February 2021

The other day, I took a bite of a homemade chocolate cookie with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. It was no ordinary cookie. In one bite I tasted not only the cookie but my childhood.

I could see myself with my mother and my grandmother, rolling chilled chocolate balls in our sticky palms, and then tossing each one lovingly in a bowl filled with powdered sugar. While baking, chocolate vapor filled the house, and through the oven glass, I could see the powdered sugar splitting into cracks as the chocolate expanded underneath. The cookies were still warm when we ate them, and the moment was warmer still.

I’m amazed when senses trigger memories.

The smell of microwaved broccoli with cheese sauce still returns me to my pregnant (nauseated) self, the sound of a crackling fire puts me right back on the beach at Useless Bay where our family spent childhood summers. The sight of a seashore pulls me to search for shells and agates as I did for years with my mom and sisters.

How will the smells, sights and sounds of this current moment show up over the years to come?

  • Will the sound of a ringing doorbell immediately cause us to salivate and expect to see the Uber Eats delivery driver?
  • Will the sight of people in masks trigger fear, or cause us to cherish the memory that masks were the reason we learned to smile with our eyes?
  • Will the smell of a t-shirt worn for the third day in a row be sweeter because we remember the time we could wear it thrice… or because we’ll never do that again?

* * *

Don’t get me wrong: I’m as ready as everyone else to move back to more normalcy. I can’t wait to be able to hug again, to invite strangers into my home and to eavesdrop on the conversations of couples sitting next to us at the crowded restaurant.

But I also know that this time is worth savoring. I’m savoring mine because this has been the moment when I gained clarity about who my dearest friends really are.

In this year of hiding, my truest friends were perpetually seeking.

I could feel them looking out for me through their texts, and I could read love between the email lines. Even when they didn’t say it out loud, I could hear affection during our phone calls. I could see that they were thinking of me through the little surprise they left at my door and in the pages of a favorite book that they forwarded to me in the mail. A couple of them even sent me love-filled, hand-written letters. They made it obvious that I was in their thoughts, and I hope I conveyed to them that they are whom I would choose to be with whenever I could.

I have learned over the years that when the going gets tough, the best, deepest, truest friendships rise to the top. I will remember this time as a moment that happened.

It will be no future surprise to look back and see that it was during this time of both isolation and love that my closest friendships were formed or cemented. In fact, two of my dearest friends and I used this moment to extend our connections into something broader — something that could spread beyond our inner circle and hopefully give others a bit of what we get from each other.

This is the moment when Bring a Friend was born.

Bring a Friend is a podcast created with the intention of sharing catalytic moments and authentic experiences to a broader circle. A way for everyone to feel the love that comes from beginning to truly know someone else’s truth, and to care.

I hope you’ll take a moment to think about who has risen to the top for you when the going got tough. Those are the memories worth savoring, connections worth treasuring and friendships that are palpable.

What a wonderful way to be reminded that when we were alone, we weren’t really alone at all.

* * *

Who rose to the top for you?

Share it Small: Has this past year given you clarity about who you’d prefer to spend your time with? Can you see where the love is coming from? If so, tell them, and make a concerted effort to continue the love-fest even when the pace of your life returns to a more familiar rhythm.

If you don’t know how to start, try using a fun prompt like one of these:

  • I love you more than hot ramen soup delivered on a rainy afternoon.
  • I’d rather chat with you than binge-watch an entire season of Schitt’s Creek.
  • You make me feel like I look good, even in yesterday’s sweatpants

Share it Big: It lifts everyone to hear about moments of caring, and feelings of being seen. In fact, as we gleaned from the research for The Parlay Effect, people hearing stories about moments of connection, generosity and kindness (all expressions of love) began replicating those behaviors themselves. How about starting your own cascade of love by living your moments out loud for others to witness and build from?

Share it with Me: We all learn from each other. If you have had a revelation, a break-through, an insight, or a triumph, we can learn from you so please tell me about it here! I’m collecting stories of these cascades of good for ongoing community building and to track The Parlay Effect in action. I would love nothing better than to hear how you lifted, were lifted, or observed something in others that made you feel good and recognize your own power.