Before I became friends with Georgia Makitalo, I had never heard of the Pre-Raphaelites or knew their intriguing story, although I was familiar with the name William Morris who founded this creative group.
Frank Lloyd Wright was just the name of a famous architect to me until Jill McDermott and I became friends.
Both Georgia and Jill were wildly passionate about their creative heroes and it was contagious. I wanted to know what they knew. Fortunately, they loved to share.
Georgia and I made several excursions hunting down William Morris and his tribe. We traveled to Toronto, Delaware and London looking at treasures these artists had left behind. Georgia also regaled me with stories of their romantic exploits and intrigues.
I was especially fascinated by her stories about the weekends Morris organized at Red House, his country home, where he invited his artist friends to come spend the time together making things.
Then there was the road trip Jill and I made from Minnesota to Washington, DC that included stops at Wright sites in the Chicago area and at the landmark Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.
We had made a shorter road trip previously to visit Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Today, Jill and her husband Mike live down the road from this beautiful place which served as an inspiration to Wright for many years.
As Jill and Georgia taught me, friends with passion can make a powerful impact—even if their passions seem to be quite different from our own.
The late philosopher Jim Rohn frequently urged his audiences to seek out and build relationships with people who could help them grow into their best selves. It’s an undertaking that lasts a lifetime, although it requires an investment of time.
It also needs to be done consciously.
One of the best descriptions of this process comes from Stewart Emery in his book Actualizations. He writes,
As I look at my own life, I notice all my friends are people who support my learning the lessons I have to learn.
In other words, their reality is more centered and more together in some aspects of life than mine is, and my reality is more evolved than some aspect of theirs.
I choose to be with people who have a reality of abundance. I won’t hang out with people who have a reality of scarcity. I won’t hang out around people who have negative energy flows.
Everything I have learned how to do in life I learned by placing myself in the company of masters. Although I read a lot and learned technical things from books, the discovery of a way of being and acting that worked for me and others came as a result of spending time with men and women who act in the world with excellence, joy and service.
Of course, what Emery’s talking about isn’t a one-way street. Bring your own passion to relationships and everybody profits. That’s my idea of a really great investment.