I Have No Friends.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Oct 23, 2012
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The below poem is offered in honor of this poem by an Anonymous Samurai:

…I have no friends:

I make my mind my friend.

I have no enemy:

I make carelessness my enemy.

I have no armour:

I make benevolence and righteousness my armour.

I have no castle:

I make immovable mind my castle.

I have no sword:

I make absence of self my sword...click here for the full poem.


A Poem of Discouragement, Upon Seeing Friends Fail to Support my Work & Mission.

“Our only weapon is gentleness.” ~ Trungpa

I feel discouraged—yes, I do.
No, I feel softened.

I persevere, though the world does not echo my calls. I have no confirmation.

I have a mentor. He says: be clear about what you offer, and cut those off who do not repay, out of joy, that generosity with appreciation.

I have a mother: she says: I love you, unconditionally. She says these words without speaking, and has done so since I was a bowl-cut-headed red-blond happy, ferocious boy.

I have many dear, true, best friends—but they are all gone. One is here—but he, like me, is too busy doing good things while so many others work in cubicles, in ruts, in hungry ghost money-hungry whirlpools created by their own discursive, inner PR and overblown, underrealized positivity.

I have a girl—and I do not have her, nor do I want to have her. My idea of a relationship is a partnership, two honest, frank, nakedly affectionate allies.

I have a dog, and he is snoring by my side, his belly full and his hair still slightly stinky from last Friday night, when I got back from an art party and date in Denver, sick, tired, coughing…only to find him skunked, rolling in the earth desperately…I took off my clothes, and, in my underwear, cold, washed him for an hour in my backyard and the park’s little creek behind my house.

I have a house—or rather, the bank has it—and I’m taking care of it, finally, painting and fixing up and it feels like a second heart, this one external, beating brightly and nakedly.

I have a business—and

I have a mission—and they are the same thing.

I have a future—to be rich, but not greedy, a father with dumb jokes and bright children, a husband with simple pleasures and a public servant, of some sort, and

I have myself. Alone, covered in blankets, working all night, as I have done for years.

And, I have my village—my Buddhist community, my Boulder community, my yoga community, my friends, my Grandma, aunty and mommy—I owe so much, and yet have earned what little I have accomplished through work, and through not giving up, even when those I respect do not return the friendship.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


17 Responses to “I Have No Friends.”

  1. ManifestYogaJen says:


  2. Mary says:

    I hear you, just keep on keeping on!

  3. Edie says:

    Keep on keeping on Waylon…you provide an incredible forum and give so many opportunity…

  4. Greg Berry says:

    Waylon, thanks for sharing this beautiful reflection. I have been experiencing this complex set of feelings for upwards of a decade, if not my entire professional life (which, like you, is more of a calling and a mission than a job or a paycheck). In fact — with some notable exceptions — I have found that it's often my closest friends who do not support my endeavors. And I understand the deep psychic pain that comes with that realization.

    This has become such a notable phenomenon that I no longer actively invite my closest friends into my work, rather they have to invite themselves in. I have learned to value these friendships on their own terms, exclusively. If I need their validation, I look deeper into myself and ask why. I enjoy, respect, love the friends for their friendship, for the time we spend together, for the laughs, for the adventures, for the opportunity to listen, and to be heard.

    And for each close friend who has failed, over the years, to step up when I though I needed them, many other have filled their place. People from our community who actively, passionately believe in the same values, who build equally inspiring ventures in the world, and who show up — week in and week out — when we host a speaker, convene a discussion, or build a communal space.

    And it's OK — I think — to have meaningful symbiotic relationships with them, without inviting them over to my house for dinner with the family, without trusting them to meet before dawn at the trailhead for a long skin to a ski a remote peak, without inviting them to plan a weeklong road trip with no real destination.

    Like you, I have also been fortunate to have some folks crossover — those I've met through my work sangha have become friends, and we observe the sabbath together, ride bikes and raise our kids. And some of my close friends do barge into my work, buying memberships at the HUB and showing up at events they don't really understand.

    Mostly, I meet them where they are. When the energies merge, and we get to improvise across boundaries, that's great. But when they don't, I've learned to let it go. After many sad, disappointed, and uncomfortable moments……..

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Amen, and thank you—if nothing else comes out of this, your advice mirrors my experience, and shows me where and where not to go.

    For me, it's a little more complicated—the friends I'm referring to specifically are also writers, we all can be writers, and they've shopped their wares elsewhere despite our connection, they've bought ads elsewhere despite all the help I've freely offered and been asked for. I'm 10 years in, and while on some level folks say that's a sign of success, it also feels to me, in sad moments, like I'm come a long way without going very far.

    I'm genuinely in this for community, for a movement. elephant is an offering, and all the great and stupid stuff I work at daily is all to build this platform up to the point where we can all use it, mindful independent media, as a vehicle to uplift our society. And yet sometimes, if not often, some of my closest colleagues and friends don't see it that way. They see their writing as a PR opportunity, and put their articles on whatever platform they think will get them out there best. I'd like to think that's elephant—with a million readers a month, we've got gravitas and weight as well as focus and social media firepower. We've also got mission. I've been broke, as you know, for most of these 10 years, and I've declined to sell out when I was publishing a national magazine, and I was in foreclosure. I'm in this to be of benefit, but this isn't about me, and I need help.

  6. cesar says:

    e ma ho! thank you Waylon.. 🙂

  7. xerxes says:

    Thank you for those words. No , I really mean THANK YOUR FOR THOSE WORDS.

  8. wim says:

    how about some paypal donations to help a little?

  9. Linda V. Lewis says:

    And mama's advice: take a day off, sleep in and go to bed early, eat good food with friends on Thanksgiving, and rediscover what to be thankful for, including the challenges. I love you–ah shucks–and am proud of you. Just don't turn that cold into pneumonia!

  10. papa_tom says:

    since you're fishing, i'll give you some comment-love, too 😉

    everyone has an ego and wants to be heard; to have some confirmation that "I" am not invisible

    …but you're right, too …working for confirmation is empty work

    (but working WITH confirmation can be powerful stuff)

  11. […] is our only friend. And it’s got a message. And there’s wisdom in that message. If we push loneliness away, its ache will never leave […]

  12. Linda Zac says:

    Maybe its just me, a newbie in the elephant world…and I wanted to start off by sharing what a dear friend said to me recently – "…an elephant in the room? Makes sense because life is a circus." Perhaps all of you blogis are all on the same page, but there are some folks out there (okay, its ME) who are still moving slowly but surely into an increased awareness and consciousness. I am feeling very triggered right now, by Waylon's comment: "…while so many others work in cubicles, in ruts, in hungry ghost money-hungry whirlpools created by their own discursive, inner PR and overblown, underrealized positivity." Maybe I don't quite understand that, but I'm a single mom, federal worker – yah in a cubicle – and doing my very (imperfect) best. I'm kind of a weekend warrior-type of yogi. I am attached to the idea of a pension to look after me and my kid. I'm not money-hungry – maybe just security hungry…I'm scared to ask this, but I want to say to Waylon and this site: I love your posts, and also can you please try to find a way to fit those of us who aren't fully conscious yet, but are trying hard to awaken (who maybe know that we need to wake up?), with those on this site who seem to have it all together. Maybe I just don't fit here, but I sure want to. Thank you everyone. Namaste.

  13. Lorraine Ferrier says:

    I hear you *totally*. Thank you so much for all you do and all you are. Serving is all there is, everything else is duality nonsense.

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