I have the good fortune to have a friend who writes to me, using actual paper, pen and ink. This friend is very creative. A month ago, she included this little envelope in her letter.
I haven’t opened it yet. I haven’t written anything on here for a long time. I want to know what’s inside it. I know that my friend is telling me to get back to putting thoughts into words, and I thank her for it.
I do well with simple, time-boundaried challenges. For example, I’m currently working my way though a series of mediations associated with my OBOD druidry studies. I gave myself one lunar month to do it, from one new moon to the next. I complete it today. That works for me. It’s a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
I am curious about the reasons why I stopped writing so much on here. Partly it’s because I’ve been happily partnered. I’ve had less angst to process. Things have been simpler, and more private.
So, here’s a small challenge/goal for me, from me, supported by my friend. Write three more posts over the next three days, so that I can find out what’s in that envelope.
I miss email.
I started emailing about 20 years ago when I was still in high school (secondary school in Ireland.) I joined a couple of mailing lists and it allowed me to connect with a druid community far away from me. When I travelled, I sent group emails to my friends, updating them on my life and journeys. Then social media and Facebook and messengers came along and we all stopped emailing. The immediacy of messenger services like Viber, WhatsApp, and FB Messenger is wonderful. Group chats for family and friends keep us all connected.
But I still miss personal email, the digital letter.
I have a friend who sends me a handwritten letter once a month. It’s a beautiful thing. I have replied occasionlly with my own handwriting, but my handwriting is difficult for even me to read.
More and more I want to nurture the deeper friendships in my life. For me, part of that nurturing is going to take the form of personal emails, digital letters from me to thee. The other person might not reply but some will.
It might be my introversion, but a message from you, just to me and vice versa is deeply connecting. I feel more in touch with someone who writes a letter to me once a month, and whom I never see in person, than someone I met socially.
I have heard people bemoan digital communication as the death of the art of letter writing. It doesn’t have to be. Open your heart and your browser. Write to someone, tell them what’s happening in your life.
Today is my friend’s birthday. I’ve learned a lot from them over the years and this reading of The Winter of Listening by David Whyte is for them.
Breithlá shona duit, mo chara
Day 48 of #100Daychallenge
As I was walking home today, I was chatting with a friend, on Facebook, about his journey with druidry. When I got into the house and there was an envelope waiting for me. I recognised the handwriting. It was from my friend in Scotland. She writes to me every month and I dearly love the letters. My friend on Facebook was saying to me that he wanted to have a ceremony in the sea, immersed in water, but he didn’t know if the time was right.
I opened the letter and this was the front of the card.
Our brains form patterns, look for meaning, and find it. Moments of synchronicity, or ‘synchrons’ as my flatmate calls them, become very normal once you start to live your life looking for connections. I choose to do that. I choose to imbue my world and live with meaning. To me, synchronicities seem to act almost like a nod from the Cosmos saying ‘go here’, ‘say this’, or ‘keep going’. And they always make me smile.
Day 42 of #100Daychallenge
I had an in-person chat with a friend tonight for a few hours and I dominated almost the entire conversation. I didn’t mean to. The conversation kept flowing back to my favourite topics – my experiences and observations of druidy and 5rhythms. I tried to swing the conversation back onto his experience and observations of life but I would again find a new connection to the point I just made and add that in. I don’t think he was bored. He seemed engaged. I tried to read the feedback. His eyes never glazed over. That’s always a good sign.
Part of me wondered if I was close to the edge of being the person who always dominates the conversation but it was just this one time. We’re all allowed to dominate from time to time. It’s when it becomes the norm that there’s a problem. No, it’s when you become oblivious to the other person and loose the connection, that’s when there’s a problem. The problem is not taking up air time. The problem would be not noticing or caring if the other person is enjoying themselves, not listening to what they have to contribute. I don’t think I did that tonight.
Day 24 of #100Daychallenge
Today, my friend took me to two of his Special Places. One was in the outer world, and the other in the world of imagination.
The first place we visited was an island in Strangford Lough. It’s a liminal place, connected to the mainland by a causeway that is covered during high tide. We walked and talked. We found pieces of stone that had been shaped into tools by our ancient ancestors.
My friend and I are in the same Druid order. Part of the teaching of that order involves a meditation to visit an inner sanctum in the shape of a sacred grove of trees. Each inner grove is unique to the student. Today, I asked my friend to describe his to me, so that I could see it in my own imagination. It was a very beautiful and intimate experience.
If your friend invites you to visit their Special Place with them, you are very honoured.
Day 10 of #100Daychallenge
On a night out recently, a friend said to me that he thought I made friends easily with people. I replied, that I thought that was true but not for obvious reasons. I think I just do it a bit more intentionally than some. I said I think I decide very early on after meeting someone if they interest me or not. If there’s a sense of connection, a resonance, I will pursue their friendship. I will invest in relationship with them. But if there isn’t, I won’t. I continued the conversation with my flatmate who said she’d been struck in the past about how I’d described meeting people and naming that I had no desire to know them.
I think this is fairly normal but, in my own introverted way, I think it’s that I don’t want to spend time with people I don’t actually like and enjoy. Choosing to engage socially with someone is actually quite a big deal for me. It might seem sometimes that I have a lot of friends but I’ve chosen them. I date them to see if we have potential. I know pretty early on in meeting if I enjoy someone or not. Usually the feeling is that I feel safe with them and I feel I can learn something from conversation with them.
I have a small inner sanctum of friends I would tell anything to. These are the people I feel completely safe with. I never doubt that they want to spend time with me. Outside this is a wide circle of people I like and enjoy but I am perhaps more cautious with. I don’t want some of them to get too close. Some of them I don’t fully trust that they love me. I don’t mind this about myself. It’s the way I work. It’s just noticing.
[In looking for an image for this post, I discovered there’s a whole host of sites and books on circles of friendship. I’ve downloaded a few kindle samples and instapapered some articles.]