I had a brief but lovely conversation with a woman I met just the other week.
We were talking about how vital it is, especially at this point in our lives, to have deep, nourishing, supportive bonds with other women.
I’m reminded of this a lot as I have the incredible fortune to work with women in spaces that nurture and grow deep connection.
It is also something I’m reminded of especially when I get present to its absence should, for example, a few weeks go by without an Art of Feminine Presence circle. Without a regularly scheduled meet with other women it’s easy for me to fall into an all independent, do evertying myself mode.
And then, the opposite begins to show up: missing nourishing sisterly love and support and witnessing.
Throughout my life, I have heard different people remark that it is difficult to make new friends as adults. And this would always make me very sad. I did have periods in my adult life when I felt isolated and alone, unclear of the next steps. Times when I didn’t have to reach out to who would simply listen, without the need to give advice or tell me what to do.
That is an oftentimes rare, and treasured, gift.
As we grow, the context around which friendships were formed shift somewhat. When I was a child, my friends were neighbours and classmates. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in places where I didn’t know my neighbours or worked with people that I didn’t have too much in common with and didn’t necessarily want to hang out with after work.
It takes something to find and create nourishing and sustaining friendships as adults and it also doesn’t need to be all that complicated. I am astounded and so grateful at the friendships I’ve formed with the most wonderful people in the past few years.
I know a lot of us are tired and kind of done with chit-chatty, always-on-the-surface, small talk kind of conversation, as a rule. And we certainly don’t need people who we can’t trust or who don’t share our values.
But we do need people. We need community. For women, this is especially true as research shows when in stress, the thing that makes the most difference is ‘tend and befriend’: reaching out to the loving arms of your sisters and having them hold some of the load with you. Sometimes we need to be heard and witnessed and held.
We need sisterhood.
Intimate partners are important but they can’t replace the sisterhood. And when we make the mistake of thinking they can, an undue strain on the relationship is often the result.
So how are you feeling in your life right now? Do you have a support network of sisters or are you carrying on alone? What can you do to find your tribe if you find yourself without one?
We’re waiting for each other.
Art: ‘Sisterhood’ by Darryl Daniels