The Best Friend Within

Barry and I spend almost all of our time together. We love working together, raising our children, exercising, cooking, cleaning, gardening, playing, telling each other everything and of course being lovers. After thirty-eight years of being together, we still love to be in each other’s presence.

Recently we have been enjoying canoeing. I enjoy canoeing for an hour or two. Barry could go all day. Throughout the year he has been urging me to go on an overnight river canoe trip with him. Quite frankly, canoeing down a river in 100 degree temperature just didn’t sound appealing. I avoided the conversation whenever possible.

Finally the opportunity presented itself. Our son would be away on a four-day volleyball tournament, our older daughter away on vacation and our middle daughter away river guiding. We would be alone in the house for the first time all year. I love having all three of our children home, and I love the various friends that also seem to be over a lot and I even enjoy all the noise that accompanies them, but the thought of being home alone with Barry for four days was exciting. But Barry really wanted me to go with him on this river canoe trip. At first I felt disappointed. How could Barry want to go away when we get so little time alone in our home. Then I saw the look of excitement on Barry’s face. I knew he had to go. We compromised. Barry would go for two days, and then we would be home together for two days.

I decided to do something that I really needed to do — be totally alone. I would eliminate all external stimuli for 48 hours. With three phone lines and three different answering machines, a cell phone, an active email, a closet with all my old favorite movies, wonderful books and CDs, this was going to be a challenge. I wanted to experience just my own consciousness, without anyone else’s thoughts or feelings or music.

This experiment proved to be very helpful. At first it was hard to resist any contact from the outside world. There were so many opportunities for connections with others through the phone or email or listening to our friend’s new CD or reading another friend’s new book. But I kept to myself in silence. The difficulty gave way to pleasure and I realized how little time I spend just alone with my own thoughts and feelings. I felt how wonderful it is to truly be my own best friend. I filled the day with simple things like meditating, gardening and bike riding. I didn’t see or talk to anyone. I didn’t listen to music or read. I was just with me and I found out that I love this person very much and she is a lot of fun to be with.

Barry came back from canoeing 32 miles without seeing another person. It had been a renewing time for him as well. With my connection to myself much stronger I found I had so much more love to give to him. I saw him with new eyes and fell in love with him all over again because I had fallen in love with myself all over again.

So I encourage you to try my experiment and turn off the phones, email, websites, music, books, newspapers and find the joy in just being with you, the special incredible person that you are. After you push past your resistance you will find an amazing friend just wanting to get to know you better. He or she deserves your full undivided attention and love.

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