Jess and I at Mom2.0 Summit
Jeff insisted that I run away from home this week!
I attended a women's blogging conference. It's called the
, a yearly gathering of women who are social media goddesses. I learned about blogging, technology, content creations and relationship building. All of the materials and contacts were amazing.
But, the real reason I attended was to spend three nights away from home with my East Coast bestie, Jessica. I'm abundantly blessed with some amazing female friends. And to be honest, there are only a few women that Jeff would insist that I run away from home to be with.
My Jessica is at the top of the list.
I had a handful of friends that I could barely say the words, "we're moving cross-country" to... Jessica was one of the easiest and hardest. Easy because I knew she would cheer for my good health and as she always has, wants only the best for me. Hardest, because leaving her left a huge hole in my daily life. She is special, she is my Anam Cara (more on that in a second.)
Jessica and I have know each other since our boys were in pre-school. They are now finishing 6 grad. Our friendship is much longer than the years acknowledge. I can share too many stories of the dinners she made while I was trapped in bed, the times she has kept my children for play-dates, the movies, zoo trips, or ceramic classes. I can tell you of the millions of phone calls about when my son would bite hers, or when her's did something to mine... The time I realized she was pregnant with her now 5 year old princess before she told anyone... We have stories, we have shared prayers, we have shared a lifetime of joys and tears.
We share something even deeper, we share our souls...
Now for the record, if you are just tuning in--Jessica and I are straight, happily married to smoking hot tall introverts. We love our life and our marriages. Many have used the term "soul mate" to describe a great love or a person who loves you completely. It's the talk of numerous love stories, chick flicks and novels. Some even use the Gallic word "Anam Cara" for soul mate. If you
it, you will find tattoos, wedding vows, ring sets all using the word.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret... That use of the term is incorrect.
Can two married people be in an "Anam Cara" relationship? Sure; but the Gallic word was originally attributed to a relationship between a student and teacher in monastic life. I have been blessed with just that relationship with several of my spiritual teachers. The term Anam Cara, however can mean even more. In the Celtic understanding of the words "Anam Cara", they literally mean "soul friend".
In the 90's, John O'Donohue, a one time Catholic priest, wrote a book on Celtic Mysticism and Spirituality called,
John O'Donohue explains friendship so beautifully:
"In everyone's life there is a great need for an Anam Cara, a soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are... when you are understood, you are home. Understanding nourishes belonging... Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person's individuality and soul... Consequently, love is anything but sentimental. In fact, it is the most real and creative form of human presence."
The author explains: "
The Anam Cara is God's gift. Friendship is the nature of God."
I love this definition of friendship. Every so often in this life, we are blessed to meet people that our souls recognize. It's as if they have know each other for eternity. These individuals speak to our souls before we can audibly hear them. It's as if our soul has been searching for another's light. I believe strongly this is what O'Donohue means. The individuals who know your soul as well as you; and you theirs. That's Anam Cara. That is my Jessica. She has known my soul longer than she has known me.
Our friendship is a special gift from the Divine.
When Jessica contacted me last Fall about this trip, my soul instantly said "yes!", but my brain started to make excuses. It's not the best time, it's a little expensive, my blog isn't popular enough, what if I get sick...
Then shortly after Jessica and I discussed the trip, Jeff and I had a quiet moment and he wisely said, "You need to go... You really just need to do this."
He is not only smoking hot, he is filled with wisdom. Jessica speaks to me in a voice that enables me to stop and listen. To be open to what the Divine has been trying to tell me. I hear the voice of the Divine in the voices of those who love me most. The gentle reminders, the encouragement, the happiness, the nudges that I should focus my attentions in certain areas. Often that is how I open my eyes and heart to see the path intended just for me.
While we were together, Jessica and I attended working sessions, listened to great speakers, and got to eat some amazing food. The best part of the the three nights, sharing our hotel room and just being in the same room together. It was as if my soul got a re-boot especially designed by Jess and the Divine. She shared her wisdom, her love of me at my core, her happiness for me in our transition... We laughed and laughed... She cared for me when I was nauseous and tired. We watched a movie our husbands would never watch, we ate cheese and chocolate... All the while enjoying room-service with burgers, fries and cokes! We spoke of our spirits and shared where we felt pulled and pushed... We helped each other find the breadcrumbs on our path.
We didn't cry when we parted, we just hugged and knew that it won't be long till we are curled up on a sofa or a bed in some part of the world re-connecting...
The best part of the friendship is the confidence that our old souls never stray too far from one another...
Happy Birthday to my Anam Cara, Jessica... The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you, always and forever.
I'm grateful for you in this world and the next.
If you don't know Jess's great work, please visit her at
. She is amazing!
Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on
or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence... and I'm always glad to meet another traveler.
Photo Credit: Jess