I have often been weary of personal contact especially with those that I do not know very well. There is a new student staying our pagoda and at first glance and talking to him I was quite intimidated. He is very wise, he has a deep voice and it seems that he does not need any help from anyone. He attended a retreat that was held at our center the following weekend after he arrived and soften up. I guess I also soften up and realized I, like him, try to be “strong”. In our retreat I realized how lonely I had become because of this pattern of mine. The next day he approached be and asked if I wanted a CD and I scowled and said I don’t listen to music. I then realized how I had missed the opportunity to both get what I want and give him what he is looking for, a friend. Realizing this I hugged, I held him and I broke through my usual tough persona. I was, I guess you could say weak but I won’t say it. It was nice and the warm smile on his face made it worth my while.