Kindred Spirits – Finding Your People.
I always thought the story of The Ugly Duckling was about transformation. But according to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, it is a story about finding your pack, or as I like to call it –kindred spirits. As the story goes the egg of the ugly duckling (or swan as we later learn) somehow gets mixed up with those of a mother duck. When he hatches his family sees how different he is from the rest of them he is forced to leave his home. But one day he recognizes a connection, an innate longing, to a wedge of swans that flies overhead and salutes him. When he meets the swans again they welcome him as one of their own.
Have you ever felt that the stork dropped you off with the wrong family? You feel misunderstood, and lost with no-one to guide you. You can’t find your way because you haven’t met your kindred spirits yet. Those like-minded people who can guide and support you in your growth and help you to flourish. That’s not to say you don’t love your family, it just means that in order to be fully realized, you may need to expand your family by finding the people who will understand and support who you really are. Once this happens, things begin to change.
I’ve always felt different too. Perhaps we all have at some time or other. For a long time I just accepted that I was different. That the problem was mine. Part of me wanted to be more like everyone else, but at the same time, I was secretly glad that I was different. But being different meant that I didn’t quite fit in. It wasn’t until my thirties things began to change.
A friend of mine was part of a spiritual study group that was reading The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I had just completed the book myself and was interested in getting other people thoughts about it. I stayed with that group for years afterwards studying many of the books by spiritual teachers: Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, and my favourite, Marianne Williamson. In fact it was Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love that had the most profound impact on my life. Where I was formerly living life on the periphery, after reading her book, I now have a deeper understanding about life, relationships, and love that ultimately tore down the shaky foundation of my former life and helped me to build a new life on a more solid foundation.
When I changed, like-minded people started to turn up in my life. One in particular, who for the past fifteen years has been a friend, mentor, and a kindred spirit. We like the same books, movies, art, and she too likes to write. And despite the fact that she is old enough to be my mother, I consider her one of my dearest friends, and like family to me. She who has lived a life that has not been without pain, has flourished and taught me to flourish through her example. She always tells me the truth that I know on some level but am afraid to admit. She is like the crone of old, although I hesitate to call her crone, she is more like a Goddess, who has passed on her wisdom to me. And I, in turn, hope to pass it on to others, for that is that nature of the wild woman.
She encouraged me in my writing. Because of her I feel I can now call myself a writer. She said, “If you write, then you are a writer.” I believed I had to be published before I could call myself a writer and was embarrassed to actually tell people, “I am a writer.” In truth, when you call yourself a writer, you become one.
The writing life opened up a whole new world of like-minded people who encourage me in my quest to be published. And as time goes by and I get closer to having my novel published, the right people keep turning up in my life at just the right time.
So, my friends, it’s OK to be different, perhaps even preferable. But know this; there are other people out there just like you. They are your kindred spirits, the people who will accept you as you and love you just the way you are because they are just like you. They are the ones who will guide you on your path to recognizing that you already are a beautiful swan.