Monday, July 23, 2012

Heart and Soul...

I wanted to get back to posting some of the concepts that I've been contemplating, now that I have so much more time to sleep – no – think. One of those topics is something near and dear to my heart, the idea of the anam cara.

Lots of catalogs are now selling jewelry proclaiming “mo anam cara”. The commercial interpretation is “ my soul mate”. This is poor Irish, at best. Anam cara actually means “soul friend”. This is a person who is in a relationship with you, but not one that is romantic or sexual. Naturally, that can become a part of it, if both people desire, but is not implied by the term.

I was always told that the concept developed in the Irish monastic period, where one individual in the community might develop this deep friendship with another. They would serve as spiritual guides for each other, helping each other to achieve their highest good. Now I come to find that it might be older than that, stemming back to Pagan Times. (Sounds like a new theme restaurant chain.)

Ancient or New Age, the idea is that the soul generates the aura which surrounds your body. When your energy bonds with that of another person, you have found your anam cara. Your souls flow together: you accept each other as you really are. The Ancients are said to have believed that finding your anam cara (or anam caras – you can have more than one) is the ultimate blessing. You have someone who sees the beauty of your spirit, keeps your higher good in mind, and often puts your needs above their own.

The writer John O'Donahue says “You are joined in an ancient and eternal union... When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at the most sacred place: home.”

I am one of the fortunate ones. I have found my anam cara. Claude (pronounce the “au” like a long “o”. What can I say? She's French) and I have been friends for over 25 years, and everything described above resides in our friendship. I can't conceive of my world without her. It is truly a spiritual bond, which sometimes reaches deeper than family ties. We each have the responsibility of being honest with ourselves and each other... and there is no petty fear that speaking the truth will be met with anger or resentment. That's a sign of absolute trust. The only path to this point is by looking into your own soul and finding your own worth.

Her support has been invaluable during the last six months. I can call her when I'm sad, depressed, bored, and she will point out the error in my thinking and the things I still have to look forward to and celebrate. I do the same for her. Now, she has even moved (with her husband) a few blocks away.

It was all meant to be.

This isn't a relationship that eclipses all others. You can have spouses, partners, children, and a boatload of friends. Having an anam cara gives you insight and stability, and actually improves what you bring to other relationships.

I have recently found out that the Catholic Church has adopted the term “anamchairde” for a bond of spiritual guidance, growth and friendship. Well, why not. They took robes, incense, bell ringing, “easter” eggs, “Christmas” trees, Candlemas, and a butt load of other stuff...why not soul friends? (Hey, you Romans, give back our Brigit!)

If you've been blessed with an anam cara, tell me abut him or her. Drop me a line...I'd love to hear about your relationship.

On the home front, my leg seems to be doing well. There is still a portion of the ankle that has not fused, and may never do so, even using the bone stimulator. That is OK, provided we can keep the foot under the leg. To that end, someone is coming out tomorrow to measure me for a shoe and brace. I'm nervous and excited. This device will allow me to be weight bearing... and I still need to loose lots more weight. That's where that anam cara thing comes into play. Claude and Jack usually pick up things at the grocery store for me on Sundays. I'd say, “I'd like a chicken pot pie and...”

Are you crazy? That's no good for you! I'll find something better.”

OK... and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches..”

No. Too many calories...”

Chocolate Underground yogurt..”

Not good for you..”

Etc. Etc. Grrrrrr! But guess what? She's absolutely right, and she usually finds something else similar but healthier. I'm in stern but loving hands. With a friend like this, I will succeed.

The Rufus is home for three weeks (two have already flown by). He'll probably have to go back with his groomer for a few more weeks, until I'm on my feet, but once I'm walking, I've decided he can come home for good. When he arrived, his tail was purple. Don 't ask me why.

That's it for now. My best to all of you until next time!


  1. Oh, thank you, illumi-Nattie! You know, through all our ups and downs, I still love you, too!