Soul Sisters: Do You Have One
Accompanying us on our spiritual journey, soul friends are there to help us stay focused on what really matters.
Delving into Celtic wisdom, Irish Catholic scholar John O'Donohue has called this kind of profound kinshipanam cara
, or soul friend. Part of the role of one's anam cara, he says, "is to see for you in places where you're blind. There is a secret destiny in every friendship that awakens the hidden possibilities asleep in people's hearts. Thus part of the magic of anam cara is that the human psyche is given to each individual, but it remains relatively unborn--friendships help you to birth yourself."
Finding a Soul Sister
How can women find a soul sister? To begin with, I think any search must begin with an intention. Just like dream incubation begins with a process of soul searching, so, too, does the quest for a true friend begin with an honest survey of one's own life. While friendship is a process that facilitates awareness, we must have a certain measure of self-knowledge ourselves before we can engage at a certain depth with another person. Thus, a person seeking a friend might start out by first drawing a character map of themselves. They might sketch out the basic framework of their life, noting such basic conditions as whether or not they are married and meeting the demands of children and a husband, or whether they are a single parent, or have an all-consuming career. Next a woman should identify where she falls on the age continuum: is she young and just setting out on life's adventure, is she midstream and somewhat settled down, or is she entering the elder years of her life?
Asking these questions helps us to know from the outset what kind of friendship we are interested in building. As trust and truth are the foundations for any lasting friendship, a woman must be able to be honest about the kind of commitment she is capable of.
Once you have mapped out a sketch of what kind of friend you are capable of being to others, then formulate an image of the kind of friend that you would like to attract into your life. Paint a picture of her attributes: Is she politically involved, spiritually developed, strong-minded, funny, loving, or gentle? Is she an outdoors person, an artist, or a get-together-over-dinner type of girlfriend? Is she more thoughtful and serious, or is she extroverted and fun-loving? Next, determine if there is some specific area that you would like to focus on with a friend. It's often said that male friendships are centered on activities, while women mostly like to relate and talk, but I have found that women share activities and interests just as much as men do. Not the kinds of things that you want to be able to talk about with a friend: perhaps you are a writer, and would like the company of other writers; perhaps you are politically active and want to be able to talk politics with a close friend; perhaps you need to share the journey of motherhood with another mother.