Kathleen Hirsch | Welcome to The Conversation
Writing and musings by author Kathleen Hirsch.
kathleen hirsch, writer, spiritual director, boston, ma, spiritual writing
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Welcome to The Conversation

Welcome to The Conversation

Welcome to the re-launch of my blog!

The past two months have been a flurry of travel and work, visits to beautiful places and connection with friends not seen in years.

All have made me aware that beyond the realms of the daily strivings – even, the hours of creativity and actions to better the world –  friendship is the most precious thing that we share, something so valuable that I have changed this site to reflect it.

The change is towards dialogue.   My hope is that this will become a place where we pool the insights of our passing days to sustain us on our journeys.   I hope my stories and reflections will inspire yours, that you will chime in, and that this will become a space of gathered wisdom for all who care to visit.

I am calling it: The Conversation.

The Conversation will rely on your Comments – please note the added feature here.

Stay tuned.  I am in the process of creating other opportunities for gathering – in person and virtually.

But now, a brief offering from my time away.

A dear friend passed away yesterday after four valiant years of battling cancer.  I can still see Deborah at her 50th birthday party, twenty-odd years ago.  She had rented a small performance space in Boston, set up café tables for us, her audience, and for an hour dazzled and delighted us with her virtuoso piano playing and singing from on stage.

I’m sure that night most of us were thinking,  “Wow – would I ever have the guts to do this?!?!?”

But not Deborah.  She was fearless, exuberant, sensational – bold, humorous, and delighted by life.  Always.  Mostly, she was thrilled to be with friends, giving us the pleasure of her talents, capabilities, and vast stores of Texan humor, that lit up every room she ever entered.

All of us who knew her will carry her light to the end of our days, and hopefully cast a bit of it for others before our last breaths.

Rediscovering the grace and original blessing of friends had been the gift of these past few months for me.  I’ve gathered with old high school friends also struggling with illness, pulled out wedding albums and newspaper clippings from childhood, shared meals and stories, reacquainted with their children, and done those silly, remarkably meaningful things like recalling the flavors of lollipops at the amusement part we frequented as 12 years old.

Can it get better than this — that I have friends with whom I can share such memories?

None of these conversations were about who’s right or wrong, who’s up or down, who has been to the latest restaurant or has something to say about the book they are reading.  They haven’t been filled with obsessive worrying.  They haven’t even been about the ample topics we’ve made the time to catch up on.

Not at all.

These things are fine in moderation, the wholecloth of our daily rounds.  But the “conversations” I’m describing have had value chiefly in the words beneath the spoken words.

They’ve been about vulnerability, trust, and self-disclosure.  Even when we’ve been talking about coconut-flavored lollipops, we’ve been engaged in exchanges of the heart, a flow of communion, support and love that words just dress in temporal garb.

I hope that such meaningful conversation will continue here, and become a wellspring for us all.

Please join me!

Happy Summer

7 Comments
  • Lyn Holley Doucet

    July 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm Reply

    I was on the pilgrimage with Mary Sue O’Reilly and she touched upon the magic of our time together. I think women long to come together and to sit in circle with one another. We are finding ways…it may be a pilgrimage, a book study, or centering prayer each week. As women,perhaps we can save the world.

  • Nancy Rappaport

    June 30, 2017 at 8:55 am Reply

    A wonderful idea to live intentionally with humility and joy in connecting .
    As you know I had breast cancer last year and chose to do a one woma.n show Regeneration about the journey. . The last lines of my poem are
    In a flock a failing bird is shunned
    Learns to hide illness .
    I hide nothing
    As my flock surrounds me
    As I dance around my fear.
    I can only imagine what comfort deborah got from her flock if you were part of it as a quiet force compelled to share with us your pain and treasuring of friendship

    • kathleen.hirsch

      June 30, 2017 at 9:15 am Reply

      So looking forward to seeing your play, Regeneration, this fall in New York, Nancy. Feel free to post details here, for others who may wish to see it as well.

      Hiding pain and illness is a zero sum game. Like it or not, it is one of the ways that growth and wisdom comes.

      Peace to you.

  • Sue O'Reilly

    June 29, 2017 at 10:46 pm Reply

    Recently, I returned from a “pilgrimage” to the south of France where I joined 12 women whom I had not previously met. What we had in common was a grounding in the spiritual life and an attraction to Mary Magdalene. Our ages ranged from mid 40’s to 80. What was amazing was how quickly we formed community and how profound was that experience. Yes, the setting was luxurious: a small 5 star hotel with an excellent culinary reputation set on the grounds of a 12th century Benedictine Abbey. But our routine was fairly simple. An hour of prayer, chanting, silence, and sharing in the morning and evening followed by lengthy dining and artistic presentation as the French love to do. And lots of conversation and laughter at the meals. The days were spent exploring local monasteries, discussing Mary Magdalene as she is found in scripture and art, and spending time together on the bus. All of us left with a feeling of belonging, connection, and having been in a place of beauty and healing. We so long for this; how do we create experiences like this; to carve out enough leisure and sacred time to form “soul communities”?

    • kathleen.hirsch

      June 30, 2017 at 5:28 am Reply

      Dear Sue,
      You have raised the most important question of our times, I believe. I have “lived” this question for many years, and I hope to delve into it more here and in a book I am currently working on.
      I think we may need to adjust the way we view — and value — our time. I know how easy it is to get swept into the frenetic pace set by a world of constant tweets, news blasts, and urges to buy, improve, act.
      Your experience on the pilgrimage gave you a taste of what can happen when you leave the cell phone at home, and practice deep presence for a time.
      How do we do this, even for an hour, each day?
      How do we “learn” our way into a different kind of life?
      Thanks for sharing!

  • Perry Colmore

    June 29, 2017 at 11:33 am Reply

    Thank you Kathleen. I didn’t know Deborah well then and had never heard the story of her 50th birthday party. What a hoot and how like Deborah. She used that same fearless gutsy drive these last four years to live her life with joy. Now in her last 13 days in at-home Hospice care, she brought us all together, new friends, old friends. She lives on.

  • Michael O'C

    June 29, 2017 at 10:38 am Reply

    Causing me to think differently! Thanks Kathy!

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