My best friend got engaged today! In honor of her and the role she's played (and continues to play) in my life, here's a journal entry I wrote about her in 2016, describing our final hours together in Idaho, before I moved across the country 12 years ago:

For an entire week the little spider sat there where the floor met the wall across from the toilet. I watched him every time I peed, wondering each time if it would finally be my chance to see him move. At first I thought he was dead, but when I came close to him with the tip of a towel, he flinched just like a living, breathing(?), healthy spider should.

His presence was both comforting and exciting to me. Comforting because I've been getting serious about developing a committed meditation practice lately and I saw him as a great example. Do spiders have hearts? Assuming so, I imagined this monk of a spider's heart rate must have been slowed to one beat per minute -- maybe even hour. I was inspired by his peaceful resolve and comforted by his constant presence, never a millimeter off from where I first saw him.

But why was I excited as well as comforted by the immobile, tiny bathroom spider? Because the last time I noticed the presence of a meditative spider watching me, I knew it was actually God. A sweet, all-knowing, ever present god.

It was dawn. We sat atop our mountain, which we named Passion Peak, simultaneously frazzled from staying up all night and vibrating gloriously from the freshness of our self actualization. We looked over the fields gently sloping to each side of the narrow, carless Arbon Valley country road below and we admired the oms of the holy cows all around us. "This moment is ours," we knew. "And it's equally theirs."

You can't design experiences like the one we had that night, meditating in her living room, in which we both spontaneously woke up to the experience of nonduality, and you can't put an ad out for a soul mate. But at the same time, everything you do contributes to the design which directly determines the experiences you'll have later, in this lifetime or another. You can't force bliss and wonder, but you can increase your chances for bliss and wonder by being bliss and wonder yourself. That's what she showed me, my first goddess of a spiritual guide. 

We reminded me of two old ladies on the verge of Buddhahood that morning at Passion Peak, which is funny because we called ourselves Buddhists without knowing anything about Buddhism. But we didn't need dogma. We had Jose confirm that for us. Jose is the spider who watched over our shaktipat the night before. We named God Jose.

We were at ease, under a sky my poetically-stunted 16 year-old mind described, in earnest, as "Dr. Suess's sky." We knew who we were and we were okay with it. We were divine awareness. Love without attachment. And we embodied the truth that everything is, and always has been, and always will be, just as it it should be.