Celebrating My Friendship With Bo

Bo is a made up name for a dear friend who has forever changed my life. She doesn’t like to be in the limelight and thus she prefers that I do not use her real name.  So I am calling her “Bo.”

I met Bo through a series of absolutely miraculous, synchronistic events when I was living in Berkeley, California. The first time we met, she shared with passion about how much she loved nature and animals. I had never heard anyone speak with such fervor about this topic. She also shared how she had been a vegan since 1989!

I was almost immediately inspired to take my vegan lifestyle to a new level–to become an animal rights activist.

Bo also was inspired by my relationship with Jesus. Even though at first she was pretty hostile to the idea of me being a Christian, almost immediately she changed gears when I told her that Jesus was like my friend. Her ability to change her mind quickly when presented with some logical reasons for doing something is one of the many things I love about her.

We met with another friend every Thursday for about 8 weeks, and our talks would be all over the place. I know I felt safe with Bo, and she brought out the best in me. We always talked about animals and nature along with so many things. Hours would fly by and yet time stood still.

We worked on organizing a gathering at her home, and I just loved how she participated in the event and added so much richness to the conversations. Afterward, her enthusiasm and encouragement were so strong and she validated that I was an excellent facilitator and creator of structures that encourage people to thrive.

Our friendship went to a new level after this gathering, and I was also going to be returning to my home in Arkansas in a few weeks. We met as much as we could. I loved our long brisk walks around the lake in Berkeley. We also went to a dance together, attended Direct Action Everywhere events at the Animal Rights Center, and she helped me produce the Community: Connect! event at The Place For Sustainable Living.

We found we had so much in common and we had so much fun and fulfilling times.

Bo and I stayed in touch when I got to Arkansas, and I loved our daily conversations and texts. I felt connected to my new friend, and so supported in every way.

When I shared with her my vision of what an ideal community day would look like, she was immediately inspired and wanted to help me manifest and be a part of this beautiful lifelong dream that I had been cultivating for the past 43 years.

I went back to Berkeley to visit several times, and Bo and I continued to get to experience each other in various ways such as attending some of the events at the DxE Forum for Animal Liberation. I loved sharing our passion for animals by doing protests together.

We even created our own little retreat day with a friend where we designed together a focused time for healing which included being playful, dancing, and sharing our deep vulnerability. I will always remember that very intense and precious day where we flowed together and left the world behind for a brief period experiencing unconditional love and acceptance that felt so healing and refreshing.

We have had our challenges, yet we always managed to talk about them and work through the difficulties, no matter how hard they were. Each of us has been in different crises over the past 19 months that we have known each other. The way that she was able to comfort and guide me through the most daunting of experiences is something I cherish.

There are so many little things about my dear friend Bo that I appreciate and cherish.  Her ability to discern truths intuitively while I needed to read about those truths to figure out was astonishing to me at first. The way she laughs and is so spontaneous and free encourages my little child to come out and play.

Our ability to encourage each other and celebrate our lives together brings me so much joy. I love singing with her and teaching her how to play guitar–she is a natural!

One thing she initiated was something we call “playful talk”. Some people might call it baby talk, but really, baby’s don’t talk like that at all! But we talk with a funny way that just makes us laugh and be creative. When we shared this a few times with men friends who were visiting us, we had so much fun helping them bring out their inner child. Bo and I were a great facilitator team when it came to helping people open up and let go of so much control.

I cherish the way that we could include other people in our friendship and celebrate nurturing others with the love that we shared.

Bo’s love of animals and her fierce dedication to nurturing her 3 cats and other wild creatures who visit her home is immensely inspiring to me. Her concern for animals and nature, in general, is something that continues to help me be even more motivated to dedicate my life to helping create a vegan utopia by creating Vegan Utopia Ecovillages.

Once we decided to have an all-day retreat with another friend. How I loved the way we were all able to organize the day within a half hour and make sure that our deepest yearnings for that day were met. We danced, went on a scavenger hunt outside, shared vulnerability, ate delicious vegan food, and did many other things that just helped us feel alive and loved. We felt even more connected after that day together.

I learned more about my friend Bo, and I always enjoy getting to know her on a deeper level.

Trying to describe the amazing way we converse is almost impossible, but I will do my best. We both have the ability to talk fast and track well. One of us might go on a 5 minute or longer monologue because we get so inspired by sharing some experience or idea. The other can really “grok” what the other is saying and add something that can allow the topic to go even deeper.

