On this Awakin
Call [Saturday, April 7] we talked with Tracy Cochran. Tracy, with her husband Jeff Zaleski run Parabola
magazine, which is entering its 37th year of publication. Tracy's articles and book reviews have appeared in the New York Time Book Review
, the Boston Globe
, the Boston Review
, O: The Oprah Magazine
, Publishers Weekly
, Psychology Today
and other publications. She is co-author of the book Transformations
and her stories have been included in anthologies including The Best Spiritual Writing Series
, Writing for Their Lives
, and Sacred Voices: Essential Women's Wisdom Through the Ages
. Tracy is a longtime student of Vipassana meditation and a long-tiime member of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York. She is currently in community dharma leader training under the direction of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and has recently founded a weekly meditation sangha in Tarrytown, New York.
On this conference call we had thirty participants forming an international group. After a period of silence and a collective check-in, Nipun Mehta of servicespace.org handed it over to me to talk with Tracy.
Thanks, Nipun. My connection with Tracy is based on two things. One, having been invited to be part of Parabola
a couple of years ago and also having been involved in the Gurdjieff work for many years. I know Tracy as a very quick, smart, funny, lively person who is really open to the world, interested in the world and interested in the things that bring people to life and to a greater awareness of themselves. I thought it would be interesting to ask Tracy to tell us all a little bit about Parabola
, and I should say that about a half hour ago I started digging through my own copies of Parabola
and discovered that I have the first four issues, which were published in 1976. In that first issue P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books--which are much better than the movie--was featured, along with Mircea Eliade, Jacob Needleman, Minor White and Huston Smith. That's quite a line up. Parabola
has been, and continues to be, one of the most inspiring and helpful magazines in the English language.
So Tracy, would you tell us a little bit more about Parabola
and how you became connected with it?
First of all, Richard, thank you for that generous introduction. It's hard to live up to, but I'm very happy to speak about Parabola
. It was founded in 1976 and this unusual name came from the founder, D.M. Dooling, or Dorothea Dooling. She had in mind a different kind of journal, a journal that wouldn't be like most magazines, which are for entertainment or even for information, but something that would be like a net that was flung outward. She'd seen Japanese fisherman throw nets and then draw them back in full of fish. She had a dream to create a journal that would cast a net out to the traditions of ways of the world and find material that we could use for our own personal search, for our own personal quest-for inspiration, or as Nipun once put it, for noble thoughts, things that might help light our way. So that was the original inspiration.
RW: And this comes from a connection with the Gurdjieff Foundation and his ideas. She was actually a student of his, right?
TC: Yes, she was. And I've been reflecting on how to say what the connection was. Dorothea Dooling knew Gurdjieff. He had an institute in Paris called The Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, which was a funny name, with an aim to provide a new way of knowing.
I'm going to get around to Servicespace right here. All my life I had secretly suspected that there was another way to know. Not just a head way to know, but a way to actually live the truth. And Gurdjieff was a spiritual teacher who brought this way and this hope to the western world. So when Dorothea Dooling encountered him and worked with him--she was an American and met him in Paris--she resolved later in life to found a journal that would try to do what Gurdjieff tried to do on a different level and in a different way. And that is to seek in all the world's great traditions--in Buddhism, in Hinduism, in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam--to seek that common source, that common wish for wholeness, for being present to life. So it was meant to be a journal that would support search.
RW: It's been around for over 36 years now. How would you say it's changed?.
TC: Right. Well, everything has a kind of life with times of flourishing and times of being a little more in shadow. Birju brought up the need for patience, and I think that this happens in every life and in every magazine. When Parabola
was founded, it was the first journal of its kind, the first spiritual journal like it. I met Bikku Bodhi, the wonderful scholar monk, who provides articles for us. His translation of the fire sermon is in our latest issue. And he told me that when he first entered the monastery in Sri Lanka thirty-five, thirty-six years ago, he encountered a copy of Parabola
. He'd flown all the way from California to Sri Lanka and there was Parabola
waiting for him. So, at the beginning, it was the only thing of its kind and we did have extraordinary founding editors including P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins
, who was also a student of Gurdjieff. (And Mary Poppins is Gurdjieff--for those of you who don't know. It might inspire you to go back to original Mary Poppins books.)
