What is it about some people that makes them draw other people toward them? We've all known someone like that, and I have had the pleasure to know a few and for those that are no longer regularly in my life, I still think of them fondly and with a smile. And I still marvel at how these people can walk into anywhere and immediately, and magically, draw people to them and leave others smiling and feeling warm, just from crossing paths. I have tried to mimic what I've seen them do - really look at people, smile at everyone, and say the nice things that sometimes pop into my mind ("I love your socks!" was the last one that comes to mind - said to a woman at yoga who came in with these gorgeous wild colored wool socks on as leg warmers). I think doing this shares some warmth and makes people smile, even just for a moment, but I have never found the magic that actually draws people to me. But I love doing the little things like holding a door or reaching for something on a high shelf for someone at the grocery store who is stretching or commenting with a smile to a stranger.
I have been thinking a lot lately about one of my friends, Lisa. She was the most magnetic of the magnetic people I've ever known. After I moved away, she was planning a globe-hopping travel adventure and was kind enough to send me photographs of her journey. Keep in mind this was in the early years before everyone had email and before wi-fi allowed for global internet access. I followed her journey hungrily, since I was not raised with enough adventure in my soul to ever even conceive of doing such a thing. I think we crossed paths once after that trip and had lunch, because I remember hearing about her travels in person. But that was about the last I heard from Lisa. I googled her some years ago and was thrilled to discover that she was involved with a national women's white water rafting team ... clearly her adventures continued! But I never found an address - email or otherwise - to write to her.
And then in early September, I googled her again. I was scrolling around through various 'hits' when I happened to look at the "google images". And there she was - huge smile and wild hair. The photo was from a few years ago in New Zealand! So I searched a little narrower and found another photo on a web page for a yoga studio in New Zealand - there was no face, but it was a woman sitting with her head thrown back laughing. I didn't need a face to recognize my friend. There were tears in my eyes by that point. So then I searched a little narrower, found a web site for a yoga studio back in the U.S., advertising a yoga retreat with my friend Lisa as the chef (she was always a fantastic cook!). I actually immediately clicks on the "register" button and having not done a lick of yoga in my life, I was ready to get a plane - that's how strong a presence she was in my life - only to realize the retreat had already occurred after Labor Day weekend. But there were multiple photos of my friend - smiling and looking gorgeous and I sat there clicking on the photo galleries, smiling and laughing and wiping tears. I found "my" Lisa!
I did send an email and had two emails back from each of the two studio owners, saying they'd pass along my greetings to Lisa. I hoped I would hear back from her but, to date, have not. And that makes me sad but at the same time, I am just so happy that her adventures continue and that she is happy and well and no doubt bringing joy to the people around her.
There were many players in the process it took to get me onto my yoga mat, but truly seeing Lisa again - even online - was the final straw. Well, the final straw was finding a yoga studio that had a class schedule I could manage as well and that wasn't terrifying (or too terrifying) but that was really more of a technical hurdle to overcome. I had been going up the 'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can' hill towards it for a long time and Lisa, I think, was the final push to crest the hill, let go, and holler wheeeeeeeeeee! even as my rational brain was shrieking in terror. That was what Lisa gave to me - we had a couple adventures where I had to consciously set my rational brain aside and just let go and enjoy the ride.
I love you Lisa, and I thank you sincerely for the memories and your effect on my life.