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  • Years ago, in a spiritual community of which I was a part at the time, they had something called "Circles of Gratitude", which would go on for 40 days prior to Thanksgiving Day. You became part of a small group that met each week, with daily readings, and a commitment to write each day, all focused on "gratitude". Things for which you were grateful for.

    Similarly, in the early Spring, we had "Circles of Freedom", a similar arrangement, only focused on the idea of "freedom".

    Both of these efforts produced some wonderful connections, at a deep and intimate level, with others in the group, and certainly heightened one's sense of those things in life that you were grateful for, and those things which brought a sense of freedom, and maybe helped to identify those things which held one back from truly feeling free.

    Kathy and I often discuss the need to try to get something like these circles going in our current community, of which we have become just occasional participating members.

    It occurred to me, as I read Cecilia's beautiful words of Thanks for the connections and support found here on Cowbird, and sat there thinking, and feeling, "Yeah! I know what she's talking about! Everyday, I feel that way myself!" I feel like ya'all have taken the "lonely" out of the "lonely writer" syndrome that I have usually operated under, when it comes to my writing.

    But, it's much more than that, too. I feel like I know so many of you - like I know you intimately. Like I've known you for years. When I see a new posting from one of you, I get that sense of anticipation, that excitement - a new gift, a new story, another mini-chapter of your life unfolding before me, another opportunity to firm up that sense of connection that I now have with so many of you.

    And the newcomers - wow, it is so awesome to see someone discovering this community for the first time. Me, feeling like an old hand at this, after all of, what, 2 months and a week here! And to discover another new fresh perspective, another new life to begin understanding, and loving, and broadening my own outlook, my own perspective.

    So, anyway, what occurred to me, reading Cecilia's sweet piece, was this is it, right here. This is Circles of Gratitude, and Circles of Freedom, yet so much more. Being a part of this fills me with gratitude each and every day, and fills me with a sense of freedom. Reading about so many struggles to be free, so many reports of success in that endeavor, the triumph of spirit over material bondage, the determined effort to keep moving towards creative and spiritual freedom, despite the challenges and barriers to overcome. These things fill me up to overflowing, inspiring me, and causing a very real sense of AWE.

    Not to mention, the "lonely writer syndrome" has been left far behind. Being an off-the-charts "E" on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator profile - meaning, simply, that I draw my energy more from being around other people than I do from being alone - this has reconciled the disconnect that I've often experienced with trying to be writer, while keeping up my energy for that when my natural inclination is more to be out and about, mingling among others. Now, I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

    I also feel like we're family, here. A global family, but the globe has just gotten a whole lot smaller. I feel like Ben and Cecilia in South Africa, are right down the street, and Diane in Northern Ireland is just up around the corner, and Jari is just a hoot and a holler in the next town over, and so on.

    Thank you all for being a part of this growing family, this loving, supportive network. This is pretty damned cool!
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