It was unique and then, of course, it inspired many followers like Tricycle Magazine
and Shambala Sun
itself at certain times became maybe more academic and, in recent years, there has been a need and a call and a great desire on our part to bring Parabola
back to its original inspiration. Which is to be a kind of help and support, and when I met Nipun and Birju--and reconnected with you, Richard--and learned about Servicespace, I felt there was a great resonance between the wish behind Parabola
and what I saw manifesting in Servicespace.
RW: Yes. I've just been delighted about the way you and Jeff have embraced Nipun and Servicespace. Very shortly after I'd mentioned to you something about servicespace--Nipun and Paul Van Slambrouck--showed up in New York. They showed up in your office, didn't they?
TC: That's right. They did. That was a very exciting day. I've been touched repeatedly by this connection-I mean being on this call is an enormous honor and it's just making me smile from ear to ear. I had the honor to publish Nipun's story of Pancho in the current "Burning World" issue. When Nipun first approached me about writing the story, Occupy Oakland hadn't happened yet. That iconic photograph of Pancho being arrested while meditating had not been published and spread around the world.
Then all of this started happening and I had several email exchanges with Nipun while it was happened. He related that all kinds of stories were beginning to flare up and all kinds of agendas were beginning to be inspired by Pancho. He was just commenting on that while he was going forward and, by coincidence--of course, as we know, there may not be any coincidences--right before I received that email, I received a description from a friend who had just seen the opera, Satyagraha
, that Philip Glass wrote about the life of Gandhi. She was galvanized by one scene in the opera where all kinds of things were going on--crazy picketing, British soldiers and police, all this activity was bustling and breaking out over the stage--and there Gandhi was in the center of it all, praying. I remember writing to Nipun--I don't know if he remembers--just be in the center of it all. Be with the truth.
RW: That seems like such an important thing to bring up, because how can one remain in the center, trying to remain conscious, and not be pulled in one direction or another into some kind of polarity? Forces are always pulling people in one direction or another and pretty soon there's this polarized situation where there's a battle going on.
TC: I think that's true. And at its best, nobody hits it perfectly. Life is a process. The wish behind Parabola
, because we draw from all the world's great traditions, is to seek that still point in the center. Not just in the center of each tradition, but in the center of ourselves. There's a point in ourselves where there's a stillness. Where there is an aspiration and an awareness that transcends whatever is going on.
RW: Getting back to the visit of Nipun and Paul to your office, I hear there was some hugging that went on. Was it a little bit of a culture shock for Jeff suddenly getting these hugs from California people?
TC: Well, it was a shock, but he received it with a big smile on his face. And there has been a meeting since then and Jeff went there in his sweater vest, looking every inch the editor from New York, but eagerly awaiting his hug from Nipun.
RW: Tracy, I know you've been at this for a long time. And I remember that at one point you told me you'd met so many famous people that you weren't fazed anymore by the celebrity aura. Would you mind telling us about some of the more memorable experiences you've had of meeting famous people?
TC: I don't mind. The way I happened to have met celebrities is that I worked in mainstream publishing for the movie business before I came to Parabola
. So I would often write about them. But what I think is interesting to share, is it taught me--and I was touched by some of the stories I heard this morning [from the check-in with others on the call]--how, in a moment, another world can open up right inside the world we think we're living in. There can be a deeper and more wonderful world.
I think Nipun noticed I'd written a comment one day about being a young person in New York working for a movie company and Meryl Streep walked into the office. I had been prepared to be a nobody, to be this fledgling young person who brought diet sodas into the meeting. But she was very, very kind to me. She came and sat in my office and spoke to me very kindly and looked me in the eye. And in that moment, without realizing it, I took in an impression that no matter what game we think we're playing or what role we think we're filling, it's possible at any given moment to grant someone our full attention. That can change everything.
Attention itself is an extraordinary gift and act of generosity. People were sharing stories like that this morning--like Nipun's story of being in the airport and giving away that piece of cake to the counter clerk. So I've had the experience of celebrities giving me a piece of cake, so to speak [laughs]. Those turn out to be the liveliest memories that I bring back.
