I love people! Well... a few of them. And those people I call friends know that I am there for them 100%... On occasion. But before I set myself up to seem flitty and unavailable, let me please explain my Dolphin Theory. (For those who've heard it, sorry for the repeat.)
The ocean is big. The paths of individual dolphins, social and savvy sea creatures, cross and uncross. The crossings are special. A time for celebration and careful exchanging of notes. They gather, play, and dissipate in accordance to the chance patterns of their assembled wills and callings. There is never scorn or a sense of being "dropped" when someone swims off. Only warm appreciation, good wishes, and sweet anticipation of future, random meetings. Dolphins can not conceive of abandonment since their companions are always alive in their spectacular mammalian mindhearts.
Dolphin Theory gets its name from the song "Heroes" by David Bowie. In the song Mr. B sings: "I wish I could swim... like dolphins can swim..." I used to think he was singing "swing" instead of "swim" and I was taken by the notion of swinging dolphins, that is, dolphins who move through time and space freely, in pursuit of their own missions and blisses, effortlessly dodging fishing nets and other entanglements that can drag your streamlined spirit to the bottom of the sea.
Practicing Dolphin Theory enables you to fully enjoy the time you spend alongside your friends. And then, when it is time to swim off, for whatever reason, there are no hard feelings or desperate promises. Till the next time that we say goodbye, I'll be thinking of you.
If you find yourself tempted to brand Dolphin Theory with a scarlet "S" for selfish, you'll be missing the point. Once we leave adolescence, true friendship is not about "hang time" or expectations or responsibility for another life. It is about supporting and participating in the dazzling matrix of individual paths we weave, and trusting in the larger, unseeable pattern, knowing that its interconnecting lines are both freeform and geometric.
Dolphins know that if you reject the noise and petty obligation, and follow the sonar of your inner voice wherever it leads you, you will help create a healthy system that allows for significant crossings at all the right moments.
(photo by Flip Nicklin)