On the eve of my 44th Birthday, I find myself pondering ‘The Rocks in My Life.’
The idea of Rocks in our lives came up as an intention served by one of the amazing Yoga Instructors that has helped me find a better path. Her name is Kassi. She married a police officer last year about this time, about the same time my own marriage was ending. She is the type of person that lights up a room.
Even as I was hurting from the end of my own relationship last year, it was healthy to see the birth of a new one at the same time.
I live in the Charlotte area and this week the entire town has been hyperaware of tragedy. I have been too sick to march this week and join the protest. I sincerely wanted to do just that.
I do not hate police officers. I love them. One of my closest friends has been a police officer for over twenty five years. Growing up, my best friend’s father was the Chief of Police in our small town. I have friends that served as police officers in the military while I was serving and after. I went to college with friends that were serving the FBI and later moved into specialty roles in various different task forces after 9/11.
Eleven years ago, after receiving death threats from my employer that was engaged in dozens of different types of illegal activities, some of which resulted in the sale of electronics used to make IED’s in Iraq, I turned to my friends for advice as I worked through which federal law enforcement agency I should turn to first to turn the bastards in.
I will never know how serious the death threats against myself and my youngest daughter truly were back then, but I am alive today. She is as well. I followed their advice to the letter. I was safe.
Those friends are examples of Rocks.
In yoga class this morning, Kassi offered up that we might focus on the Rocks in our life. We could focus on the person or persons that we turned to when we needed help, when we needed a shoulder to cry on, when we needed some straight up help or advice.
My friends Shannon and Enzo were two such friends. My friend Michael was another. Shannon and Enzo work in law enforcement. Michael like myself was an accountant and finance professional. Together we did the right thing.
Today, I have been pondering the Rocks in my life ever since.
I have many of them.
My friend Shara is one of the strongest of the bunch. Over a year ago after an attack online by a former family member, I hit a new bottom. Shara walked me back from the edge of depression and suicidal ideation. I did not even know what suicidal ideation was.
My friend Bob has always been a Rock as well. He has kept me alive many times in many ways. More than anything, he is my rock because we always instantly sync up. We have our own lives, but witness each others along our journeys.
Martha, who runs the yoga studio I attend and is also an amazing instructor, has been another rock over the last year. Step by step she has been there to witness my sudden and unfolding life change and transformation. Her and the other yoga instructors at Sundara, Kelly, Nancy, Maribel, and Haley have all been Rocks at times and days when I really needed it.
My parents have been amazing this last year. I have learned a lot from them and just when I was getting to ‘an age’ when I thought I had learned about everything from my parents that I was going to learn. (Yeah, I know foolish)
My grandmother joined Facebook last year and amazingly, I feel more connected to her than ever.
My brother Troy has always been a Rock. We are so similar in many ways and so very very different in others. The differences, he is different in so many ways that show me how much more I could be. I can see my potential in some of the things he has learned. Yet, I also witnessed that he has realized some amazing potential in himself. I’m not taking anything away from him when I say that he inspires me almost everyday.
My cousin Pam was such a source of strength. As I think back on so much of her help and advice, I can’t help but think she might have been channeling my other Grandma, her Aunt by marriage.
My friends Ami, Andy, Guenevere, Ebony, Ellen, Stacey, Warren, Lenny and Joe… They have all helped me, kept me grounded, helped bring me back down to earth at times and always helped remind me who I am in very different ways. And my friend Susan helped introduce me to my InstantPot even while she was going through a rollercoaster of a year trying to figure out a health condition that was probably beyond the diagnosis powers of House even!
My ex-wife Becky is a Rock. We share custody of our kids, that alone qualifies. In many ways, I do not understand her at all anymore. In other ways I understand her all too well. She was my love and best friend for a long long time. Someday we might be friends again. Our parenting styles and strengths and weaknesses are different. We were opposites in many things including this. She is an amazing mother and I am happy and grateful for that and for all of those differences that give our children things that I either can’t give or am not good at and also give me the gift of being able to share my own strengths with them. They benefit from our contrasts and I think will be better people because of it.
My son Corbin has grown into one of my Rocks. As a father, this was something I never expected. He has given me a lot of insights into life and helped me find a better way and path. As the oldest of my children, he has helped me see the potential in my daughters to be Rocks in my life some day. I can already see Zoe and Mya’s strengths taking form.
I fell in love with an amazing woman last December. Her name is Sharon. I’m hesitant to place her in the Rock category. She is definitely someone that I turn to and that should suit. She is more than that though. She inspires me and at time she guides and coaches me as well. She helps me be there for others, maybe as their Rock. More than anything, she has helped me become more positive and focused. This has had a positive impact on many things. I could identify her as a Rock, but she is also a Light in my life unlike anyone I have encountered.
My friends Eileen and Anglea. Have both been Rocks in my life. They have very different personalities and both have been there for me in very different ways, but I do not know what I would have done without them.
I was adopted by a cat named Snuffles last winter. She too was a Rock for me for a short while. I do not dismiss her nor diminish the rest of the list by adding a cat either. More and more I have come to know that animals are sentient and can do more for us than we sometimes realize and often more than what we are able to do for them.
I have made a number of new friends over the last year like my friend Craig, who phones regularly and usually when I need to talk with someone the most. I do not take him for granted, but he is a Rock of a good friend.
I have been touched by many many distant friends. They were not always distant, some were and some were not. Even from afar they have made big differences in my life with their words, their gifts, their help, their inspiration, their ideas and tips, and sometimes just their witnessing of a thing. Everyday, I think of one or more, usually many of these friends. I wonder how I can live up to the help they have given me and how I can pay it forward. I work on it everyday. I work on it in small ways. I work on it in larger ways when I can.
I try to be as compassionate and selfless and non-judgmental in my help to others as the wonderful examples I have witnessed myself. I am a work in progress. I have excellent examples to emulate.
It is late. It is my birthday. I am still recovering from a cold. I need my sleep.
I am happy and grateful and very aware of the good people in my life, these have only been a few of them, I am very fortunate indeed.