I want to briefly talk about the tether that I used as a metaphor earlier. I got the idea of the tether from this video.
There is a person always following the Aéroplume on the ground with a tether, and usually there is slack in the tether and the other person is comletely free and the tether is only used if it's too late to avoid a collision with the roof or the wall – not for the pilot's safety but for the safety of the blimp.
If you damage the Aéroplume, it will lose Helium and make it pretty hard for you to fly, but you will come down slowly and safely.
Similarly, if your body or mind looses energy you will have a hard time flying, but you will come down slowly.
I liked this analogy because I would love my friendships to be like this. A friend might not have to notice when I'm about to hit a wall but once I come down I imagine they would at least help me to repair the blimp.
But it would certainly be easier to just keep it intact from the beginning. One question I'm wondering about is if the tether, in its metaphorical sense, work both ways at the same time or if it works similar to its literal counterpart: one person can fly while the other has to stay on the ground. I don't think it always needs to be like this.
But I feel like in friendships we often switch these roles intuitively and without much communication. When for example I see a friend flying into needless suffering, draining their energy, I automatically remain firmly connected with the ground for a while to act as an anchor for them. Conversely, if friends around us are firmly connected with the ground of reality, then we can allow ourselves to fly.
So, maybe it is a bit like this but we rarely explicitly communicate when we switch roles. When climbing, the tether usually becomes very directional. One person can go climb while the other one uses a rope to secure the climber in case of a fall. This requires constant attention and adjustment of the tension of the rope. Usually you leave just enough slack to lave full freedom of movement. A long fall into the rope is called a whipper.
This is not what I was thinking of when I asked you to let me know if you want to let go of my tether. I'm not expecting you to constantly watch me and catch me if I fall and I won't do this for you unless you ask me to. If you need focussed attention from me to secure you while you're climbing, you need to let me know, and I can give you that for a period of time, but not indefinitely.
I picture the tether that I was referring to yesterday rather like a long and thin data cable. At its core, it is the love we hold for each other, the intention for the other to live a good life.
I feel like the simplest yet most valuable promise I can possibly make to you is that when we meet again, no matter if it is in ten years or much sooner or much later, I will give you my full attention for at least a while, listen to your life story, and love you as you are.
This, to me, is the core of unconditional love. It doesn't mean giving unlimited attention or being of service without limits, it means holding up a capacity to be fully involved but not entangled.
It means that if you meet me in ten years and tell me that you have committed a cold-blooded murder, I will be shocked and I may not be able to share much with you, but I will share my compassion and I will give you all my attention for a while.
Ideally however, I can help you not to get to the point where you murder someone.