I've met Bill Clinton; I've met a lot of people--and you can kind of feel like you're in a petting zoo [laughs]--that it's not really real life. These people are on view in a certain way for our consumption or something. But at any moment, when attention comes into play--and Bill Clinton was very much like that, too. He really looks at people. He really listens to people--you enter a different world. You enter a real
RW: You've mentioned that Parabola
features people from all the major traditions: Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Sufism, and this is a big subject, but do you have any thoughts about bringing all these traditions together in one magazine? And what is it about that you've found most interesting and rewarding?
TC: Well, how much time do you have? It's a huge question.
RW: Maybe just some highlights.
TC: I can actually bring it down to a very simple answer--the Pancho [Ramos Stierle] story. There's a life in that, a pulse in that, that I think touches people from Jerusalem to India to England, where we have a lot of readers, and all over the United States--in prisons, and we have many, many prison readers, and in colleges. I think that if you tell the truth, particularly aspiring to the deepest truth, it will speak. It will speak across all times and across all traditions. And that's what I hope. That's what I seek. And that's how I think Parabola
can be useful. And I'm eager to hear your voices. Parabola
is very eager to serve Servicespace. I am honored and delighted to be an ambassador and very eager to have new voices and new stories.
RW: Here's a question that's kind of out of left field, but I'm curious to know what you might say. I forget the name of your dog. Is your dog still with us?
TC: Oh, Shadow. Shadow has left us.
RW: I think you've had a close connection there. I wonder if you have any thoughts about our relationship with animals and how a connection with other sentient beings is important for us?
TC: It's funny that you should mention that because we're in the middle of closing a new issue that's being called "Alone and Together" and I've been thinking about how we could capture our connection with animals and the way we live together--separate, but together.
I think it's crucial. I think it's an extension of how we need to open our hearts and minds to each other, on a global scale. We have to learn to live--and this is another reason I'm so happy to be connected with Servicespace--I deeply feel we need to learn to live so that at every moment we're aware of being part of a larger wholeness.
RW: Sometimes when I'm looking at our dog Puccini, I'm struck by how we have these beautiful, mysterious creatures with us here in this life. They're alive and real. Does it ever strike you that way, that there's just something amazing about these beings, and that they actually exist?
TC: I get what you mean. And it's amazing. I read somewhere a wonderful quote from a poet who said that animals have senses and emotions that we've lost, these extended abilities to sense and feel the world around them--incredible sensitivity. I remember Jane Goodall once describing--I think it was even in Parabola
--walking in the forest and having suddenly the sensations and feelings of a chimpanzee for a moment. It included an extraordinary sense of in the chimp's heart of love for the beauty of life. I do know what you mean, and I'd love to get more of that into Parabola
RW: In the ordinary state we're in most of the time, we don't even tune into the astonishing reality of, say, the existence of an animal. And when you mentioned about how animals represent an extended awareness that we are mostly out of touch with, I wanted to ask you--it seems to me that in Vipassana meditation and also in the Gurdjieff work--there is help in our search about how to inhabit ourselves as multi-dimensional beings, beings with sensation and feeling, and I wonder if you'd reflect on that at all?
TC: I think it's crucial. I think it's really a burning issue now. And as I tried to say before, it's what attracted me to the work. And it certainly is what attracts me to Vipassana meditation, which I do every day. And in my personal experience, every time I come into my body, especially being kind of a word person, it's like discovering a new world. And I discover it afresh almost every day when I enter it however briefly. And sensation can give rise to the most beautiful and profound feelings.
RW: We're talking about the realm of being, and this is a thing we don't talk about in this culture, or maybe it's not spoken about in other cultures: being
. We are here, alive. Our being is the being of more than just our thoughts. Have you ever pondered why in our speech and exchange we don't have much talk about our being, or our dwelling in the world? To dwell in myself. To dwell in the presence of someone else. This is really the realm of being-here, or being in myself, or being present.
TC: Right. And there's that idea of peaceful abiding in the Pali canon, as the Buddha spoke of it. I think it touches on what Birju was sharing. We live in a culture that is so, it's about pushing and leaning forward, certainly in the cities, certainly in New York. I remember hearing from Trungpa that where he grew up there was no word for patience because they didn't need that word [laughs]. Plus, things are so difficult in that part of the world. He would say that the roads would wash out and they'd be gone for five months, and you'd just have to be with it. You couldn't command a helicopter to come and get you. But in our culture, unless something extraordinary happens, like if we sit down, like Birju did, or make a connection with a broader community or something happens so that we don't have the choice, we don't allow ourselves to just abide, to abide with. And it's just in those moments that another world opens. A door opens. Meaning opens. Beauty opens to us.