For example, we might talk about child raising. Bo has an intuitive sense of how children can best be raised to nurture them, and I have experience and book learning which backs up her theories. So shares what she knows intuitively, and then I share my experiences and book learning.

We are so enthusiastic about talking about ideas. Bo has endlessly validated my beliefs and values, and I have done the same for her. She really stretches me, too. Her deep respect for animals and nature helps me realize how human-centered my outlook has been. She has helped me to be more sensitive to the needs of animals and given me a desire to go deeper in my relationships with her.

Her awe of nature, helps me realize that I want to learn more about how to connect with plants and trees like they do at Findhorn.

Bo has helped me value myself more. Just this morning I was joking about how it seems like the song, “how do you solve a problem like Maria” reminds me of how people often see me–as a problem to be solved.  She wrote, “How do you enjoy a vibrant person like Trish”

Sometimes I have had a hard time believing that all the wondrous things she says about me are true. Bo is so good at seeing the positive in people, including me, and appreciating the subtle things. I learned how to be more appreciative and celebratory through her example.

I hadn’t realized that I was holding myself back from loving myself and loving others until I experienced Bo’s unconditional love. It was as if I had been hurt so many times that my heart had a protective icy layer over it that I did not realize was there.

Her affection and ceaseless appreciation of my presence in her life as well as the qualities that I hold dear were like a warm water dissolving the ice surrounding my heart so I could open up to give and receive unconditional love.

We have had our intense moments, because we are both powerful, intense women! In the past when I have been with strong women, when things blew up, usually the other person would withdraw. We have been able to speak truth to each other that was very painful. Or, one of us would say something that we didn’t actually mean, but didn’t quite know how to say it well. And because we loved each other so fiercely and are committed to being life-long friends, we always worked things out and were closer than ever.

Bo is just so much fun to be with. When I was living in Berkeley and we could be together in person, we played guitar, sang, danced, walked, went to various gatherings, organized things, and went on hikes to places like Muir Woods. I loved singing with Bo–she has such a beautiful strong voice and is a natural at playing guitar.

We went to see the movie, Snowden. 

I deeply valued how we could talk about the movie and be in such agreement about how Edward Snowden is our hero and our concerns about the government.

Everything is fun when Bo is around, including shopping at El Cerrito Grocers, our favorite health food store in the bay area. I loved having her as a companion at animal-rights related events.

We are amazing communicators, and perhaps our longest phone call ever was four hours! The time just flew by. She could easily be a motivational speaker and to be able to listen to her as she processes various ideas and shares her insights is quite a privilege for me. She listens deeply to what I have to say which leaves me feeling very nurtured and validated.

Bo has such a melodious voice and has been a great radio show host.  She has a knack for writing succinct pieces that really get the point across. I know that someday she is going to be doing this kind of work and making a difference for the animals.

When I have been in crises situations, which unfortunately I have been several times in the time I knew her, she has really been there for me.  I taught her the skill of how to listen empathically, and she learned really quickly how to listen to me in a way that was healing and helpful.

I am really hopeful that I have broken this pattern of attracting and allowing people into my life who betray me or attack me in ways that leave me emotionally devastated.

She has listened to me and helped me work through the challenges in ways that helped me to realize that I was not the worthless person that others left me believing that I was.

It was Bo who helped me realize that I just had to go forward with my dream of creating community.  Without her, I would have given up on this dream. But she had a way of giving me the confidence that I could follow through on this life-long dream. Perhaps most importantly, she helped me know what the focus of the community needed to be–something related to helping move the vegan movement forward.

Bo came along at a time when I was about to focus all my energy on helping to get time banks and other alternatives to the money system off the ground. I really thought this was the solution to all of our problems. I am so grateful that she helped me see that inspiring the whole world to care about animals and the environment by becoming ethical vegans was the first thing we needed to do.

Just her presence and passion constantly reminded me that human needs are not the most important thing. I found the book, The World Peace Diet, by Will Tuttle. He confirmed what Bo taught me–that unless humans stop hurting and herding animals, we will never have world peace. She was the first person who taught me about how I was actually a speciesist–and how I needed to be anti-speciesist.

Bo has known this fact for decades. I know that her early adoption of veganism at a time decades ago when the word was rarely used, was part of what helped pave the way for the momentum that veganism has gained.  I am proud that she adds so much value to the conversation because she intuitively realized the importance of this issue way before many people, including myself, did.

I feel so grateful for Bo. She is my cherished friend, and I love her dearly.




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