There’s something about connecting with old friends with whom you share common history – like high school, or college – no matter how close you were or weren’t at the time. There is a familiar backdrop or shared experience that others who weren’t a part of will be hard pressed to relate.

Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time with girlfriends from both high school and college. As I’ve processed some traumatic events of my past over the last month, these connections and friendships have supported me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

These women knew me before I even knew what yoga was. Before the challenges of adulthood and the big decisions that have shaped who I am since the day I turned 22. Before the turmoil of depression and the highs and lows of my career. They may not know every detail of the past 20 plus years, and somehow it hasn’t mattered. There is an openness that has been automatic. A vulnerability that is easy with women you don’t have to explain yourself to. Those who know exactly what it was like to fumble through life against the same backdrop you did.

While I love my ‘new’ friends, no one will ever quite understand what it was like to grow up in Clarks Summit, PA like my three best friends from high school. We spent an entire weekend in NYC, reminiscing about inappropriate songs we sang (if you don’t know it, Google Rodeo Song and you’ll see exactly what I mean) and boys and getting caught sneaking out of the house. But we spent more time sharing our feelings about our parents getting older, our individual losses – some bigger than others – and what has broken, and mended, our hearts. We also discussed buying a big piece of land somewhere while two of them finish raising their kids and the other two of us sans children tend to things such as gardening, composting, cooking and teaching yoga. Somehow, the 25 years since graduation has changed us, but in other ways – the ones that count – not so much.

No one who hasn’t gone to the small liberal arts University in the middle of nowhere Virginia will ever understand what it was like for a woman at an institution that upheld male superiority and preference at all costs. The damage that was done. How much emotional and somatic trauma that was incurred. How utterly fucked up it was. My friend and I tried to describe it in a way that wasn’t so primitive. Neither of us could. Odd for an institution that prides itself on high education, tradition and exceptional moral values.

I hadn’t seen my friend from college in over 20 years, yet somehow I was completely comfortable sharing some of my darkest secrets with her. There was no hesitation. I knew she would understand. I knew I wouldn’t have to explain things that I couldn’t quite put in words. I knew she would empathize. She did. With one conversation, I was relieved of a heavy burden of the past.

Yes, I truly love the friends I’ve made since I’ve committed to walking a spiritual path. We share a common language. It’s easy to talk about how hard it is to pursue a conscious and awake life. But the cool thing is, my friends from way back when support and love me, unconditionally, even if they don’t understand the language I speak. Turns out, they’re on their own quest of evolvement and growth even if the dialect is different. Turns out – we’re all spirits just doing the best we can being as humans.

To those of you (you know who you are and just in case you don’t I’ve tagged you on social media) who have supported and loved me as I heal from some life changing events, this one’s for you:

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright,
it warms the heart.
We’ve been friends,
from the very start.

You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other.

Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you.

You help me,
and I’ll help you
and together
we will see it through.

The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
to keep it clean

Across the land
Across the sea
Friends forever
We will always be

I am forever grateful for you.

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