A true friendship develops on the basis of genuine human affection, not money or power.  -@DalaiLama 03/21/2010

It is truly easy to take for granted the friendships in our lives. I've caught myself doing it more times than I care to admit to. Friendships that mean the absolute world to me... Friendships with people whom I greatly respect!

I've let time lapse and not maintained contact like I should. I've just assumed they would be there, and they have always been there. But the assumption was wrong of me. Especially when I have become so far removed from their present lives.

For this I must make my amends, and even knowing that they hold not grudge I owe them a debt that can never be repaid.

I have many acquaintances in my life, with whom I am friendly. I have several casual friends whom I am very grateful for, I have a handful of true and dearly close friends, the sort that are no longer friends but are family.

As the Mandalorian proverb goes: "Family Is more than Blood/Bloodline."

Yes I just quoted a fictional race from Star Wars... Deal with it!

Family is very much what we make of it. And all to often the family that comes to us through the grace of the universe and a merging of paths, just don't seem to get the status and appreciation they deserve.

Two of my truly oldest and dearest friends are to me my friends, my confidants, my brother and my sister. While biologically I am an only child, spiritually and universally I am anything but that. I am also extremely lucky to have as one of my closest friends an actual blood relative.

This is not to say that my other biological family are any less important or dear to me. It is also not to say that I don't have other wonderful close friends in my life whom I truly appreciate their strength, respect, and kindness. They are also indeed very special and close in my heart.

It can sometimes be amazing just how quickly we fall into friendship. But it is equally important that we go in with eyes open and with some wisdom as to who we allow into that inner circle of our lives.

Especially those friends we make in the work place. But if you do tread with the appropriate caution and eyes open attitude you can sometimes find some wonderful friends in that as well.

For ex. My "sister" was a former co-worker of mine.

And to quote her, "God put us into each others lives when we needed each other most."

For me I firmly believe that the Universe crosses the paths of those who can uplift and support one another, can combine in friendship to create a wonderfully positive outpouring of energy back into the world.

Sometimes paths are not meant to cross and are crossed anyway, and we find the result of those relationships scattered through out the news media and the negative impacts on our lives and those of the people around us.

No matter how low I go, no matter what circle of hell I descend to, no matter how much I struggle with "shaking the shadow"... the friends that I am blessed with, my family, are what keeps me safe. You are the reason I am here.

We spend so much of our lives looking to find a meaning. But what if the meaning of life is to be there in support and love of the people in our lives who matter the most, and even those who matter in the casual? What if the meaning of life is to simply live a good and honest life, sharing laughter, love, and kindness in all the ways available to us. To spread the positive energy - to take it in, absorb it - build from it, generate more and send it off back into the world?

Would that be such a bad thing?

Take stock in life.. when you despair...take stock in life... and if you are willing you will find there the riches of the universe laid at your feet - even if hidden in the shadows of sadness and torment... the riches are ever there. You've simply to reach out - grab hold - and hold tight until the sun light shines again!

And more importantly, stand tall as a beacon of light, love, and energy for your friends whom sometimes pass through their own shadows, reach out and be the support they need. One of the greatest gifts I've been given is the respect, appreciation, and love that I have received for simply reaching out... And the full and honest acceptance of me for who I am, not who I'm thought to be.

To my family, both blood and not.... "If I've not said it lately - let me say it now... You are my rock, you are my foundation, you are the rope that I cling to, and the light in my life. You are the reason for my being, and the joy in my life. I long to return to you the kindness and love that you have shared with me, but I warn you now it will take me a lifetime to repay the riches you've given me. "