#1 Kindred Spirits
Traditionally, kin refers to a group of people with common ancestry or related by marriage. Kindred means of a similar nature. Spirit is the essence, the fire that inspires life. You are born into a family, but you select your Kindred Spirits, your spiritual family. Kindred Spirits are people with whom you share a spiritual connection. The term Kindred Spirit is reserved for a special kind of relationship, a deep friendship. Kindred Spirits combine elements of friendship, marriage and family such as trust, commitment and a sense of belonging.
“Kindred Spirits are special friends who encourage our growth, enrich our self-esteem and by their presence give comfort.” 1978
A Kindred Spirit relationship is a whole relationship, connecting on a body, mind and spirit level. Whole dimensions of our being need to be nurtured by whole beings. Kindred Spirits bring out the best in each other. Sometimes Kindred Spirits begin as good friends and grow with time into a deeper level of intimacy and commitment. There is a hope that this kind of Kindred Spirit relationship will last for life.
On other occasions, the connection happens in instant. You might meet a Kindred Spirit, feel the spark and then never see each other again. The moments spent together are precious and will be cherished. Kindred Spirits may pass through your life like comets. They are bright lights which orbit through your life on a regular basis. We know that we will be changed forever by meeting each other. A Kindred Spirit can teach you something about love and life that no one else can.
Commitment and a high level of intimacy are the two main differences between a friend and a Kindred Spirit. Human beings need to be deeply connected to one another. Kindred Spirit friendships are established to honor the need to care and to be cared for. These friendships are high spirited. They satisfy the need to have more than one person truly know who we are. To be a Kindred Spirit requires a high level of maturity. Sometimes you need to be able to put your needs aside momentarily to focus on the needs of your friend.
Each Kindred Spirit decides the degree and kind of intimacy that is appropriate. One of the reasons for forming this type of friendship is to create a supportive environment where warmth and affection can be freely exchanged. Intimacy frequently brings up fears. Kindred Spirits have the courage to find the path through fear to love.
A Kindred Spirit can include two persons or a community of people, like a family of choice. These friendships may exist within the same gender and across gender lines. Kindred Spirits are not spiritually exclusive or loyal to just one person. “The love between Kindred Spirits is like a web…strong, light and open.”
Loneliness is the greatest risk factor to our health and happiness. Our resistance to disease and our ability to cope with stress is strengthened by our feeling connected to our community. We are responsible for creating 100% of our happiness, love and friendship.
Kindred Spirits can act as guardians of each other’s spirits during a crisis. They join together just as easily for fun, love and enhancing each other’s spiritual growth. The search for a Kindred Spirit requires as much effort as finding a mate or pursuing a career. Deep friendships are too important to be left to chance. Friendships take time and energy to develop and maintain. Be available to play. You deserve companionship. Be bold and ask “Would you be my Kindred Spirit?”
A Kindred Spirit relationship is based on kindness and a mutual commitment to nurturing each other’s spirit.
When Kindred Spirits meet there is a spirit-to-spirit connection. We are energized by their presence. We recognize each other by the outflowing of spirit. My spirit senses your spirit. All of the senses are sharp, alert and working together knowingly. The energy is exciting, mixed with a sense of calm. We experience trust, safety, acceptance and openness in large doses. We feel refreshed joyful. Notice how your spirit resonates when you meet a Kindred Spirit. “Kindred Spirits charge the air with life.”
In order for the human species to thrive we must evolve to a higher state of conscious. Only a change in spirit will transform the world. The term Homo sapiens translates as wise man. Kindred Spirits are virtuous men and women. Our acts of love help us to evolve. The intention of a Kindred Spirit is to create the support needed to uplift the human spirit. The spirit thrives on intimacy. Kindred Spirits are a brave new species.
Kindred Spirits: The Quest for Love & Friendship
#2 Kindred Spirit Qualities
celebrates many kinds of love
balances belonging & belongings
develops one’s virtues
aware of weaknesses & vices
on a quest for love and friendship
seeks a tribal sense of community
balances healing & personal growth
desires a circle of kindred spirits
practices enlightened self interest
takes responsibility for own happiness
seeks new ways of bonding
believes we all have more to give
raises consciousness to solve problems
develops advanced communication skills
creates mutual mentors
fosters self-care & wellness
seeks like-spirited relationships
maintains a high standard of integrity
independent and interdependent
gives from a place of overflowing
realizes that loneliness is choice
grounded in self-love
brings out the best in each other
forms mutual nurturing relationships
offers emotional first aid & support
creates commitment ceremonies
brighten each other’s spirit
combines intimacy and commitment
possesses a good sense of humor
fosters a variety of passions
nourishes with tender loving care
views love as a spiritual path
wants to make a world of difference
seeks peers on the path
models grace, resiliency and maturity
loves the Earth
#3 Master of Friendship Award
“Kindred Spirits are special friends
who encourage our growth,
enrich our self-esteem
and by their presence
Thank you for being my friend.
