I belong to a special little group called The Heart Writers, my honorary sisters.
We are connected through journal writing and the belief that writing has power – the transformative power of clarity, direction and connection to self. It’s that same power that brought us together in June of 2011.
In our individual homes we are mothers, wives, partners, sisters and friends. In community, we are four very different women who write and share. We’ve created an environment where it is safe to be vulnerable, open and honest. Now we know each other like no other. Where one of us leaves off, another takes up. We all benefit.
We met at a journal writing retreat in June 2011. There were four of us, out of a group of ten, who stayed up late one night to do extra writing together. It is the other three who accepted my invitation to create our own retreat near my home in Calgary six months later.
After only one previous week together, three ladies from all over the U.S.; Missouri, Wisconsin and Maryland, arrived at the Calgary International Airport.
Our level of trust had never been questioned until they came up against the interrogation tactics of Canadian customs officers. “Where are you headed?” “Um, a cabin on Lost Lake (Ghost Lake) I think?” “How long have you known this person you are visiting?” “Ah, I think it’s been about 6 months or so?” “Do you have a backup plan in case this person doesn’t pick you up?” “Boy, no. Not really. She’ll be here.” It had not occurred to any of us to worry about back up plans. We already trusted each other wholeheartedly.
As the Heart Writer Sisters had counted on my being there, I had counted on them to show up. We had faith in each other. They arrived ready to write. And the rest, as they say, is history.
And history is what we are creating. We have just completed our 3rd annual retreat in Orlando, Florida. Last year we met in Phoenix, Arizona. Each year, I am saddened that we go back to our individual homes and wait to see each other on-line monthly, then wait even longer for the next January when we gather again in person. But, I go home refreshed and aware that, even though there is distance between us, I carry their love and support back with me.
The January timing of our annual retreat couldn’t be better for a group of journal writers. We review and say our good-byes to the previous year then look to the year ahead. The outcome of our writing and time together is we each return to our homes with individual “take-aways.”
These ladies have helped me formulate a New Year plan that far exceeds anything I’d come up with sitting alone in my den. This year, I arrived back in Calgary with a plan to focus on family, legacy and the importance of the written word and story. The best part is that when I dive into my year, I know I’m not working my plan alone.
Beyond writing, we help each other live better lives. I speak for each of us when I say; we are richer for knowing each other. I am proud of who we are as individuals and as a group. We started out as a writing circle but have become accountability partners, witnesses to the whole women we are and we love each other – strengths and weaknesses. We share a dream to keep our connection for many years to come.
I have found three other women who “get” journal writing. I’ve fulfilled a need to find my people and it’s no coincidence that they came into my life when I needed them most, as I transition to an empty nest.
I don’t know what I did to deserve this connection but I’m not going to question it. I’ll take it. I’ll run with it. And I look forward to January 2015, which seems a very long way away.
Do you share a deep connection with others outside your family? Have you found your people? Please share in the comments below.