Sisters by Choice

We share, we give, we make memories!

We share, we give, we make memories!

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.

9 thoughts on “Sisters by Choice

  1. Oh, Kathi, you made me shiver, and goosebumps popped up all over me. This is a wonderful post, and I am so happy and joyful to be one of your “girls.” We are special, aren’t we. Love to you and the other two, as well!

  2. Hi Kath, what an interesting post. I love the fact you called your friends ‘your accountability partners,’ I know the real value in having someone hold you accountable and be with you in trust.
    It’s interesting that I have read this at a time in my life, when I am feeling a communicative disconnection from two of my oldest (one I’ve know for 31 years, the other for around 15) I feel like their doors are firmly closed and I have bloody Cliff Richard running around my head singing ‘it’s so funny, how we don’t talk anymore,’ 🙂 One of them said it’s because we have work and our family to keep us busy but I don’t believe that – it’s about communication, not being together all the time.
    Sometimes I think it’s easier to keep in contact when you live far from each other!
    Good to hear you… 🙂
    I have a desire to reconnect with the outside world and get my life moving on, now my children are grown and don’t need me in the way they used to. It’s interesting how I have always known when to step out of their lives and at what stages. I suppose that is all part of being a Mother!

    • Hi Jan, You know, in many ways I feel closer to these ladies than I do to my older and best friends. It is an entirely different relationship when you find people who are truly like you. I always wanted that for my children. It took me a long time realize I should want it for myself too.
      The Heart Writer Sisters fill me up! I have three sisters of my own and this relationship in no way discounts our bond. The Heart Writer relationship is personal and just for me.
      Good on you to know when to step out of your children’s lives. I don’t think all mothers know how to take that healthy and important step during this transition.
      It sounds like you are open to some new connections. Just keep your eyes and ears open 🙂

      • Hi Kath,
        I just love talking to you. There is something about your attitude as you write, which comes across as honest and caring. And, as a person living in a totally different country to you, I truly appreciate that 🙂 There are times I wish I didn’t ‘feel’ or even maybe ‘experience’ the changes in my relationships quite so keenly, I think sometimes it would make life a little easier – as would a decrease in awareness!!
        Maybe its something to do with age or the changes that bringing a family up and letting them go brings – but I yearn once again to feel close to others. Haven’t felt this way for a while – my family has filled those needs but as we all change and grow so do my needs as a person. I long now to talk once again professionally with those understanding my point of view.
        I’ve been stepping in and out, since they were little. Always knew when it was time – same as when my husband, daughter and I attempted a move to NZ. Our son chose to stay in the UK and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. My brother in law – a bit clueless, said to me ‘you’re doing what you want.This should be the happiest day of your life – it was the hardest and after five years of planning. I knew before I was 20 minutes away that my son was not yet ready to be left – no matter his age or what anyone thought and believe me I could see the looks on their faces about my choices on our return. But I know my son and that was all it took for me to know it was wrong.
        Regarding the connections if my eyes and ears were open any wider, flies would taking roost inside 🙂
        Take care Kath

  3. I was brought to tears by your post and when the tears had dried, I realized I’d welled up with pride that I am one of those women about whom you so beautifully wrote. The way you have described our relationship is beautiful and the photo captures everything we mean to one another. I know what you did to deserve this — you, like the other three of us, opened your heart and took the leap of faith. My life will never be the same.

  4. Pingback: How Will You Find Your People? | My Life After Kids

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