#4 Declaration of InterDependence
We the People pledge allegiance to all Life.
Now is the time to affirm our interdependence as Kindred Spirits.
United in spirit, our kindness knows no boundaries.
We are one People.
With hands over our hearts, we vow to create an abundance of love.
Promising to fill our lives with purpose and passion,
Evolving to higher levels of love and consciousness,
We are Love.
A reverence for life compels us to respect the laws of nature,
To speak on behalf of those with no voice,
To create sustainable lifestyles using Earth’s gifts wisely.
We are in Kinship with all.
Honoring our freedom to choose the best path,
United under the banner of compassion,
Expanding our capacity for love and laughter,
We celebrate Life.
Dedicating our lives to a global vision of peace and harmony,
Building our hope for the future with our collective inner strength,
Together we will shine like the stars.
We will change the world!
#1 Virtues: Fibers of Our Being
For years, I searched for a way to explain why being a kindred spirit requires so much personal work. The answer, in a metaphor, was under my feet the entire time. Maggie inherited a gorgeous Persian rug from her grandparents, who were importers. The rug was hand-made in the province of Tabriz, Iran, in the early 1900s. A Persian family raised the sheep, carded the wool into yarn, collected the natural ingredients for dyeing, created a design and wove the rug.
I once had the opportunity to card raw wool into parallel fibers, and using a spinning wheel, convert the fibers to thread. It was a demanding task, but gave me immense satisfaction in its accomplishment. This gave me a sense of the skill and dedication necessary to make a beautiful rug. It is a form of mastery.
Virtues are like a fine, hand-made carpet. The fibers represent the qualities of one’s character. To form one virtue takes thousands of fibers (intentions and actions) twisted together. Each length of yarn is colored by one’s personality and unique vibration. The texture is determined by the individual’s growth and life experiences.
There is pleasure and art in the process of weaving our lives together; in and out, up and down, shuttling back and forth, give and take, push and pull … all taking practice and patience. The threads that run crosswise represent one person, while the lengthwise threads symbolize the other partner in the relationship. There is a different design for each relationship we create. Some are simple weaves, others are more elaborate. The dynamic tension between them represents respect for our variations. The blending of two people from opposite directions necessitates great flexibility. As the multicolored strands interlace, a pattern forms. The character of the two people imparts a “feel” to the fabric. Deep levels of intimacy are possible when we have created the threads of virtues and woven them into an intricate friendship.
Kindred spirits are the artistic expression of our love.
The fabric of relationships needs to be treated with care. Even one thread missing can weaken the fabric, causing the relationship to unravel. Like all things over time, there will be natural wear and tear, so both people are responsible for maintaining the vitality of the friendship. Each friendship is a rare work of art that adds warmth, beauty and comfort to our lives.
#2 Mutual Virtues
The foundation of my quest is to find kindred spirits with whom the skill level is mutual. People who understand how the virtues work have a wonderful potential for reciprocal energy exchanges. I find that I am drawn to those who value these qualities. In my important relationships, virtuous acts flow both ways.
To find my kindred spirits, I must be willing and eager to be transformed by the virtues of my friends. I strive to create an environment for healthy friendships to flourish by providing an overflow of virtues to nourish them. The quality of my relationships sets the tone of my life. When I enjoy being virtuous, I find that I attract virtuous people.
To find better friends, become a better friend by becoming a better person.
Virtues are a blend of enlightened self-interest and concern for the good of others. Kindred spirits seek virtue-centered relationships. The better I know and express my own virtues, the more love and intimacy I can share with others.
We will examine a few of the virtues common to kindred spirits. The intention is to develop these qualities in yourself while practicing with family and friends. As you review each virtue, imagine a person in your life who exemplifies that virtue well. The alphabetized virtues list gives you an idea of the scope of being a good friend. These familiar attributes can be seen as an opportunity to expand and integrate virtues into your life.
Notice which elicit a strong emotional response in you. You may wish to devote a day, a week, a month or a year to focus on developing just one virtue. The cultivation of virtuous friendships is our quest.
Virtues are skills that require the devotion of precious time as you actively engage in balancing and customizing your actions to the needs of your relationships. Each of these important attributes deserves its own book. Treat these pages on virtues as a primer for reflection. You may wish to write your own interpretation and stories about each virtue.
