"I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do" Story People
I read somewhere that: an experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
What’s important to you about being with friends, with yourself or even working?
The answer to this question will have something to do with what you value in your life & about how you spend your time.
It’s sometimes referred to as how we ‘sort’ experience, & really means what you’re looking for & what you notice about the experiences you have.
What makes this even more complicated is that, as in every other way, humans are very different when it comes to what we want. Often we are not as clear as it would be helpful to be about what we want out of our experience which makes it even more uncomfortable when we don’t get it………….
I have a friend who’s key criteria for spending time with friends is that it’s fun. This proved a little tricky for our friendship when we figured out that my main criteria for spending time with friends is not………..having fun.
Hugh Prather, an American Psychologist said: “I’m more familiar with what it takes to be serious.” And that’s me. It’s not that I don’t like fun……….but I don’t ‘sort’ for it. Fun for me seemed fluffy & light with nothing to show for it. Some of the best, most meaningful & most memorable experiences of my life haven’t included laughter or lightheartedness at all, but rather a sense of something profound & new happening. These are the things that help me to grow & feel alive, but they’re not always what other people would call fun.
Discovering that my friend & I wanted different qualities of experience was a threat to our friendship at first……..but over time & with lots of patient, respectful curiosity, we’ve learned how to better understand & accommodate both of our needs so that we can carry on having great times together.
Sometimes we just hang out, enjoy life & do crazy, colourful things. Sometimes we put the world to rights. Sometimes we go & learn something together.
A difference in values, especially around what fun looks like can be challenging, if not fatal to a relationship. But look again: deep & meaningful soul conversation can be fun, & so can lying on a beach staring at the sky.
it’s just a matter of degrees.
I got to keep my friendship, which is demanding, refreshing, challenging, & fascinating & the flowers in my garden got brighter.
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"