“To have a friend and be a friend is what makes life worthwhile.” ~Unknown
I am fascinated by friendships.
Not the acquaintances you see occasionally or the Facebook friends who wouldn’t recognize you on the street.
I’m talking about your real people. The people who know and love the deepest parts of you. Their soul sees yours.
They’re the kind of people you can talk to about how hard it’s been to meditate lately or what’s really going on in your marriage. They’re the kind of people you call for a ride when you get a flat tire and they’re the ones who affirm and support all the “weird” things about you that make other people uncomfortable.
They’re your inner circle people. The heart of your life.
I’m so fascinated by deep, meaningful friendships like these because for most of my life, I’ve had none, or only a very small few.
I always had friends, good friends, who I spent a lot of time with. We celebrated birthdays, analyzed boyfriend behavior, and discussed the pros and cons of the haircut of the season.
But did I regularly look these friends in the eye and think to myself: Yep, you are a sister (or brother) to my soul?
No. I didn’t.
Admit when your friendships don’t nourish your soul.
It’s not that I didn’t love them. I loved (and still love) them deeply.
It’s not that I didn’t feel supported and cared for by them. I knew those things were true, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And it’s not that I thought I was better than them. I don’t. Acknowledging that you’re different or that you want different things doesn’t make you a snob. It just makes you different.
According to my belief system, on the deepest of levels we’re all the same and all connected. But we also live in a human world, where personality, lifestyle choices, and values determine the way we live and relate to others.
So I don’t think we should beat ourselves up for acknowledging that some relationships bring fluidity and symmetry to our hearts more easily and quickly than others.
Once I faced the fact that I had very few of these profound soul friendships, the obvious next question was: Okay, so where do I find them?
The general refrain in my head was something like:
“Yeah, universe, I get that we’re all connected. We’re all one. Uh huh. But over here, in my corner of Planet Earth, I’m not feelin’ quite so connected these days. Where are my people?”
A booming voice from the sky did not appear. But this old saying popped into mind:
When you pray, move your feet.
So I moved my feet. I turned my Soul Friend Radar to full tilt.
I prowled the corners of the interwebs and relentlessly picked the brains of former colleagues and college friends, all in an attempt to find my siblings of the soul.
I was determined to find the friends who I could talk openly with about my spiritual beliefs and how they informed every decision I made.
And I wanted these same spiritually-minded friends to adore my sometimes-12-year-old sense of humor, my introversion, and my devotion to Grey’s Anatomy (even though this last one makes no sense to most of them).
Spiritual and down to earth. Introspective and prone to kitchen dancing.
Sounds like the duality of a perfect friendship to me, which is why I give thanks every day that I’ve now found these kinds of friends. It wasn’t that hard, actually (more on that soon).
These friends have helped me become so much more joyous, fulfilled, and all kinds of giggly.
And it didn’t take weeks or months for me to know if they were the soul friends I’d been hoping for. I could tell almost immediately.
How I knew my soul knew yours.
Stories I’d never told anyone easily fell off my lips. Sadness I thought I’d healed appeared as a crack in my voice. Our laughter together seemed like a sound I’d been hearing for centuries.
As much as our culture waxes on and on about romantic love, some praise needs to be sent over to the soul brothers and sisters who hold us up through it all.
The love that comes from your own, custom-made community of kinfolk is vital. Nothing is more nourishing.
And because I wish that for you, too, here are 7 things I did to find my spiritual soul sisters and brothers. Go forth and make friends!
1. Consider the possibility that you may already have friends who feel the same as you.
Choose a few of your nearest and dearest and tell them what spirituality means to you and why it’s a big deal in your life. They may surprise you with enthusiasm, genuine curiosity, or a super-passionate spiritual story of their own.
2. Be proactive in meeting likeminded people.
Have you always wanted to go to a sweat lodge? Or do you get giddy at the thought of learning how to make your own incense? Do you daydream about being Byron Katie’s next door neighbor?
Type whatever search terms tickle your fancy into Meetup.com, select your city, and voila! You’ll have a long list of gatherings to choose from, and they’ll be full of like-minded people who are also looking to make new connections.
3. Run a Google search for conferences, retreats, or workshops with a spirituality theme.
Sign up for one. Like, now.
4. Ask your existing friends, family, or co-workers you trust for some referrals.
Try something like:
“Hey, not sure if we’ve ever talked about this in detail before, but I’m reeeally into [insert a specific area of spirituality that floats your boat--could be meditation, yoga, chanting, Eckhart Tolle’s books] and I’d like to connect with some local people who share my passion. Any names coming to mind? Would you feel comfortable introducing us?”
5. When you find one soul brother or sister, tell them:
I need more people like you! How about we plan a fun dinner/bowling night/karaoke party and invite a bunch of awesome people you know?
6. Start a book club that focuses on spirituality/personal development books.
Stick flyers up at your favorite yoga studios and coffee shops. You can also try posting an ad in the classified listings of your local paper, on a site like Craigslist and also on social media.
7. If you get jazzed up by affirmations and mantras, try these on for size:
- Deeply fulfilling friendships are on their way.
- Love comes in many forms. I am open to them all.
- Thank you for the friends that are coming. I know already: they’re the best!
And remember that saying: When you pray, move your feet.
Your friends are on their way.
Photo by Vinoth Chandar