#3 Special Qualities
I began to focus on seeing at least one special quality in every person I met or knew. It was fascinating to study how the same quality was expressed so uniquely in different people. My goal was to find people who excelled in different combinations of attributes, and to learn from them. Ultimately, I wanted to work with people in relationships where it was a priority to mutually enhance such positive qualities.
After years of working on the book, I was searching for a way to unify all the different positive qualities of friendship. All at once, the word “virtue” jumped out at me. Virtues had been present all the time, yet I was not consciously aware of the powerful effect they’d had on my life. Suddenly, I saw that virtues provide a language for understanding the essential ingredients of kindred spirits. I was especially surprised by the importance of virtues in explaining the complexity of relationships. In this unifying principle I had a means to begin exploring more deeply the mystery of love and friendship.
Deep friendships need deep virtues.
The only reason that I am able to compose a book about love and friendship is because people have treated me in virtuous ways. My life has been blessed by parents, teachers and friends with well-developed virtues. These special qualities were expressed as many forms of love. My experiences of virtues in other people have instilled in me the ability to be virtuous in my own life. Writing has allowed time for further reflection on each of the virtues.
Virtuous behavior arises from a person’s core attributes and establishes our level of personal integrity. Virtues are skills necessary for raising consciousness. Such admirable qualities speak to the intrinsic nature of our personhood and are the source of our harmony, health and happiness. While physical beauty reaches a peak and then begins to fade, our virtues, or inner beauty, often improve with age. The personal assets of kindness, courage and love represent the best of our endearing characteristics.
Being virtuous is living according to one’s principles. We may have good intentions, but virtues require actions grounded in those intentions. Our strength of character is demonstrated by our good deeds.
Each virtue is the result of many conscious decisions. The goal is to bring the highest level of awareness to all of our relationships. The consistent use of virtues is a sign of maturity. Virtues guide us forward in our relationships with self, parents, siblings, relatives, co-workers and community. To reach a state of deep friendship we need to bring a broad range of virtues into play.
Virtues are guidelines for being kindred spirits.
The quest is to be a virtuous person. It is to seek friendships, to be a friend and to support a friend. Lasting friendships are based on lasting virtues. Virtues are vital to a loving relationship. At the broad level of society, the degree to which our virtues are commonly practiced and shared determines how well our culture and institutions function.
Since language was invented, humans have discussed what makes a good person. Early Greek philosophers vigorously debated whether virtues could be taught and learned, or if they were innate. Some concluded that virtues could only be truly taught by those who were already virtuous. Others contended that anyone could learn to be more virtuous. This second conclusion is crucial to our quest.
#4 Blind Spots
Serious problems occur when our feelings of love are based in fantasy rather than fact. Actions speak the truth. We are all susceptible to being lured by the attraction of loving feelings that we desire. Studying how a person acts can help us make realistic decisions about them.
Understanding virtues as acts of love has helped me to better comprehend a problem I often witness in relationships: “My partner does not love me the way I want.” One person values certain virtues, while their partner gives priority to a different set of virtues. For instance, one person enjoys the tenderness they feel when they are treated with kindness, while the other person likes the satisfaction they experience when they are respected. There is a tendency, when we are not getting the type of love we want, to react by refusing to give our partner what they want. Certainly both kindness and respect are signs of love. But difficulties arise when people have blinders on and do not see the ways in which the other person acts out love. The solution, of course, is to acknowledge and value all of their acts of love, different as they are. This is easier said than done, but is a rich source of virtue exploration on the quest.
I love you!
I like the rich emotional connection I feel when I tell someone I love them. “I love you,” has many meanings, depending on the type of relationship and the virtues expressed. Review the times when you tell someone or they tell you, “I love you.”
Many years ago, I began telling my parents that I loved them. Expressing love between family members is just one of the important places to do this. Sharing feelings of love between romantic lovers is another. I also make it a practice to tell my kindred spirits that I love them. I am grateful for the opportunity to express my feelings of affection for their presence in my life. Tell your friends regularly that you love them. We can never hear “I love you” too much. I am thrilled when someone tells me that they love me.
#5 Learned Skills
We are born with the seeds of virtue. It is our destiny to sprout, bear fruit and spread these positive qualities. But these human skills need to be nurtured to grow. Even with years of formal education, we seldom receive adequate instruction in how to develop virtues. Human interactions in relationships are the ideal place to sharpen one’s skills.
The quest for love and friendship is a quest for virtues.