RW: What was the phrase you used from the Pali--to abide peacefully?
TC: Yes. He talks about it in the Satipatthana Sutta, which is where the Buddha gives instructions about how to sit. He talks about peacefully abiding inside and outside.
RW: Heidegger has a phrase, "poetically man dwells." Maybe it's not quite the same as peacefully abiding, but both of those phrases point to a reality I think you've been describing.
TC: I think so. And it's something that I'm becoming more and more interested in. And it speaks to what I've learned about the aims and aspirations of Servicespace because it's about living with new values and living in a new way, with a new awareness right here and right now.
I suffer from impatience, being a New Yorker. I get impatient with Parabola
and with waiting for things to happen, and with software glitches and all that, but then I realized--also being inspired by Service space--that I can just start now, here and now, in this moment, no matter what is happening. I can sit down and be, and look someone in the eye and grant them a smile. If Meryl Streep could do it, I can do it! [laughs] All of us can do it. We can just begin.
RW: I know your wishes for Parabola
are that things can be brought to others that truly help and I know you have a great interest in community, as Michelle was talking about earlier. I just met a man, Gustavo Esteva who had been greatly moved by meeting Ivan Illich. Gustavo was saying, we can't change the world. It's just too big of a job. But maybe we can create new worlds where we are. That would be a real beginning. [interruption, as music appears suddenly in the conference call. It passes.] A musical intervention from the universe! Anyway, Tracy I wondered if you could say anything about starting new worlds.
TC: And here and now! I mean, to tie it up, you asked me about the Gurdjieff work--I remember telling Nipun in an email, when I was a little girl I grew up in northern New York on the St. Lawrence River, I always dreamed of going to India, to ancient India. There I would find my world, a new world. And I still very much intend to visit India, but I've come to realize that it dwells in me and I can find it in those moments of calm abiding--or pre-sand Egypt, to put it Gurdjieff terms. He would tease people about the location of this source and say it was in pre-sand Egypt. Or maybe he really meant it. But it's also in pre-sand Egypt inside me, here and now.
RW: That's beautiful. Thank you. So we can have some questions now?
Rejeesh: My question is around the aspects of the new ways of knowing. We have a new-born and she was up in the middle of the night and I got up to pacify her and after she got back to sleep I found myself thinking about work and other things going through my mind and I decided to sit for a little bit. If I keep thinking about these things going through my mind, it sort of sucks energy. You mentioned Gurdjieff’s work and looking at things through the head. I’m also a little bit like that. And I know that servicespace is a lot about doing something, an action, that can trigger a positive change in oneself. So I wanted to get your thoughts, are these two separate realms, and how these two realms come together, or do they stay separate?
TC: Well, I will speak just for myself and from my personal experience. Self-compassion—and I read a marvelous thing on Dailygood just this morning about self-compassion. When I find myself sitting and these distracting thoughts come up, if I embrace them with awareness and with acceptance, there’s often a transformation. They can become a door that opens into an insight that can be very revealing. I find that if I just accept, if I practice this radical loving acceptance of what is, with no exceptions, and I have no orphans in my consciousness, it can bring a new way of being present into my life.
And that’s not separate from what the Gurdjieff work seeks, in my view. The Gurdjieff work aims to have people explore their nature, the nature of the way they are just in the moment. Try it. I certainly sometimes get up and sit in the middle of the night. And among other sensations, including the sensation of connectedness, there will be plenty of thoughts of things I have to do. Everything is welcome. I don’t know if that speaks to your question.
RW: Can I just add that to be able to move in this direction is one of the biggest challenges facing us, right?
TC: Yes. It’s a very big challenge and sometimes it can feel like the last resort. I think it’s really quite natural for many of us to approach our spiritual practice, whatever it is, as a way to get away from difficult or disappointing material. But I very slowly learned, and I want to emphasize slowly
, over decades, that the direction of freedom is to turn towards, very gently. And I’m a mother. That helped me. I remember meeting Thich Nhat Hanh and he talked about, if you feel angry or a burst of impatience, to hold that feeling like a child. And I’ve learned very, very slowly, that this works. Not going into the story and siding with yourself, but just holding your material, whatever it is.
