Walking with a Friend

exploring a third pathway to flourishing - positive relationships
posting by Jana

2018-01-28 19.19.49.jpg

I suppose it's possible to imagine a genuinely flourishing solitary life, but (almost by definition) I don't know anyone who has accomplished it. It seems rather fitting that the centre point of the PERMA flourishing scheme by Martin Seligman rests on Positive Relationships, given the central role relationships play in most human lives. (Click here for an early journal article about the focus of positive psychology and its connection to human flourishing.)

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
-Raymond Carver 'Late Fragment'

Feeling beloved; be-loving others ...there is a magnitude of flourishing here that is difficult to surpass. And so we journey this week along the pathways of positive relationship. 

Monday 15 January 2018
The week began with a very quick quote but one that stirred a bit of reaction: is there an implied discounting of solitude? Does it seem to suggest that individuation, or being able to find our own way in the world, is not of value? Or, given the source of the quote - Helen Keller - maybe it is simply a remark on the experience of one woman who knew much more viscerally than most how dependent we all are on each other, every step of the way. 

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark then alone in the light. 

Tuesday 16 January 2018
When I think about what 'flourishing' means it has something to do with 'enough', with a sense of having or being enough, of being satisfied. Walt Whitman offers a second stepping stone along the positive relationship path to flourishing that highlights the role of friendship in the sense of 'enough.'

I have learned that being with those I like is enough.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 7.10.41 am.png

The mid-week quote featured a couple of proverbs on friendship, one from Turkey and one from Sweden. 

No road is long with good company.

Shared joy is double joy and shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

Thursday 18 January 2018
Traveling a little deeper into the notion of friendship, here's something from John O'Donohue that's alive with contemporary Celtic poetics. 

A friend is a loved one who awakens your life on order to free the wild possibilities within you.

Friday 19 January 2018
Every once in a while it's fun to let nature do the talking and this Cosmic Quote for a week on positive relationships as part of flourishing features human friends in their natural habitat - Friday night drinks and nibbles. 

Saturday 20 January 2018
For the second time this week, a quote is offered that sparks some reaction. What CS Lewis says about friendship may ring true in the sense that friendship does add value to life, but is it really true that it is not necessary for survival? I wonder. 

Friendship is unnecessary like philosophy like art like the universe itself it has no survival value rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

Sunday 21 January 2018
Returning to the contemporary Irish poet John O'Donohue for our closing remark on positive relationship, this last quote for the week describes a concept of the soul friend, or Anam Cara. 

Love allows understanding to dawn and understanding is precious. Where you are understood you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul. This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person's individuality and soul. Love alone is literate in the world of origin. It can decipher identity and destiny.

The purpose of these journeys via the Cosmic Quotes is to explore what it means to be a Cosmic Person, to live with sensitivity to and conscious awareness that we belong to the universe and that our lives are governed by interdependency, connectedness, and emergence. To be a Cosmic Person is to let this awareness support our wellbeing and direct our decisions and choices such that our lives become about participating in the flourishing of the whole community of life on Earth. It's about living a bigger story, a better story, and a beautiful story, the one about falling in love with the Earth over and over again.