***I just loved reading this. It made my day! Your adventures together sound like it was more than just food for the soul. I LOVE the idea of Terrace Talks.
***Amazing! When a group of women come together, amazing things happen on so many levels! Sending you much love, light & prayers JH
***Oh Kate what a beautiful blog. You remind me why our tribe is SO important. What stunning memories you have created. Thank you for sharing so deeply. I loved reading this at 7 am on a chilly grey winter morning. Karpusis!! Love it! xx DA
***Just read your email and I loved reading it. You have a beautiful way of sharing that feels immersive, expressive, and expansive. It made me long for a connection retreat. JH
***I loved your newsletter. It sounds like everything happened the way it’s supposed to. CS
***I AM IN LOVE with this newsletter – The power of staying and feeling. CF
I do find that if I skip a month of sharing my musings with you, it’s that much harder to get back in the swing of it again. So here I am mulling over what to share as we head into the last month of summer.
What keeps coming up for me today, is a profound 2-week experience I had in Italy. After our summer writing retreats were all done and dusted, I met with 2 girlfriends for some R&R in NW Italy to discover the Ligurian coast – an area I had been wanting to explore.
I probably should have gone for some solo rest and restoration after hosting the retreats– but life had other plans for the three of us.
We found ourselves sharing a gorgeous apartment in Genoa. Tall ceilings, marble floors, gorgeous balcony doors, and the piece de resistance…..a huge outdoor terrace up some precarious stairs! We had the unique experience of exploring a new city together, basking in the gilded era of Baroque, tasting the yummiest pesto in the world, ogling at all the delicious “karpusis” (our inner circle code word for gorgeous head-turning Italian men) and diving into the Ligurian water in hysterically minute cove-type beaches.
We also had some major heart-wrenching events unfolding in each of our lives back home.
FALL IN LOVE WITH STAYING AND FEELING!
A few days into our trip – we sat with the question of “should we all just leave and get on planes to be with other people who need us right now?” I was ready to pack up in a flash.
Yet we found ourselves staying together for the full length of time, each sitting it out patiently, watching it unfold in each of our lives. Holding each other tenderly. Not making any sudden moves. We were poised at the ready if need be – but it wasn’t meant to be. And to be brutally honest, I really didn’t fall in love that part of Italy so much, so leaving early was actually preferable for me. The trio knew my feelings, sorry Genoa – but you will forever be etched in my memories now!
SIMPLY BEING WITH EACH OTHER ON THE TERRACE was a massive metaphor for life. All of us were patiently waiting, being where we needed to be.
More of everything for us all
Late night calls
Messages around the world
Job offers not coming
Phone calls not coming
Some kept breathing life
And some didn’t …
And still there was a city to explore
Life to be lived
Singing storytellers clank clank clank on the guitar
THE TERRACE TALKS
We dubbed our daily morning ritual The Terrace Talks – over copious cups of strong coffee. And a hangover or two sneaked up there too. Love, friendship and vulnerable honesty was witnessed in our merry yet complicated trio.
Surrounded by the sweet swallows constantly swirling and dive-bombing our triangle while church bells rang loud and clear all around us as we poured our hearts and tears out.
We were each other’s sacred witness in a foreign land. Removed from life yet deeply steeped in the messiness of it.
So why does this tale feel important to share with you?
I guess it’s a reminder to embrace life amidst death, trust the hearts of whom you are with and when, and welcome honesty to the communal table with deep vulnerability.
It could have, and realistically probably should have, gone pear-shaped – three gals, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a LOT going on emotionally between us! We had never traveled together before and here we were traveling in an expensive foreign currency and no language literacy. Yet there is so much you can do with a smooshing together of pigeon French, English, Greek and Italian along with hand gestures, google translate and the occasional fluttering of eyes thrown in. And always smiles even amidst the bleary tears. We could go from howling tears to screeching belly laughter in a rapid flash. Whether in public or in the safety of our terrace. We were each seeking to make sense of mammoth and bewildering transition points. We each arrived with different burdens and tales weighing on our hearts, with diverse interests and loves to explore, varying reasons for being in this city and a multitude of travel desires to fulfill. Three strong independent women were able to bear witness to each other.
It was a gift never even imagined, yet offered to each of us in the bittersweet moment that life threw at us.
I was the common “glue” between the three of us and had called us together on an Italian adventure. Northern Italy was on my radar to explore as a possible second home one day. But the trip kind of came together at the 11th hour, very close to the time. I kept thinking it wasn’t really going to happen. “C” and “D” only met each just other a few weeks before traveling, at the visa office in South Africa. Next thing we were on the train platform together making a “joint kitty” for our spending money.
Faced with everything from healing broken hearts, managing life and work chapters ending, emotional exhaustion, anticipating somewhat terrifying beginnings, love affairs unfolding and unforeseen tragic deaths and countless ICU discussions in our circles – we had to face it all on the terrace! Daily terrace talks. Many a candle was lit for protection and prayers in the gazillion of churches we explored with blistered feet together.
We covered it all…
Always coming back to holding on to the dreams in our hearts …
There was no judgement – just plenty of compassion along with honest, tough love delivered in a flash when needed. There was heartfelt sharing, honesty, exposing and probing. We were all on the receiving end of hugs, humour and perfectly timed eye rolls before shrieking with laughter with each other. Not at each other. No emotion was spared the terrace.
WHAT IS IF ALL GOES RIGHT?
Have you ever declined an adventure ‘cos you thought it could go terribly wrong? Because you simply didn’t know each other well enough? Well, what if it all went strangely right – and your cohorts and perfect Terrace Trio awaits you?
For those 2 weeks of my life, C and D were the only two women in the world I was meant to be with. Even when life was cruelly pulling us all in other directions. I am stronger, more resilient, and filled with memories of a lifetime from saying yes to our trio. Even when I have never loved 3 folk gathering together – go figure I have 2 siblings lol!
Wishing you a lifetime of ever-expanding friendships that show up in unexpected terraces near you.
Yours in light,
PS: FANCY SOME ISLAND TERRACE TALKS?
Could your midlife transition benefit from some sacred witnessing with both tears and laughter at the same time?
Imagine a delightful island version of these Terrace Talks around a fire on IONA?
Join this intimate group of brave like-minded women where it’s all about shared experiences, compassion and vulnerable sharing as we release some debris from our hearts and souls once and for all. Next one April 2023!