Car Pool Counselling

By Anna Dyson

I am home from a day trip to another Junk Food cafe; Re-f-use in Chester-le-Street, just under two hours’ drive away. We had planned to take a car full of TLC team members, but in the end it was just the two of us who spent the day together, mainly on the A1, to visit this hugely inspirational community space. I will write about the visit in another blogpost, but here I want to turn the attention to the car trip itself.

I was driving and Shanaz was in the passenger seat. Our friendship has developed quickly since we first connected almost a year ago. Whilst both of us hate being stereotyped, or used for a posterboard advert, it is important to note that Shanaz is a practising Muslim, wears traditional clothing and a hijab to cover her hair. I am a practising Reform Jew, wearing mainly Western inspired comfortable fashion. We don’t look alike at all, we come from very different places and backgrounds, and do not share the same religion. Indeed, with events in Gaza over the past few days there was more potential for awkward silence or antagonism than there would be for laughter and solidarity.

However, mainly unexciting in terms of the view and journey (of course the scenery was beautiful Yorkshire and then County Durham countryside so far as the A1 carriageway allows), what emerged over those nearly four hours together was a sharing and talking together, pretty much non-stop, covering intimate and personal stories, reflections and world views. The car became a safe space for us to really get to know each other, far more deeply than, I imagine, either of us expected.

And, cheesy though it sounds, we have so much more in common than either of us thought possible.

It is also more than that.

Being wholeheartedly the full and true version of yourself, with all it’s vulnerabilities, contradictions, and uncomfortable truths, is brave.

But it is only by doing that, that the other person, equally as wholeheartedly, can embrace that person fully, respond in the same way, and therefore create a bond that is life affirming. unbreakable, and, together, incredibly powerful.

published by Anna Dyson
Founder and Director of ToastLoveCoffee. CEO of Dyson family, Roundhay (Leeds) branch which involves a huge array of skills impossible to imagine or articulate! Formerly, Jewish educator and community professional.


  1. posted by Natalie on Reply

    Glad you had a brilliant time, and look forward to the next blog x

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