Transforming Companionship

By Lynda Schaller

I have a dear friend with whom I exchange frequent letters, but visiting each other is not often possible. As I drove to our last get-together, I thought about the fact that I usually feel dissatisfied after our visits. "Over already? Did I miss something? But I want more!" Being together is so precious. I recognized that I was usually not mindful in our time together, and I vowed to be different this time.

I arrived early for the visit, and took the extra time to walk mindfully, breathing and enjoying a spectacularly lovely day—the beautiful sky, the sunshine, and the view of surrounding fields and hills. When my friend arrived, I was relaxed and much more present to the experience of being together. I remembered to stop and breathe periodically, soaking up our companionship and appreciating my friend's presence. Our time ended with a mindful hug.

It was a richly satisfying visit, and while it would have been delightful to have more time together, what we had was sufficient. Since then I have even felt less frustrated that we don't see each other more.

My friend also does some mindfulness practice. Maybe on our next visit, I will suggest that we practice together. I can't imagine a better way to get the most out of our companionship than being completely present to each other.

Lynda Schaller lives in an intentional community in Gays Mills, Wisconsin.

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