Seeing the connective tissue of community become visible makes our hearts sing at WholeHeart. This year, we made two new friends in Maine who embody this form of love-in-action: Heather Omand and Bonnie Rukin. They shared their friendship and passion for healthy food systems and greatly enriched our circles.
Heather: I don’t remember exactly the first time a planned one hour meeting with Bonnie (intended to focus on Slow Money Maine topics) turned into a three hour heartfelt, deeply vulnerable conversation about personal and professional weariness and wondering (wandering?), but I do know it wasn’t the last.
I’ve always felt seen by Bonnie – I remember feeling surprised and excited when she first invited me to join the Steering Committee of SMM. I’ve always appreciated her deep history and longstanding leadership in Maine’s food systems. In that context, Bonnie brings a wealth of experience and perspective to ideas and approaches I propose for new events, or to build our online presence, or to cultivate new, young, patient investors. Her knowledge, belief in me, and leadership grounds and guides my less experienced energy and new perspective.
What has been most influential for me, though, has been sharing the questioning and longing regarding impact with her: is what we are doing actually changing things for the better? Regardless of the answer, what does it mean? Where and what is our work in the world? Sharing the love, grief, passion and discomfort that elicits, confronts, and is generated by these questions with Bonnie has increased my capacity and courage to continue to have those conversations with myself and others.
Bonnie: I’m not sure that I can easily separate the engaging qualities of an individual based on generational rather than personality aspects. With Heather, I was drawn to her qualities of artistic creativity, of insightful approaches with issues that we share in our work with building a local food economy, of observation and listening in professional group exchanges, of her open, light-filled, adventurous spirit, among other things.
When we began to meet on our own, I loved feeling an immediate sense of trust and transparency between us, that allowed us to plumb the depths of our inner work quite quickly. Though our inner and external sources of turmoil differed, they clearly reflected common aspects of our essences. Though our ages separated us by more than 40 years, our shared intentions to courageously explore on our own and with each other, brought us together in mutually comfortable and nourishing ways. We clearly developed a loving connection to ourselves, to each other, and to our questions without seeking or needing answers in our evolving friendship, which I accept as a gift, with deep gratitude.
Heather is a member of the 2018-2019 Vermont Courage Cohort and Bonnie was a part of Hurricane Island CourageEarth 2019. The lead photo is of Bonnie holding Heather’s son, Atom, a number of years ago at a time of new beginnings. Gratitude to Heather & Bonnie for being a part of the widening circles of WholeHeart and for your inspirational stories of intergenerational, transformational friendship.