Sister, Sister

Throughout history, the theme of sisterhood has been played out in many different ways. Lucky enough to be born into a matriarchal culture, I have always known sisterhood to be something of love, blood, cells, magical moments, shared experiences and deep connections. Sisterhood is as light as pixie dust and as deep as a life force.

Cheesy smiles, Rone is around eight and I am between 11 and 12

When I was three and a half, my world was rocked by the arrival of my sister. Veronica Lisa Vallés came at her own pace, three weeks later than predicted. Rone and I could not be more different, and growing up as sisters was quite an experience! We fought like boys, cried like girls, but always had that inexplicable bond that sisters have. It may have taken us a long while to fully discover the magic of this sister bond of ours, and we are certainly making up for lost time now!

In our precious sister cocoon you will also find honorary sisters. We had the joy of growing up very close to our cousins. Rone and Crisann are very close in age, and they instantly formed a bond when they were little girls. We had a tight group of five in this cousin cocoon of sisterhood that also included Camille and Isabel. From innocent summers spent playing in the garden, to art classes in the summers, to boys and heart break, marriage, cancer, challenges with getting pregnant, living overseas, the travails of motherhood, career, singledom and all the wonderful experiences that color a woman’s life we have been there for each other and always will be. They’ve got my back, and I’ve got theirs. This confidence and certainty has been a great source of power and joy for me.

Sisters with honorary sisters, cousins Crisann and Camille

Rone and I have a wonderful relationship now, and we also have wonderful sister-friendships outside of our sister bubble. As I sit here on a beautiful fall day in New York and think about my sister Rone and all the women I have formed sisterhoods with I feel my heart swelling with pride, joy and gratitude.

Sisters, all grown up now still all smiles in Barcelona

Still, I am aware that the broader sisterhood is not always as fortunate as we have been in our cocoon. Politics aside, I wish that every woman is blessed with the beautiful, empowering and loving wonder of sisters. I hope that as women, we continue embracing each other in complete advocacy and holding each other in our hearts. Sisterhood is soft and comforting. It is also powerful and strong. We are doing it for ourselves, we are doing it together and we are doing it. Of course we are, we’re the sisterhood!

Revisiting The Dance of Joy

Recently I posed a question to my friends: There are 74 days left in 2010, are you following your bliss yet? Naturally, I received a range of responses. The one that made me sizzle came from artist friend Trey Speegle who offered that his bliss follows him.

My bliss follows me.
I am enthralled by this idea. The inevitability of bliss has a naughtiness about it. It takes audacity to claim bliss in full authority and without flinching. We have all experienced this in ways big and small. The way a friend you’ve just thought about is the exact same friend calling right now. The way your grandmother knows you need her special chocolate porridge for breakfast. The way your nephew knows you want a world-class kiss attack right now. The way wishes come true and prayers are answered. The way the city’s traffic lights conspire to give you only greens as you rush to see your best friend for a long overdue dinner date. The way you get what you ask for in your work life as soon as you have the courage to ask for it. The way we attract like-minded, like-hearted people who enrich the journey.

Taking pause so my bliss can shower me with sunshine by the Seine in Paris

I follow my bliss.
I am equally enthralled by this idea. The focus and intention implied in the statement intrigue me. The forward movement it carries feels progressive and energizing. The certainly of purpose is undeniable. We have also experienced this in many ways. The way we decide to take the scenic route somewhere, because we want to see the Chrysler building throughout our entire walk. The way we set a goal and surpass it. The way we cultivate the most meaningful friendships. The way we pursue opportunities that others were not sure about.

'All aboard' and moving on the Q train in New York City

We are all making our way through the boulevards of this journey, and yes there is a dance underway. What a gorgeous notion, this dance with oneself and one’s bliss taking turns leading then following. Listen and hear the music, feel the rhythm your feet are picking up. Are you ready for it? Are you ready for the bliss dance? Are you ready for the dance of joy? I know I am, and I think you are too.

Remembering Patricia

Today I remember and honor a dear girlfriend, Patricia. She and I share more than the same first name. We met when we were eleven, and over the years and the many adventures of growing up formed the kind of friendship that comes once in a lifetime as you grow together.

Today, October 25th is Pat’s birthday.

The summer after we finished college, as we were about to turn 21 we lost her to a tragic scuba accident. She would have turned 40 this year. I think about her often, and when I do I get chills down my spine. It is unfathomable that someone so young could die like that. We will never understand how or why. We are forever changed by her life and her death.

Not a lot of people will appreciate how profoundly this is affecting my thoughts today, this big milestone that will never happen…but Pat would want me to see the upside to her story. She would want me to focus on how precious people are, how important girlfriends are. On what would have been her birthday, Pat is reminding me again as she did in the magical days of our teen years.

I am reminded to be grateful. I am reminded to tell you that I love you. I am reminded to say sorry. I am reminded of how much joy friendship can bring. I am reminded to sing, as the Golden Girls suggested, thank you for being a friend.

In honor of Pat, I am wearing a mini skirt despite the fall weather – it was one of her signatures. That and her contagious laughter.