Nipun: We have Bill’s question and using my position as moderator, I’d like to sneak in a question, too. Bill says, “Tracy, given your background in the more conventional media realm, I'm wondering if there was a particular experience or moment when you shifted from conventional values and notions of success to those more in line with the intent of Parabola and service space?” And I’m wondering if you would share your story, this incredibly powerful story, you shared with us over lunch in February, of the time you were mugged? So I was wondering if you could respond to Bill’s question and then maybe share this as well?
TC: And maybe flow into that? Okay [laughs]-- and time is short. I think it’s many little moments. In my journey I think it’s just been finding a way to give myself permission to act on that innate wisdom that we all have.
First of all, I was a classic girl from a small town so I came to the big city, to New York City, to be a writer and to make my way. So there was something, certainly of a classic American story of the girl with a suitcase and a dream. And I kind of blundered into different jobs seeking to make a living. Then as I gained in years and experience and learned to meditate and found the Gurdjieff Foundation, it was a question of refinement and finding ways to live more in accord to my inner values as they matured. So there wasn’t one particular event.
However, here’s a mini-version of a very dramatic event that I told Nipun. It’s a story that’s very alive for me, still. When I was in my twenties, New York City was not quite as polished as it is in the Bloomberg years. There were very wild neighborhoods and I was reckless as so many young people are and I was walking around 10 at night in a deserted neighborhood and I was jumped from behind by three men who put me in a strangle hold. They were mugging me. They wanted my money and I could not talk to tell them I could not get the ten-dollar bill out of the front pocket of my jeans. And I began to sink to the sidewalk.
In the midst of this I was aware of a bright light welling up inside of my whole body. And it grew brighter and brighter. I was in a situation where I was seeing beyond a doubt that the computer of the brain, the ordinary thinking mind, cannot help us in every circumstance. I was being strangled and there were two people in front of me, blocking me, and I probably weighed 110 at the time. My ability to extract myself in this situation was hopeless...
So I gave up in a way, I surrendered. But I surrendered to this extraordinary light—this awareness that was welling up inside me, and then it went shooting out the top of my head. Then I had an out-of-body experience where I saw myself and I saw my attackers, not just from my usual perspective, but from above and behind—just like you read in classic near-death experiences.
I remember looking up at the side of my attacker’s face, and he had this big scar. And I remember feeling this up-welling of compassion for him, which was very improbable [laughs] in that circumstance. But I became aware that this light that had been in me was also part of the world around me. That behind the world of ordinary appearances—and I was looking at tenant buildings, New York City buildings—behind the world of appearances, no matter what they are, there is light. There is this luminosity.
This light was gazing down on me, or this very grave and caring presence. I was aware that I was seen, and that I was held and cared about. It was like being weighed in a giant hand. I had a sense that my life was seen and cared about, but not the life I thought.
I was aware of being searched. It was like this great gaze looking through me, and looking past all the things I normally valued: where I went to school, the things we think we are. It didn’t care about that. And it just came to rest in the center of my being, like deep in my heart, and acknowledging that I was—and somehow conveying that everything would be all right if I just relaxed.
I found out later that that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re in a strangle-hold. If you just drop in a very relaxed way, they have to release their grip. But it’s also very good advice for life. If you just relax. So I did. And I got a ten-dollar bill out and they scooped it up and they ran off. I was unharmed. I was crying. I was upset. It’s very shocking. But I wrote about it after that. I heard from a Tibetan lama who said this was a death practice called powa where they shoot their consciousness out of the top of their heads.
And I heard from other people who had been mugged and had been severely traumatized. And I want to emphasize that I am not taking anything away from how traumatic such an experience can be. I was being held in this other way for whatever reason, so I want to make it clear that such violence can be very, very destructive. But what happened to me, through this extraordinary gift of seeing and of grace is that I saw, again, that there is a whole other life besides the life we think we’re living. So yes, I may have been blundering along in mainstream media, but I was also part of a greater life, a life that all of us share on this phone call, and all people everywhere.
