Welcome to this week's edition of the Girlfriend Guide! This week, I am so excited to introduce you all to one of my soul sisters, Charlie. Charlie and I met in 1999 while serving in the United States Navy. We spent 3 years traveling the seven seas and built a life long friendship that has spanned hundreds of miles. Charlie lives with her husband and two little boys and has just published her first book, "The Face of a Memory", a personal memoir of her time in the military through the tellings of short stories. She is an artist and activist and has devoted her time and energy to promoting awareness about issues affecting the veteran community. Check out her beautiful blog to find out more about how you can get involved. I hope that you are as inspired by her words as I constantly am!
"Having a lover/friend who regards you as a living growing criatura, being, just as much as the tree from the ground, or a ficus in the house, or a rose garden out in the side yard... having a lover and friends who look at you as a true living breathing entity, one that is human but made of very fine and moist and magical things as well... a lover and friends who support the ciatura in you... these are the people you are looking for. They will be the friends of your soul for life. Mindful choosing of friends and lovers, not to mention teachers, is critical to remaining conscious, remaining intuitive, remaining in charge of the fiery light that sees and knows."
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run with the Wolves)
1. What is your personal definition of friendship?
A relational space that allows you to grow through challenges and expansion in the safety of another’s challenges and expansion. A relational space that remains open in time of great joy, sorrow and any other myriad of emotions. A relational space that is soft enough to love you and hard enough to push you when you need it and when you don’t ask for it. A person brave enough to hold a mirror to you and then hold a mirror to themselves and share what is both beautiful and ugly in each reflection but with GRACE, LOVE and from deep soul RESPECT !
2. What qualities do you look for in a girlfriend?
Grace, compassion, strength, tenderness, goal setting, detail oriented, funny, fabulous, EXPANSIVE, UNAFRAID, SOUL FULL, Respectful
3. How do you balance spending time with friends and fostering relationships with work and family?
I don’t think there is a good balance but I try! I think there will always be a time when there is a greater need for you to foster a friendship or your career. I think family will always be your most important asset and ally in these moments and should be where you should spend the greatest amount of energy. I also believe family will support and nurture the need to be a better woman and friend if you spend a large amount of time building a solid foundation in your own tribe. Sometimes friendships can become family. And that is when friendship is deep rooted and well maintained. Somewhere along the line your BFF becomes your soul sister and it is important. I think family doesn’t mean bloodlines but the willingness to shed blood for the ones you love.
4. What advice would you give other women about having healthy, happy friendships?
It is hard work to have a friendship. And it cant be a friendship if its not reciprocated. A friendship is not Facebook! Its not one person doing all the work. Its emails, phone calls, its EFFORT!! The effort put in is the greatest reward. It challenges you to get out of your own way and be a better person! Friendship is evolving and forward moving.
5. How has having strong friendships enriched your life?
I am a better person!! I have been changed, enlightened and expanded by being a part of great relationships with amazing women! I have laughed, loved and cried a lot in my life because wonderful women have imprinted their souls in my soul. I will always contain a safe place in my soul for the collective lessons I have learned in my life from these women. I am also continually enriched by the different perspectives that I am given through these wonderful women. I cant imagine my life with out GRACE FULL inspiring women who aren’t afraid to live outside a box and to inspire and motivate me to!
6. What is your favorite girlfriend memory we have shared?
Australia in a dirty bar bathroom drinking on Aussie boys money and “getting real”. Okay, that is just one of my 1000’s!! Bike rides, drunken stupors, rants, raves, nights in racks and berthings, sunsets on the Pacific, songs that will always be Olivia in my heart, Plumeria and your scent, our children, our family vacations, our phone conversations, our great sharing of emails!! I just cant imagine my life without the memories shared with you because they truly make up such a huge part of my world!
Girlfriends like Charlie are real, sincere, devoted soul sisters. She is the kind of woman who goes the extra mile for the ones she loves. Though we have lived across the country from each other for the last several years, we have always made every effort to remain close, regardless of how busy and chaotic our lives are. Through daily emails, cards, packages, and family vacations, we have committed to staying in each other's lives. I can call her at any time and she is there with a listening ear and an open heart. She is the kind of person who sees the big picture, always listens to my problems from an objective stand point, and offers me honest advice. She appreciates me for who I am but is not afraid to challenge me to be more. I admire her strength, her creativity, and her passion for life. I love you, Good Time Charlie, and am so thankful to have such an empowering woman in my life!