Posts Tagged ‘kindred spirits’

Definition of kindred spirit:

“A bosom friend–an intimate friend, you know–a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life.” – Anne to Marilla in Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomerie

Theodora Goss recently wrote about soul mates, and when I read her post, I recognized what she was talking about. Her idea of the soul mate is my idea of the kindred spirit. And when we use either of these phrases, what we’re really talking about is connection.

I really like the idea of practicing being a kindred spirit, both to yourself and to others. Because if you are not a kindred spirit, how can you expect anyone else to be? And being your own best kindred spirit plays right into the idea of loving ourselves, which is incredibly important.

And there are so many different kinds of kindred spirit. One of the things I like about the Anne books is that we get to see Anne discover many different types as she grows up. There is the romantic kind, the kind we’re most likely to think of when we say soul mate. And there is the best friend kind, in whom we are perhaps most likely to confide. But there are many other kinds as well, just as there are many different ways to support and appreciate each other.

Some of them run deep, right through the core of who we are. Others (like Mrs. Josephine Barry in the Anne books) are closer to the surface but still marked by the hallmarks of a kindred spirit: a sense of understanding or kinship, along with a sense of appreciation for who the person is. What this sense of understanding revolves around and how widespread it is will vary from relationship to relationship.

It interests me that with many people, we never have the opportunity to share our entire souls, or even a large portion of them. But we often have the opportunity to share a piece of our soul, to shine a ray of ourselves or open one of a hallway of doors. Even if it’s a very little door, its opening still has meaning as it creates its feeling of connection.

I wonder if this is why we sometimes think it’s harder to make friends as adults. With old friends that you’ve known since childhood, we share the understanding created through a shared past. When we make friends in school, it is often also through a shared context and experience (taking place during a period of transformation, oftentimes), which can persist for the rest of our lives. When we’re adults, we have to work harder to find that shared understanding, but it is often still there if we decide to go looking for it.

Of course, now I know many kindred spirits with whom I’ve bonded because of writing. A shared passion can be a powerful magnet. Shared passions or interests, shared past experiences, shared personality traits, sometimes even shared social groups can be enough to light the first spark. I even have my blogging kindred spirits: Rahul Kanakia and Theodora Goss. I rarely get to speak with them in person, but I often talk about their posts here, sharing my own thoughts on their ideas.

One thing that most of my kindred spirits have in common is that they LISTEN. Some of them are better at it than others, but at least some listening on both sides is key. That is the only way to create the necessary understanding. It is the only way to actually get to know someone, and we can only truly appreciate someone if we know at least some part of them. Similarly, we can only be a kindred spirit to ourselves if we learn to listen to ourselves and pay attention to what we hear.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” -Anne in Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomerie

What does being a kindred spirit mean to you?

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I returned from Washington late Sunday night, only to find I had brought a bad cold back with me. This is the kind of cold that makes me feel like the distance between my neurons has doubled, so that any thinking I might wish to do happens… very… slowly. So even though I don’t usually talk about events much on the blog, because I think maybe that is very boring for anyone who wasn’t at said event, that’s all I’ve got in me today.

First, a few pictures. The location was truly gorgeous, right on a lake that tended to get misty in the mornings, with the rain forest on the hills behind the buildings. It rained a lot, not surprisingly, which was fine since I was supposed to be writing.

Beautiful Quinault Lake: what a view!

And here's the lake again through the trees.


There was lots of moss in the rain forest.

I was pleased with how much I wrote and found I was able to be more productive than my usual. I wrote until my outline broke. Of course, now I have to fix it before I can start again, and aforementioned neuron difficulties aren’t helping matters any. But figuring out how to fix broken outlines is actually one of the parts of writing I like best, even though I also enjoy complaining about it.

But really the best part of the trip was the people. No big surprise there, of course. Put me in a room full of writers, and the likelihood of me meeting someone who I find fascinating and nice increases exponentially. So do my chances of encountering a kindred spirit, and really, there isn’t much in this world that makes me more happy than making contact with that elusive breed. Except perhaps spending even more time with them. And writing.

I wonder if it’s a matter of depth, a trait all the kindred spirits I’ve met share. I don’t know if people who already have depth are drawn to writing, or if writing requires and develops depth in people. Or perhaps both? I don’t mean to imply that all people who aren’t writers don’t have depth (or contrariwise, that all writers automatically have it), as that is simply not true. But I do think the percentage of writers who have depth (or at least who express themselves in ways that reveal it) tends to be higher than average.

I think I’d like to write more about kindred spirits when my thought processes are in better working order. But in the meantime, I must conclude in order to consume liquids and lay on the sofa like a rag doll. Suffice it to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Quinault Rain Forest.


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