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“Luke, you’re going to find that a great many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

I’ve spent most of my life reflecting on various quotes from Star Wars. These words from the venerable Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi are no different. Actually, the older I get, these are the words that stick with me the most, the ones whose wisdom continues to bloom for me.

I first met Jane Dye a couple of years ago, in a different life, with the eyes of a person I no longer remember. She was charming, wise, and passionate. Anyone who has met Jane and taken the time to speak with her can clearly see this. We spoke a bit, learned more about each other, and then walked on. As is the way with so many meetings, with so many incredible people, we moved on with the rotation of the world.

About a year ago, our paths crossed again and, for the better part of that year, regular conversations with Jane have become a very pleasant part of my norm. Hours can quickly whirl by as we share wisdom, stories, and learn from one another. It’s become one of my most valued friendships honestly.

In Jane I have someone who can see all aspects of my story and not be afraid. Perhaps the hardest part in the struggle with depression and suicide, is the distance put between us and the rest of the world. In a time when more and more of us “choose” happiness, those of us who struggle to see a sunny day are cast aside as toxic. Our existence makes it tough to see everything as sunny, and caring for people in this fight requires one of the hardest human emotional conditions…compassion.

We have shared many stories, the good and the bad, the smiles and the cries. Jane has listened to my struggles, and shared the tough parts of her life with me as well. There is no need to hide, to present the highlight reel. It is a friendship where we can both be who we are, where we both love and respect each other for it.

Jane often talks about the concept of bio-individuality. It’s simple really. You and I are different on a number of levels, from genetic code to personal beliefs. As a result of that difference, what works for me in regards to say weight loss, might not work for you. It’s the truth behind why there is no silver bullet for our health. In every conversation I have ever had with Jane, this concept comes up, and it’s helped me a lot. Advice from our talks has transformed my thoughts on health, life, and the balance required to have you health be about living.

But there’s more to her appreciation of individuality than just health. Jane understands that we are all different, none of us having walked the same road, and from that she is able to learn. She has an incredible mind, and a phenomenal body of knowledge, which only shine brighter when matched with her eagerness to learn about people. Our truths depend largely upon our point of view, and our point of view can be expanded by truly seeing others. This is one of the many little wisdoms my friend reminds me of every time we talk.

Whether we agree or disagree, we always seek to see one another. And to be seen, not merely viewed, by another human being is a gift.

I have written my whole life, sought to tell stories, so that people might see me. In this life, most people never really will. We get too caught up in who we are, in the dreams we’ve built to chase, in being right to ever look across from ourselves and see the incredible humans across from us. Far too much time is spent waiting to talk and not listening.

I am as guilty of it as anyone.

But I am learning. In every conversation, as every hour passes with my friend Jane, I remember to stop and look, to see the person on the other side. To hear their voice and listen to their stories. And with every story shared, my point of view gets a little larger.

You never know where you’ll find your teachers, the Jedi in your life, sharing those bits of wisdom best grasped by living life instead of reading books. Luckily for me, I found one of mine in Jane.

Social distance and the isolation that accompanies it can be hard for many, especially when you combine it with the stress of our current situation. Please, reach out and connect with people. Share your stories and your time. Use the technology available to stay close to people.

If you want to be a part of this project and share some time and stories with others, or if you just need to connect with someone, reach out to me here.

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