I found a photo today of my best friend and I taken on the day we graduated from Yoga school nearly 5 years ago.
I came across it as I was cleaning off my desk at home that has laid unused since I opened my studio a couple of years ago. I closed my studio this past week and now that I don't have an office to go to, I am setting up one at home. I put this photo back to it's original spot on top of my desk right below my diploma from Yoga school.
I had made the decision to go to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health to get my 200 hour Yoga teacher certification over a year before I actually intended on going. It took me that long to plan for a 28 day adventure away from home. My daughter was not quite 3 and my son was 4 when I went away. At the time we owned a home for twelve chronically mentally ill adults. So I basically had to arrange 24 hour care for two children, one husband and our twelve residents for a month. Now you know why it took me a year to plan!
When I made my arrangements to go to school I had decided on a semi-private room. It was for two women; the other would be a stranger unless I knew of someone who was also going at that same time and wanted to spend the extra money for a semi-private room. Like that was going to happen! I had decided to splurge on the semi-private room because I couldn't see myself in a dorm room with 21 other women at age 36.
So, as is typical with my type A personality, I arrived early to get settled and get the pick of beds. I had chosen my bed and put all my stuff away and was checking out the lay of the land on the 4th floor when as I was going back to my room I heard this lilting voice behind me, "Hey there. I think I'm your roommate". I glanced back to see this waif of a thing carrying an enormous wicker picnic basket. And the rest is history.
Enter Tink. Until this point in my life I have only had a handful of close friends. It has never been easy for me to make friends. I'm always worried if the other person is judging me as harshly as I judge myself. So it truly surprised me when after only a few days we were as thick as thieves. One of my first memories was of her birthday which was on our fourth or fifth day there. We gathered around her, all 35 or so of us, and chanted aum to her heart. It was an amazing display of love, full of energy. (Now that I know her better, I have to laugh to myself and wonder how she survived it!!)
We would stay up late at night and laugh til we cried. We would share the most bizarre stories of our lives. We would carry each other up the four flights of stairs to our room after 14 hours of movement with our muscles burning. We would be in our beds at nights in the middle of that hot summer sweating. When we would get up at 5 am each day in order to get to our morning sadhana and she would groggily say as we walked down the hall, "Another day at the coal mine".
That picnic basket was full of her nutritional needs. She warned me it would be like living with a squirrel with her digging in a bag of nuts in the middle of the night. I never minded because she tolerated me sleeping with a stuffed animal as well as my occasional snoring....
One night, on the summer solstice, we walked the labyrinth in the light of the full moon and thousands of lightening bugs. Leading our way was the sound of female African drummers practicing from the main building. It was one of the most powerful nights of my life.
During our time there I nicknamed her "Tink" because she was like a magical sprite; flitting here and there sprinkling her sparkling dust everywhere she went. She seemed to leave a trail of happiness behind her and I couldn't believe that I was the lucky one who got to bask in that light every day and night.
On the day we left we hugged and she looked in my eyes and said, "Lifelong friends".
In all honesty, I was doubtful if we would or could stay as close as we were that June in room 479. This "accidental" friendship forced me to examine how I practiced my friendships. (In Yoga everything is a practice) I was witnessing how she was a friend to me and how she made me want to be a better friend to her.
It's been almost 5 years since the reservation department at Kripalu hooked us up. I had planned my trip there for a year and she had booked hers the week before we got there. So how we ended up together must have been in the Big Plan. We are soul sisters to this day.
She is the person who I can tell absolutely everything to and not be judged. She is the woman who holds space for me. She is the one I can still laugh with til we cry. I never have to explain myself even when she pushes me to go deeper into who I truly am. She is the most amazing woman I have ever met. And she still makes me want to be a better friend every day.
Receiving my diploma and becoming a Yoga teacher that year was one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. Finding a best friend in the process was one of the greatest gifts of my life.