. I vividly remember walking over to a house a few blocks away and knocking on the door. My mom stood beside me and I asked to speak to the girl we had seen walking home from the beach that day.(Can you say stalker?) I told her that I was in town for the summer and was looking for a friend. She was happy to oblige and we spent our days entertaining each other, all because I was willing to put myself out there and ask.

I remember when my kids were little and they were students at Unity School. It was a magical time. Social circles were defined by who your child had as a teacher or who you met while volunteering. “It takes a village” started way back for me. There was a mom who caught my eye. I liked her energy but our paths never crossed. As fate would have it, one night we were invited to the same birthday party. I’ve always believed there are no coincidences. “Coincidence is the universe remaining anonymous.” I got a taste of what she was like and decided that night I wanted her in my life. I tracked down her number from a friend of a friend and invited her to lunch. I told her she would be my “just because” friend. Life wasn’t putting us in the same circles, so I just reorganized our destiny. I wanted to be her friend just because I liked her. I’ve always found that asking for what you want is the best way to find it.

A few years ago, I started following a cupcake chef on Facebook. Every time I read one of her posts, I was in awe. Was there nothing this woman couldn't do? I hadn’t learned yet that she was an awesome yoga teacher. I commented on one of her posts and she commented back. A few days later, I shared her post on my page, and a conversation started, and then a friendship. I remember sharing her pictures, telling friends about her talents and even encouraging her to audition for Cupcake Wars when I heard they were looking for baking superstars. After almost a year of Facebook chit chat turned substantial exchanges, we decided it was time to take it up a notch. It was time to meet my new friend in the flesh. Our blind date was set and wouldn’t you know, we lived 5 minutes away from each other. We met at Spot Coffee on the Ave and it was indeed a sweet encounter. Ursula and I have been cooking up all kinds of projects together ever since. Our friendship feeds my soul and reminds me every day about the importance of keeping it real.

Last year a yoga acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook that she was entertaining the idea of teaching yoga to beginners in Delray. She wanted to create a yoga circle in her own community after logging many miles teaching all over. I responded to her post with a message that said, “Whatever you’re doing I’m in.” She was someone I had always felt a connection to even though we really had nothing connecting us. There was the occasional yoga class spotting a few years ago but it was her poignant Facebook posts over the years that planted a seed in my heart. She was comfortable being honest and “no filter” doesn't begin to touch her level of courage in sharing her life experiences. Whatever vision she was creating, I wanted to see the world through her eyes. Her name is Caroline Wybar and I am lucky to have her as a mentor and a very dear friend. It was our destiny to partner up and share Yoga for All.

It is so extraordinary when we meet people who spark a curiosity in us. They radiate energy that makes us feel alive or demonstrate qualities that we either wish we had or would like to develop in ourselves. Their message resonates with us. They awaken something in us that may have been asleep. It’s a call to attention for our soul. Over the years, I have extended a hand in friendship boldly and without hesitation. It is not for me to decide whether the person will accept. I simply speak my truth and offer an open heart with the possibility of a connection. "No mud, no lotus. No risk, no reward. Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. Always ask, all they can say is no". These are the words I've told myself over and over and over. Putting yourself out there is the best way to get what you want.

Join me on this Life Out Loud#nofilter adventure. Let’s be grateful for the good stuff and even for the lessons we learn along the way. I am hoping you have room in your life for just one more? Perhaps I see something in you that you may not see in yourself. Namaste is a word that represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us located in the heart. The gesture of placing your hands at heart center is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. While I don’t keep cheese doodles and coke in the cabinets anymore, I can offer you a cup of tea and a homemade vegan chocolate chip cookie, which I will bake for you with pleasure. This is me, extending my hand to you in the very same way I have done in my life whenever I have seen someone I want to get to know.

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