The women of the Mevlevi Order of America taught me about friendship with women. I remember my first meeting with a very special woman in the beginning of my association with the Dervishes, even before I had taken on the work of photographing them on their tours and during Maui based events. As I walked up the lawn of the community center in Maui where a Zikr was about to start, I saw a beautiful woman, Karima, resplendent in blue turning clothes. She is the one in the center of the photo on the right, becoming almost transparent in her turning. She said something to me that evening that didn’t really register as the real truth of the statement until writing the book.
Barbara, on the left, and Lillian behind her, have both taken a special place in my heart. I know that no matter the day or season, I can call on them for support. West Coast ladies, it isn’t often that I am able to see them.
The ladies of the Order have shared many of the deepest joys and pains of my life. Three and four day workshops, seeing them transform in front of my camera lens, always ended with a feeling of great love and satisfaction, sorry to part but knowing distance was the only thing that separated us.
Maile will remain one of my truest, bestest friends. She and Cynthia were such fun, loving ladies to hang with. I miss seeing Maile’s face as often as we were able to do while living in Maui, and the book is dedicated to Cynthia who shared a special dream with me that fit us both.
There are many preconceptions a person can carry around with them in their baggage of life. Prejudices, fears and damage inflicted in past life situations, set me up to not see the beauty of the human beings who share my gender. If I were to have to choose the thing that I am most thankful for from hanging with the Whirling Dervishes, I would be hard pressed not to say: learning how to be true friends with women, and the women of this order specifically.
Don’t let old junk in your attic keep you from enjoying the many treasures that can be found in friendships with women. Love shared with women friends is the most amazing love. This blog post cannot hold all the women friends I have made through the years. Just a few more mentions before I close: June Ure, Gulum, Khadija, Rebekah, Mariam, Tasmin, Patricia, Jamila….so, so many I cannot even list them all. So don’t think I have forgotten you. Each and every woman that I met and came to love is in my heart. Huuuuu