Blue Martini, Tampa – the night we dared each other to wear heels that were far higher than either of us had business wearing.
The morning of Nina’s first bikini competition
Claire’s… the day we went to the mall and picked out the tackiest outfits we could find to make each other try on. hahahaaa…

I had such a great time with Nina here the last couple of days – I was definitely sad to see her leave.  To share these experiences with people I love makes it that much more special.  Nina and I met several years ago when we were both dating guys who happened to be friends.  The relationships with the guys didn’t last, but we have become really wonderful friends. For your entertainment, I have sprinkled this post with pics of Nina and I from over the years

I want more and more to be with people, to laugh and socialize, to share these adventures… whether it’s with old friends who come out to visit me or new friends I make on the road.  I spent the last few years of my life in a pretty intense state of isolation.  Looking back, I’m positive that part of my isolation was from the antidepressant I’d been on for 12 years (this past September was my 1 year anniversary of getting off that shit… a hard won battle).  Traveling has also helped yank me out of that tendency toward isolation. I’ve found that the people who enter my experience are wonderful, and I want to interact with them.  What was it that I was trying to shelter myself from before? Why did I, perhaps unconsciously, work so hard to shut myself out from the world?  I see now how gray isolation can be – dangerous even.  There’s a difference between being comfortable with solitude and shutting yourself out from the world.

I’ve spent the last couple of months renewing friendships and touching base with the people I love.  I understand now, that is what life is really about.

I also have a changed understanding of love.  It’s infinite.  There’s no limit to the amount of love I can give (or receive).  Some things are numbered… my days of life, my threshold for pain, but other things, like my love and grace, are unending.

I’m seeing how beautiful it can be to show whole, genuine love to total strangers, with no expectations of any sort.  To show love and give it – not because the receiver will give me anything back – but for the simple exhilaration of giving it.

I’m seeing all the different forms that love can take.  Giving, whether it’s a compliment, words of advice, cash… whatever… giving is an act of love.  Giving from the heart always feels good because it’s a way of showing love.

After I left Moab, I stopped in a gas station in Navajo Nation to fill up.  A young girl (maybe early 20s) came up to me and explained that she was out of gas and was just trying to get to her aunt’s house, which was about 65 miles away.  She pointed to her car, and before she could ask me for any cash, I pulled out a twenty dollar bill from my wallet and give it to her.

Nina’s 30th birthday at St. Pete Beach – the day we day-drank like pros.

You would have thought I’d just given her a winning lottery ticket.  She thanked me profusely, pulled her car around to the pump next to

Saguaro National Park – the day we worried about nothing. 

mine, and went inside to pay for the gas.  When she came back out, she made small talk with me as she filled up.  That – was love. I expected nothing back.  She needed gas and I could help her get it – and that made me feel GREAT! (also, the more you give the more you receive – I closed a new contract the very next day, which was worth 200 times the $20 I gave to that girl – not a bad return).

I just want to circle back around to my initial discussion of isolation.  In my self-imposed isolation, I closed myself off to all these wonderful experiences of love.  I failed to see all the different ways that love can be given and received – to understand that it is so much more than an intimate exchange with a lover, but rather, a state of being.  The more I open myself up to life, to experiences, the more I feel the energy of love in just about everything I do.  I want to be one of those people who embody love – who just ooze love effortlessly, joyfully, all the time.  Not just with my good friends, like Nina, but with everyone who I am blessed to cross paths with each day.

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