Family of Choice

silhouette of friends jumping on beach in sunset“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”― Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

I have long known the truism penned by one of my forever favorite wordsmiths who I had the joy of interviewing many years ago. One of the things I loved about the experience is that Richard speaks the way he writes…pure delight!

Grateful to have been born into ‘true family,’ showered with bunches of love, I was equipped to take it out into the world and magnetically attract those I call ‘family of choice’. My tribe. They are from all over the world, with various world views. A full range of ages and interests, abilities and ideas, physical and emotional strengths and challenges, as well as varying spiritual beliefs characterize my friends. Many fall into the category of ‘anam cara’, which is Gaelic for ‘soul friend’. With some there was an instantaneous recognition, of “Oh, there you are again, how long has it been?” I grok that I have known many for eons. What has me shaking my head in bewildered awe is that most were not even on my radar screen, busily living their own lives wherever they were, as was I, until one day…bam….they just show up. Some I get to hang out with live and in person and others I interact with here in cyberspace. No less real. No less heartfelt connection. I have especially enjoyed when Facebook friends became face to face heart and soul friends.

Last night, I had a blast communing with a group of kindred spirits as a playfully bantering thread emerged from a quote about the hazards of people pleasing and the gifts that come from being true to oneself. Tom, who I will be meeting in August in Oregon who has already introduced me to his own far flung tribe, got the party started. Alex, Charles, Phyllis and I kept the confetti flying. Teasing, silly, no such thing as TMI between friends, meandering around movie lines and Yiddish words filled the screen. Wondered who would leap in next with playfully provocative ideas. It really did feel like we were all sitting in the same room, rather than in Pennsylvania (me), Oregon (Tom), Colorado (Charles), UK (Alex) and Florida (Phyllis). I could hear the laughter, see the smiles, feel the hugs.

At times it feels like we live in such tightly constrained little containers, piloting our own mini capsules. We gaze out of the portholes on occasion and see other vessels bobbing about in the waters. Waving, signaling…”Yo!  Over here!” and we paddle over, curious to know who the other voyagers are. Exploratory, peeking inside, letting ourselves be seen and known. Some of my dearest connections spanning decades have begun that way. My friends are my treasures and I make certain to nourish the relationships. Some folks I see often, others I may never meet hug to hug. No less cherished.

I am one blessed Bliss Mistress.

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