How have you created and/or sustained connections in your life this year?
2. Hero: Who was your hero this year? Tell us why. What makes a hero in your eyes?
1. This is a blessing of retirement, I think -- to be able to spend time when and how and with whom you want. And yet there are still friends I seldom see or talk to, not because I don't want the connection, but because we get caught up in routines and travel and simply don't follow through.
Friendship requires intention to sustain no matter what age we are, or to what degree our 'busy-ness' takes over our lives. When I was younger, I still found time to be with friends, to write letters or call (since there was no email nor cell phones back in the olden days). Not sure how I did it, but I made the time because it was important to do so.
Facebook has been a wonderful way for me to maintain some connection with friends I don't see or talk with ear-to-ear very often, to strengthen some familial ties that have never been strong because of great distance between our homes, and even to nurture friendships that are much more local. This year I got to see a cousin I hadn't seen in, oh, more than 40 years, in great part because of the connection we'd established through Facebook! I try not to be a nuisance by reposting too much stuff, but making my comments personal. By reading posts and seeing pictures, I can get a much better idea of what is going on in the lives of some friends, what they like and don't like, and learn a lot about them. That is fun and interesting, and I hope they feel the same way about what I post!
The new reiki study and practice group that I began attending early this year has been the best new connection, however, meeting monthly but often connecting more than that through a FB group and/or meeting for a reiki session. Most of the members are new friends for me, and I am loving getting to know them better both through our meetings and classes, but also through our FB group and their pages.
Social media can be a total pain and too much of an obsession, but it also can really help build connections when used responsibly and honestly.
I still like sending emails (seldom snail mail any more), though, and for the past several years have sent a brief email five days a week to a few family members and friends (added at their request) just to stay in touch and let them know I'm thinking of them every day. I always include a quote that either I need to hear or think they do. I don't expect a reply from any of them, but occasionally get a response that lets me know my correspondence is appreciated. It's sort of like a little prayer for each of them as I send it -- and it blesses me too.
And I've gotten a few snail mail cards from friends and/or family too, non-birthday ones, that have made me feel loved and blessed. It may be old-fashioned, but there can be a real pleasure in re-reading a note or a card that sits on your table or desk. I'd like to be more intentional about sending those this next year.
2. While I hadn't thought of her as a 'hero,' I have a friend and teacher and neighbor who has been such a wonderful friend and mentor and teacher to me this year especially. Jessie Woods is a local business owner (The Gold Exchange) who is usually at the forefront of any downtown business promotion, but also is an incredibly creative and generous person who gives her time, expertise, and money to charitable causes, and sponsors several of them.
She is also a reiki master and my teacher, and has donated space for our reiki group to meet and practice. And she has been right there for me every time I have asked for help with healing mind or spirit, even when I know she has been busy with meetings and her own business.
She puts her beliefs and words into generous and thoughtful actions in a way I've seldom seen. And her example makes me want to donate my money and energy to others, to be kind and available when I'm asked for help, and to live my own beliefs in a positive and helpful way.
I am so grateful for her example and presence in my life and in our town, and for her leadership and generosity in establishing our reiki study group. We are all blessed who participate in it, and who know her. Jessie makes a difference in the lives of many people in our area, and she inspires me to be kinder, more generous, and to keep learning and growing. Thank you, my friend.