Some of us are born into families of many persons. Some of us are not. I am among those whose families of birth number few persons. My mother was an only child. Her mother had only one sibling, a sister, who herself had only one child. My father was one of five children, but in the era when he was born, childhood mortality was common. By the time I was born in 1944, all my father's siblings were deceased save his "kid brother," who as my only uncle was very dear to me. Uncle Mark however died the year I turned 20, and he was childless.

As a person whose passion is relationship, I therefore found as I grew older that the importance of what I call "brothers and sisters of the heart" is priceless to me. As I say, my passion is relationship. This includes my relationship with myself, my relationship with Spirit, with my husband, with his children and our grandchildren, with my clients, my CranioSacral Therapy colleagues, my musical collaborators, my wine club and book club friends, with memberss of my parish at church.

As I write this, my husband and I are traveling through the West with friends of our who are a generation younger than ourselves. These folks I met originally in the 1980's when I taught Swedish Massage in the Cape May County Vo-Tech, and they were my students. They became my clients. I massaged them during Micheles's pregnancy with their son Daniel, who is now in his late twenties. Over the years they became not onlhy clients but FRIENDS.

Tomorrow we will all go to Yellowstone National Park. My husband's passion has always been the history of the American West, and Gary wiill serve as our tour guide. When I met Gary on in 2005, he asked me what MY passion was, a question which presumed that he himself had a passion and knew its worth in one's life. The truth of our marriage is that his passion and my passion enrich one another's lives. My passion for relationship helps him to connect with others. His passion helps me to connect with place and history. We each are richer for the passion and connection with one another.

We do not exist alone. We are born through the union of two cells, father's seed and mother's egg. We learn who we are in relationship. It is through the mirror of relationship that we learn by observance what is working in our nature and what is not working. We are burnished by this very process, which sometimes is not easy. Through the rough and tumble of relationship, that in our nature which is superficial or egoistic is worn away, like the rough edges are worn from rocks in a tumbler.

Not long ago I heard a piece on National Public Radio that over hundreds of years, human brain development and human social development seem to indicate that no one can relate INTIMATELY to move than perhaps 150 persons. Our closest circle of people numbers maybe 5 or 6. Just beyond that, a very close circle may be double that. Each successive circle of friends is perhaps double in number and lesser in intimacy. If the word "intimacy" can be viewed as "into me see," this resonates as truth to me. Our truest, tenderest and deepest selves are known and shared by only a very few. There are varying levels of acquaintance, but the deepest levels of trust and intimacy are necessarily small.

Therefore, HONOR those nearest and dearest to you! They help you to become real, as in that wonderful story of the Velveteen Rabbit whose fondest wish was to become REAL. When he did, through the love of the boy who prized him, his ears were tattered, his fur worn, one button eye missing -- but love had made him REAL. When you find real friends, walk with them. Listen to them, learn with them, laugh with them, weep with them, share with them. I am grateful beyond telling for those with whom I share life.