Sheila and me c.1957

If you knew me when I was young, you never would have imagined me as the solitary sort. I was always with friends, either surrounded by people or animals or any sort of distraction. Yet I never fully trusted anyone, for I was raised to keep secrets. And keep them I did, well into my thirties and beyond. It turned out to be a great quality as a therapist, for I could hold even the most heinous truths close to my chest and not betray those most accustomed to betrayals.

And so it is that I find myself at nearly sixty preferring my own company and that of my husband, children and a couple of very dear friends. With little tolerance for idle chitchat and disingenuous people, I am rarely inclined to cultivate new relationships, preferring instead spontaneous interactions with those I meet while bicycling or hiking or, more rarely, at gatherings. Spending the balance of time in silence is a luxury I never take for granted.

I wonder if I am antisocial or simply set in my ways, but life is full enough with its eddies and surges, both my own as well as those of loved ones. I’d rather invest myself  in a precious few rather than to twist in awkward silence while others drink themselves into conversation.

It was with great spontaneity today then, that I struck out with a friend with whom I have shared only a few hours in the past. We lunched, laughed, and conversed nonstop for most of the afternoon. Coming from very different worlds, we disclosed heart and soul and life experiences. And I felt blessed and lightened and energized to think that I might have discovered another kindred spirit in this magnificent hall of mirrors called life. Makes it worth investing in the human race, if only for a day now and again.


8 thoughts on “Duality

  1. It might be an interesting experiment in Psychology to be able to determine the triggers in life which lead to change in behaviour patterns. Your post, Bela , in that sense creates that curiosity. What was there in that moment of meeting your friend that made you shift from being a reserved person to one who could spontaneously share oneself and one’s experiences? Was it due to the fact that she came from a different world and so you perceived her as non-judgemental and thereby non-threatening?

    Loved reading and musing on your post.

    Cheers and wish you and your family a great 2013 ahead Bela.



    1. Shakti, dear – I wish you and your family the very same thing, and add a dash of magic to that! I’m always grateful that you take the time and thought to ponder my writing – it truly is a gift.

      I entitled this piece Duality on purpose, for I’ve always been able to walk in both worlds – the silent, natural world has always been in my life, either foreground or back – though I’ve not ever been as quiet within myself as i am today. I love that quiet – it’s like living in warm, moist mulch, incubating all sorts of roots. The social world for me has always consisted of what I perceive as surface skimmers as well as the rare gems who dare to dive deeply into feelings, nuance, perceptions. I found these kinds of folks mostly in college – both students as well as staff – when I returned for my degree in the late ‘nineties. And rather than to settle for prattle when it does not nourish me on any level, I live my life with a few close ones and my forays into nature. Add a bit of ‘talk-story’ to that when I ride my bike or meet others on the trail somewhere, and it’s pretty satisfactory.

      I have always gathered diverse folks around me – people who don’t fit any kind of mold, really. And so in this way, my new friend is not so different. We just ‘clicked’ on so many levels, despite her being born and raised and largely residing in a small island community, and I having traveled the world and lived in several very different places. My upside and my down is that I’m always willing to open myself to whatever experience lies before me, and whomever I interact with. It’s bitten me in the backside a few times, but overall, the risk is worth taking. In this case, it was doubly worthwhile, for it truly feels as though she is a kindred spirit.

      Thanks again for commenting, Shakti. Aloha!


  2. Bela, you seem to be an honest woman who doesn’t care to indulge in “The Games People Play,” which was the name of a best selling book way back then. I share your doubts and sometimes feel that it is better to have superficial relationships than to invest energy and emotions in a so called meaningful relationships.


    1. Ronnie, yes! You know the feeling. My next to last paragraph to Shakti, above, describes the gist of it, for me. I guess it’s one of those things that cannot be forced – and I’ve stopped trying at this stage of life. I truly do enjoy the silence and my own company, so feel absolutely like the most blessed woman alive to have had this kind of ‘instant sisterhood.’ We’ve had it before, albeit more briefly, but both of us have been sidetracked for awhile. So happy to reconnect, and I’m still smiling 😉
      Blessings, Ronnie!


  3. I too had to keep secrets. It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I could start letting the secrets go. I went to college and got a MSW degree. My goal was to help other women to let their secrets go and to get back on the track to live their life to the fullest. Life is about risk and trust is a big part of it. Doesn’t mean that it is easy.Thanks for sharing.


    1. Interesting, Kenna – how many of us go into the helping fields with the goal of serving others – and we end up with our own healing.

      Thanks for sharing, yourself! Or … thanks for sharing yourself 😉


  4. Slightly introverted ,in that you like your own company ,but balanced writing so very much ,you seem to be in my mind with everything ( almost ) that you postulate about . I am grateful for all the obvious effort . Helping me very much as I recover . ..know thyself , apply thy self , to thy n own self be true . plagiarized of course Most admirably ,yours , jim


  5. Aloha Jim: Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate that you consider thoughts I put out into the world. If you don’t mind my asking, what are you recovering ‘from?’ Peace and blessings to you!


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