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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from Publisher: The Power of Friendship

Jan 29, 2016 10:58AM

My typical days weave tasks for work with time for treasured girlfriends. I just completed a call with Kathi, consulting on marketing directions for her new business. We’ve been friends since our daughters played together in the neighborhood 25 years ago. We’ve lost touch at times, but visits at her places in Vermont and Oregon and with family members in Naples allow us to easily pick up the thread on the deeper issues of our lives.

This morning, an email from my colleague Anna let me know that her cousin, who was more like a sister, just passed. Through the 15 years we’ve worked together, Anna has been a cheerleader and nurturer seeing me through difficult passages, mostly long-distance from Atlanta, but also during visits here. We’ve shared childhood traumas, significant losses and lots of laughs! Given her many roles with our company, no one knows the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered in growing the Natural Awakenings family of 95 publishers like Anna does.

Next, a text arrived from Carol asking me if I’m up for our standing date of a sunset ritual tonight. We’ve been friends since third grade. She heard all the juicy details about my first boyfriend and shared my first apartment; I was her bridesmaid when she married my cousin; now we join in grief at his passing. For fun, we’re struggling to learn to tango.

Today, I’ll also return two calls to new friends. One I met at a local kirtan and another on a California pilgrimage to Mt. Shasta. Joyful Aamala uplifts and helps me believe I can sing; with Ariane, it feels like communing with an old-soul sister.

When another of my BFF’s, Karen, called to alert me to a hearing last month supporting a petition to stop adding toxic fluoride to our municipal water supply, I knew I had to show up. Our small but mighty clan carried enough signs and show of support to help win a 3-2 vote in favor of scheduling another hearing on February 23. Please read the enlightening article and take action. This is our main chance to make a difference on this issue; it could be years before one comes around again.

I learned how to make and keep friends while respecting differences through the ups and downs of relationships with my seven siblings, who remain my closest friends; they taught me how to play fair, stand up for myself and not toss over a friend just because they pulled your hair. Learn more about the amazing “Power of Friendship” in Judith Fertig’s feature article.

What I know for sure is that love and friendships make life rich and meaningful. I know you have to be a friend to have a friend and take the time to nurture them while honoring life’s fluidity. As the song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.”

With or without an official sweetheart, we can all embrace the spirit of Valentine’s Day this month with friends and family. Love yourself enough to shine and share your big heart as you celebrate those you love.


Sharon Signature

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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