So that was my near-death experience and it certainly made an impression on me. I tell you, it’s something that’s just fresh as can be even though it happened thirty years ago at this point. But I didn’t magically leave mainstream publishing at that point. We all have a process, don’t we?
Questioner: Tracy, thank you so much for that story. I’m almost at a loss for words here. As a student and practitioner of meditation and mindfulness fairly regularly, you get an opportunity to see what is both on the surface layer of your mind as well as some of the deeper roots. And I was curious about what evolution have you seen from when you started this journey to where you are today?
TC: I think I would sum it up by saying acceptance and self-compassion. I’ve abandoned the idea of progress in the linear sense. And also one of the most liberating things that’s happened is that I’ve gotten over the aspiration to be special. The more I embrace my common, flawed humanity the happier I am, and the more aware and awake I am. I’ve discovered [laughs] that I love being totally average, even on the slow end of average. I’m so happy.
Michelle: For a number of years I’ve been exploring the idea of transformational global leadership, what does it take to make a difference at the global level, knowing that this can seem like an impossible endeavor. But I was very strongly called to engage in that. I’m at the point of looking at the things I’ve learned in this experiment and putting it together in a form that could be share--and I’m struggling with that. From all your experience, in terms of building a curriculum for human beings, what is the most important thing for every human being to learn in order to be a responsible global citizen? in order to create a human community? What is the one thing you think is most critical to put in such a curriculum, if we were to do that?
TC: I’m tempted to ask you. From all your experience, what have you come to?
Michelle: I can answer that. If I answer, will you then answer this from your own perspective?
Michelle: What I’ve come to is that one of the things that seems to be most profoundly missing is specifically a conversation about a human entity. So we talk about our families, our communities, our nation, our regions, our tribes or states or provinces, very loudly. We talk about race. But going through the day and listening, very rarely do I hear people talking about humanity--
as an organism, as an entity. It seems to me that until we begin to do that it’s very difficult to grasp how critical each human being is as a cell of that organism.
TC: I resonate with what you’re saying. It dawned on my just the other day--I was speaking to Jeff and some of the other people connected to Parabola
about all of these different, extraordinary systems of transformational work from Buddhist meditation to Vedanta, and all the different paths—and it came flying out of my mouth that there’s only one human being, one mind, one heart, one body.
So the capacity for transformation--for deep listening, for chang--is give to all of us when we get these human bodies, these human hearts, these human minds. What does it take for all of us to know that we have the same human inheritance? It connects us with all beings and all times. How to do that? Listening. I think we need to listen.
And we need to never give up. We need to keep experimenting and keep trying and doing the things that all of us in this conversation are doing to bring that message home to people.
Question: I wanted to ask you, Tracy, to share one or two insights or incidents in honor of your dog, Shadow.
TC: That’s very touching. Shadow was a black Labrador retriever. She died a bit younger than I hoped, even though I know a dog’s life has to be shorter than a human life. She taught me a great deal about loyalty, about inner quickness. When you’re with the heart, it gives you an almost psychic capacity. She could hear and sense the school bus coming with my daughter, Alex, long before any human ears could hear it. She could just feel it coming.
Also, in her absence, I realize the presence of an animal and how much they can bring and how much they want to be with us. Not all animals do, but dogs certainly do. They want to be helpful. Of course, labs were bred for that. I’ve never felt more alive than when I’d be walking in the woods with Shadow, because—as Richard and I were saying—it’s just marvelous to be with another intelligence, a non-human intelligence. I miss Shadow and I'm very glad she can be part of this conversation [laughs].
Same questioner: Thank you and you shared something about the extraordinary gift of undivided attention and, from my experience, I think that animals are the greatest teachers of that aspect, that quality.
TC: Absolutely, and patience, too, the ability to just dwell with us—and forgiving, they’re so forgiving.
Nipun: Thank you Tracy. Are there ways we can support Parabola
and the work you’re doing?
TC: Oh, thank you very much. Be aware of us, first of all. You can visit us at www.Parabola.org
or look for us on your newsstand. And be patient with us, because we’re moving very slowly. We’re trying to get a good digital platform and an iPad app. It’s moving very slowly, but it’s coming. We’re very open to your ideas and your stories.
Nipun: I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for accepting our invitation to join us on this call. You are a friend in service and in all the deeper values that bring us together.