A Safe Place

I was spending the morning with 6 women the other day.  Six very unique and intriguing women! We were missing two of our group, one who was in Minnesota helping her son move into his new apartment. We missed her joy and her animated conversation. The second one was tucked in bed at home, sick. We missed her kind heart and her deep wisdom.

8 has been our number for over 17 years and we are best when we are all present and firing all our engines.  

For the last 16 months, we had been zooming almost every 2 weeks, and now 6 of the 8 of us were actually getting together in the same space. Hallelujah!

Giddy with excitement and the opportunity to connect on an “up close & personal” level, we unashamedly stood in the middle of the street and greeted each arrival as if she were our long lost cousin from Outer Slobovia.

It was a gorgeous day in Ohio and we enjoyed the delights of a lush, magical backyard retreat. Fresh air and fresh ideas…who doesn’t love that!  Creativity abounds in this group of multi-age, multi-lingual, multi-background women and no one is ever at a loss for words. 

After long hugs and exclamations of “Look at you!” wound down, we found our places outside under the 3 cabana umbrellas.  All gates were open as we immediately ping-ponged our way through the opening topic. 

One idea followed another, sparking new tangents … nothing unusual for this group.

It happens every time we gather.  This time seemed even more meaningful as we now knew what it was like to harness all this energy through electronic highways for the last 16 months. 

I should pause here and say that we harnessed Zoom in exceedingly creative ways. We brought music, meditation, yoga, and art into our time slots, and learned to “share” screens & record special meetings. 

Humility aside, we bossed that Zoom Boom all over the place.  

But “there’s nothing like the real thing, baby”! 

And breaking bread in the same shared space is the actual Bomb! 

So we listened carefully that day to what was said and what was not said.  

We watched the eyes and faces of those around us like we were monitoring the first landing on the moon.

We were in active caring mode…something we really excel in.

As the sun meandered to high noon, we began to reflect about the nature of our early morning discussion. 

We talked about how conversations this open could easily go awry in any other scenario. 

With so many different topics, different opinions and reactions to these topics, we were grateful we could listen to each other and not immediately feel the need to talk over or dominate with our personal perspective. 

Because of our mutual respect and 17 years of caring about and for each other, we realize there is no time and no need for nonsense.

Nor did we judge verbally or non-verbally. 

At times you could actually see people working through their thoughts, reconciling how the new ideas fit or didn’t fit into their own set of values and premises, all the while respecting the person as much as the idea.

It is always a beautiful thing to watch and an even more beautiful thing to be part of. 

I commented how wonderful it was to feel “safe” to do that in this “oh-so-Unsafe” world. 

And then someone added that we have been able to do this since the very first time we joined as a circle of caring women, all those years ago. We didn’t know each other well then. But we began our first circle recognizing that those present had real gifts to share.

That premise became our automatic stance: implied faith, immediate respect, with an open eye toward grace.

How rare! And how glorious! 

Implied grace actually works!  It just doesn’t seem to be present in many relationships.

In your life do you know the feeling of being able to say what you think, and express how you feel without being criticized, judged, or ignored?

Have you experienced the rare situation of finding a level of comfortability being exactly yourself in every way…

in word choices, gestures

wide ranges of emotions, 

wide spectrums of interests, viewpoints, & perspectives, 

highs and lows? 

Do you have a safe place to be you…completely you?

There is different group of women in my life that fulfills the need for belonging. We share life’s mountain tops and valleys; we know each other’s children well. We carve out time to celebrate life’s special occasions. They are the ones I am most likely to enjoy a fire party with or play scrabble or Train Dominoes with. We are star gazers and prayer warriors. These women are all about support! We are single women and all but one have experienced the tragedy of divorce. This life experience brings with it, its own set of difficulties and pain that must be worked out and worked through so that you can move on. Who best to do this with than others who have shared this same sorrow and victory.

My buddy, the Google online dictionary, defines “safe” as “protected or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost.”

That’s exactly how we should feel among close friends and family.  But do we?

If you can find even one person who guards your heart as you bare your soul, you have hit the jackpot. 

If you can find more than one, you are living the dream. 

And if you can find an entire group where this consistently happens, every single time you gather together…well, you have reached for the stars and touched one! 

In my life I have found beautiful friends and precious family members who are this safe, interesting, creative place for me…where I can be the purely unedited and mask-less me. They are the network of individuals who add value, joy, meaning, and love to my life. They keep me sane and they keep me centered. We keep our friendships alive through times together in person, in texts or messages, phone calls, and even on FaceBook. I am grateful beyond measure.

I do not take this gift lightly.

When you are given something so rare, then you want to offer it to others…to be that Safe Place for someone else.  

It’s a Win-Win.  It will deepen your relationships, widen your ability to empathize, and increase your joy! 

It will give you one of life’s greatest Super Powers…The ability to form true connections.

As for the group of women I mentioned at the start of this piece, we had yet another gathering today. This time rain was pouring in all directions and giant umbrellas offered no help at all, but nothing, absolutely nothing dampened our spirits!

As the rain pelted the roof above us, we shook off our wet, squeaky shoes, delved into good food, water color expressions and discussions that stimulated our brains and generated more questions.

In short, we stretched our comfort zones, went out on precarious limbs, and felt the sure comfort of being safe & real… just like always. 

I wish you the same.

(Dedicated to the goddesses from the heart of Hanby, established 2003, the YaYa’s, established 2008, and to all of the incredible women and men in my life who excel at this Super Power.)

2 thoughts on “A Safe Place”

    1. I’m glad you do!!! Makes me happy!!! And YOU, my cousin, are the owner of every one of these Super Powers…you come by that naturally!!! And maybe you work at it too…who knows? But you are a “safe” place for me and probably two million others!! ❤


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