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Moving into the unknown is often where we find the healing. Dean Ornish, M.D.

Several months ago, I was on a layover in a city where one of my childhood friends lives. I stayed the night in a hotel and flew out the next day. I didn’t tell her that I was going to be in town and then she found out. Busted.

Why didn’t I call and ask to stay with her? Or at least call and see if she wanted to get together while I was in town? After all, not too many months before she had been passing through MA and stayed with my family.

Again – why didn’t I call?

Because I was afraid.

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be received.

Other friends may have let this go. But this particular friend has a strong enough sense of self, and, I daresay, cares enough about me that she told me that I had hurt her feelings.

One of the outcomes of these terribly uncomfortable, vulnerable moments is that in the revealing of true, often painful, feelings the bond of friendship can deepen. And that is what happened in this instance. Kathleen and I have grown closer. Truth be told, most days though I wish I had just called her in the first place. Discomfort and vulnerability may welcome me readily into their residence; I prefer not visiting.

Another outcome of this experience is that I may have seen for the first time that in becoming paralyzed by fear, I couldn’t love; the price of protecting myself had been to hurt another.

The Waste
by
Carol Lynn Pearson

They’re dumping wheat
Into the sea,
And oranges too
I hear.

Just like my heart
That annually
Wastes fields of love
For fear.

My heart annually wastes fields of love for fear.

For fear.

More recently, on a different layover in a different city, I debated whether I should call another friend. The circumstances were slightly different, and a bit more frightening than before. I had tried to be in contact with this friend on a number of occasions and she hadn’t responded. Had I offended her? I couldn’t think of why. So, I had a decision to make. Was this friendship of sufficient worth to me to persist? Or wasn’t it? Sometimes it won’t be. In this case it was.

So I called.

It was a few weeks ago – and she hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

Will we eventually reconnect? I hope so.

Regardless of what happens, this time I didn’t waste my fields of love for fear. And, in my idiosyncratic, rather awkward way, I did my best to love.

As you think about systergy (the good that can happen as women, who by daring and dreaming together, will make synergistic contributions to their own lives and the world), consider the importance of connecting with other women.

Is there someone you’ve been wanting to connect or reconnect with, but you were afraid?

Is there something that — only you can do — to connect?

Is it a visit? A phone call? An e-mail? A personalized note in a Christmas card?

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