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friend of mine

We are travelling in twos

It’s stunning

We are travelling with you

You are still a friend of mine

Even if we have not spoken

I have looked into your eyes

Through the laughter and the smoke

And I will curse the skies for you

If it’s all that I can do

Maybe somehow I’ll be there

When you come up for air

These words are from a song called 'Incoming' by Greg Felden. I’ve listened to this song endlessly since I first heard a snippet of it during a COVID binge watch of ‘Grace and Frankie’. Go ahead, click here and listen. I think you’ll understand why it has been both haunting and inspiring me for months.

‘Incoming’ was published pre-COVID in June 2019. Coincidence? Prophecy? Life imitating art?

Did you listen? Yes? Ok, now read on; and my guess is that you’ll listen to this song again once you are done and perhaps discover your own reflections and insights.

I didn’t know this song when I wrote my blog post last December as we were preparing to turn the final page of our calendar and unveil a new decade. My CTI Leadership Tribe, had just completed Retreat 1 and we were preparing for a Zoom call (before that became ‘a thing’). The assignment was to come to the call with a vision of how we see ourself in full leadership swing in 2030. I found myself in some serious inner resistance to this task. Just being obstinate, lazy? I wasn’t sure but I just didn't want to vision beyond a few days. Instead of showing up with what was asked, I came with a poem

and shortly after, wrote this post.

My intuition was pointing me to what I now know to be sound advice or maybe it was the stuff of other universal dimensions – don’t hold on too tightly, don't vision 10 years out, just be here now. More prophetic words from Greg Felden provide some insight here: “Time it moves in a straight line / And every corner here is blind.” We can’t really see what’s ahead of us, we march on a seemingly linear path one year after the next celebrating our birthdays in sequence 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50…, but the actual journey is anything but straight and smooth and sequential. And we really can't see what's coming around the corner, 2020 has taught us that.

The song starts out with: “It hits you when you least expect / You wake up, your life's a wreck / No one told you hit the deck, incoming”. More true words to describe my (and I suspect your) 2020, could not have been written. For me It has been relentless: family illness and hospital visits, COVID lockdown and isolation, political insanity, social unrest, fires and hazardous air quality, earthquakes, pay cut, job losses, medical issues, the recent plumbing explosion in our home and the sudden death of a dear friend. Incoming!

I don’t know about you but there is not a person I know who hasn’t been closely touched by some form of difficulty if not outright tragedy and loss. At this point I’m holding on by threads. I’m holding on because I know that at the other end of those threads, there you are, my family, friends, clients, and colleagues; all of you holding those threads miraculously woven like a strong spider web shimmering in the morning sun. We have cursed the skies for each other, with each other, as we have been witness to and victim of the unfolding of this incomprehensible year.

I am so blessed for the presence of each and every one of you in my life. Thank you for being a friend of mine. I wouldn’t have made it through 2020 without you. Now listen to the song again, let's curse the skies for each other one last time and then hold hands and march into 2021 with powerful presence and purpose.

Together, forever, you are a friend of mine.

Photo, “Friendship” by Lynne Bernstein © 2018

Published in the book “XI: Explorations with Image and Inquiry”

by Lynne Bernstein available here.


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