Today is March 7th. And as such it is my birthday.
I hosted a small gathering of friends, along with my two children, at my studio and spa tonight.
Between courses I felt compelled to make a toast to my friends.
And so I took a moment to frame my remarks by reminding them that a year ago I was forced by conditions to close my bistro, theater and event spaces in South Lake Union rather suddenly and with a great deal of loss on a variety of levels. Then...towards the end of the year my studio and spa spaces were nearly lost by different but nevertheless similarly larger forces than I could tackle. And while I did not loose my studio and spa spaces, there was a great deal of lost momentum and income and associates as a result of the closure and stress surrounding this.
I went on to let them know that either one of these turn of events would probably driven a lot of folks to consider jumping off a bridge or at least filing for bankruptcy and looking for a very good psychiatrist. And while I did consider both of those options for brief moments, I never really gave either much thought.
Instead, I believe , upon reflection, I had one of the best years of my life. I had deeper joys, I had the profound sense of "recovery" and a real understanding evolved as the year went along its ups and downs just exactly who my real friends were and as such a deeper understanding of what friendship is.
There is an old tiresome saying that when the chips are down you find our who your real friends are. And I suppose that is true. But what I really learned this year in a more profound way than I had before is that friendship that is stronger and deeper is able to pierce the very real and important...but nevertheless limiting layers of security, wealth and power. And instead is able to tap a deeper reserve that I believe some would call spirit.
I have indeed been blessed with many deep friendships and as such even in the midst of great stress and loss and embarrassment and grief and feelings of failure, I felt continually rejuvenated, loved and respected.
I said all of that tonight in my toast.
But what I didn't say is that I am also very grateful now for my enemies and the ones that I perceive as enemies even though they may not think of themselves that way. I understand now that they play a role here as well. I could not have accomplished some of the things I was able to do if their efforts to take from me hadn't succeeded. I could not have shed so much dead weight in the form of old habits, "friends" who really were not friends but simply took and arrived in my life to take energy and time and always with expectation. And god knows how much longer that would have gone on and how many losses I would have suffered as a result. The enemies scared them off or forced me to see with a sharper more discerning eye. But in most cases actually did the dirty work for me while thinking they were harming me. In the end...they appear now as ones who arrived in my life to either take the garbage out or at the very least inspire me to do so. And while for me, this time around, it was about removing and scarring off, for others I suspect there are other powerful ways that our enemies help us in ways that neither they nor we understand.
And so I raise a toast to my enemies tonight....and to all of you who feel you have enemies....when blended with the trans-formative power of real friendship our enemies are here to take the garbage out and I am grateful to all of you for that.
I am now 51 and I have far less garbage in my life than I have in a long time and lot deeper understanding of the nature and majesty of real friendship than I ever have.
Thank you to all of you who have played a role in that, one way or the other.
Many Happy Returns To All Of my friends and enemies.