Virtues and friendships take time to nurture and grow. Watching little children, you can see which skills are germinating and which virtues have yet to break ground. By the time we are teenagers, our skills become better defined. I have several friends in their twenties who have already begun to master a wide range of virtues. With each passing decade, more individuals possess the amount of virtues necessary to form kindred spirit relationships.
It is one thing to read about a virtue such as kindness, or to witness someone being kind to another. However, the best way to learn a virtue is to first receive and experience it directly. Once you’ve experienced kindness directly, you’re better able to give kindness. And when you are kind to someone, you witness the positive effect your kindness has on the other person and you experience feeling good.
Our minds expand when special electrochemical energy is transmitted through them by thinking new thoughts. Similarly, when we consciously decide to engage our will to be good, we integrate the emotional right and the rational left cerebral hemispheres of our brains. Unexplored parts of the brain grow, links form, bridges and neuro-pathways develop as we aspire to be virtuous.
Virtues form the basis of our self-esteem and determine the quality of all of our intimate relationships. These life skills enrich the effectiveness of our professional associations as well. Being virtuous increases the possibility that we will experience the virtue of others.
Virtues exemplify our attraction to the creative force for good. We begin our quest by seeking the best in ourselves, then bring out the finest in others.
Empathy and caring for others must be counterbalanced with the same depth of care for oneself. Such a balance of potentially competing virtues requires amazing skills of perception and prioritization. For instance, one needs courage in the face of danger, but this must be tempered with the wisdom to know when to turn and flee.
Every relationship is a constantly changing mix of needs, from petty to profound and balancing them all is a most intricate dance. An example would be a relationship in which one person consistently gives while another wants to be the one who receives most of the time. A relationship based on, “What can you do for me?” tends to dissolve when the needs, advantages and usefulness no longer exist. If the only basis for the relationship is pleasure, then, when pain inevitably arises, both the pain and the person are to be avoided. Mutual balance is required of all involved.
Our instinct is to avoid pain and to seek pleasure. However, in a true kindred spirit friendship, pain and struggle can be used to develop an even closer bond. This deepening bond results from a creative response to adversity and can be a pleasurable learning experience for both parties. Multiple levels of pleasure become available to us when we balance our needs and the needs of our friend.
When someone we care about behaves in a hurtful way because they are in distress, we do not have to react in kind. In fact we can feel good when we choose a virtuous response. To love the whole person, even during times of weakness, is a profound act of compassion. When someone hurts, they may treat us in a manner that mirrors our own wounds. Not to turn away or attack contributes to the establishment of an enduring friendship. It is a wonderful feeling when we succeed in compassion.
Our resolve to be virtuous will be tested. It’s easy to be virtuous when others are loving, but when the relationship struggles, our good intentions are challenged. Relationships expose both our virtues and our vices.
Sometimes we will be esteemed for virtuous acts and other times are condemned for the same deeds. Ultimately, outside opinions have little influence when we act based on our own principles. Goodness is the capacity to act in a caring manner even when virtue is not recognized or esteemed.
This test by fire tempers and strengthens our skills. Being virtuous can be a challenge, like climbing to the top of a mountain, while vice is an easy slide down.
Create community where wounds can be healed and virtues will thrive. Virtue is its own reward. Being virtuous feels expansive and any praise for our good deeds is just a bonus.
Virtuous love between kindred spirits is our goal. The more we love, the larger capacity we have to love. The stronger your virtues are, the stronger your love. The deeper the bonding, the deeper the kindness, the deeper the respect, and the deeper the love will be.
The definition of love is elusive. Virtues are the perfect way to understand the meaning of love. Each virtue represents a different kind of love. Virtues provide a practical way to examine how we love. Using virtues as a model has helped me to better identify the type of love I want, and which forms are inadequate or missing in me. Now I can name which attributes of love I am seeking.
Usually when people talk about love, they are making a reference to what love feels like. But love is more than a feeling; it requires expression. Virtues are that expression: they’re what love looks and acts like. If virtues are acts of love, love is defined by our actions.
Virtues are love skills. If you want to learn how to be loving, practice being virtuous. As your capacity to be virtuous expands, so does your ability to love. Virtues are expressions of love; for self, friends, family and indeed, the world.
Our virtuous actions define our love.
I believe the source of our feelings of love originates from our attitudes and actions. And there is nothing like a good relationship to bring forth these attitudes and actions.
It is pleasurable to give and to receive virtues. The bonds of our relationship are strengthened each time we express our love. Without virtuous acts, we would not feel the love.
Seek love, be love, give yourself to love.
#7 Virtues: Acts of Love
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