Friendship. A gift in the connection between two souls where you are loved and supported for who you are. Exactly the way you are. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we all seek it. Pursuing connection is in our DNA, our human design. It's what makes life so beautiful.
I recently listened to the We Can Do Hard Things podcast, where the interviewee, Tracee Ellis Ross, discussed her take on friendships. She said (and I'm paraphrasing) that she believes that God, the universe, or whomever you feel is in charge makes people in batches. In a big ass, giant cauldron. Each batch is mixed, made from the same ingredients, and sprinkled throughout the earth. And that one of the most significant moments in life is crossing paths with one of your "cauldron people" because you instinctively know. You feel it in your bones. It's like your souls are intertwined, connected indescribabley. You go deep, and you go deep fast.
I've only met three cauldron people in my life so far. The first one I met was when I was 23, a boyfriend with whom I fell very deeply in love. We were too young and dumb to move forward (to add context, I broke up with him because he gifted me a giant jar of pickles on my birthday), but I still have love and think about him. The second is my youngest daughter, Luna. I knew her before she was born. We couldn't conceive, and I was devastated because I knew she was waiting. I could see her face. I could close my eyes and describe her sweet button nose, wide smile, knowing eyes and every freckle. She came on her own time (an excellent portrayal of her personality), and I felt like I was home for the first time in my life. And lastly, a new friendship at 41 years old (Dang! Person in charge - you're sprinkling these cauldron people sparsely!). Our roots are shallow as far as time goes, but I rarely feel a connection like this with others. It's like meeting somebody for the first time and feeling - reunited.
I feel so grateful for the fufilling friendships in my life. Cauldron people or otherwise, not one is better than the other. Different in their own unique, wonderful ways. And as I listened to this podcast and reflected on these special friendships, I thought a lot about who I want to be for them. They deserve the best of me. But what exactly does it mean to be a good friend, parent, and partner?
I think Brene Brown says it beautifully:
"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
To see, hear, and value somebody. Simple and so powerful. So I decided to write a children's book about friendship, and focus on five core concepts I value in others and want to be more conscious about myself. Empathy and kindness, vulnerability, support, listening, and boundaries. These core traits are a great foundation for children (and adults) navigating new relationships, including the relationship they have with themselves. You can check out the book HERE.
Writing this book was an essential lesson for me because as I reflected on my immense gratitude for friends and family, I also dug deep into what it means to be a quality friend to them.
How can I be the best version of myself and show up for them in a way they need? I want to be inspiring, empathetic, supportive, kind, vulnerable, and open-minded, all while holding my boundaries and friendship to myself. This will likely be a life-long practice, just like anything significant and worthwhile.
Life is such a gift. Have gratitude and appreciation for the people you meet along the way. Recognize the different connections you have and show up for them as you would want them to show up for you. Attract the people that inspire and move you - and be that person to them as well. And when you meet a cauldron person, hold on tight. They only come along so often.