I am a firm believer in the power of community. I call my communities my “tribes” – the friends, family, and coaches – the people who are my greatest support network. My tribes are my cheerleaders, my voice of reason, my inspiration, my tough love, my shoulders to cry on, and my celebrators. I honestly feel that I would not be my best version of myself without the support and insights of my tribes and community and all the rich experiences I’ve shared with these amazing, beautiful souls. I am often flooded with gratitude when I bring to mind all those people who enrich my life and who have held my hand in times of both joy and pain.
My networks and support systems of loved ones stretch from coast to coast, though, and this sometimes makes it difficult to feel connected to those whose lives I want to be a part of. Yet, I find ways to do so, because I value those connections.
The love, acceptance and sense of belonging we find in community feeds and nurtures us. Creating connections and community might be one of the most powerful foundations into which we can invest our time and energy.
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day, American journalist and social activist
We all crave connection and we all need one another. Why go it alone? Humans were built for connection and it is a necessity for us to thrive and grow.
The first and most important relationship is of course with ourselves – finding connection to oneself and being aware and reflective is only way to know ourselves. The community and relationships we build can enhance this initial connection.
How do you find and build community and connection in your life?
What does deepening your connection to yourself look like?
What does your “tribe” look like?
What are ways that you enjoy connecting to your chosen communities?
What becomes most challenging is reaching out and nurturing our connections when we are busy and feeling that we are stuck or going through tough spots in life. It is easy to withdraw from others when our insecurities rise up or we are in a difficult situation. Sometimes that warrants some solitude and reflection and inward centering. But, we are not islands. When the most difficult times in life are upon us, and we are mired in the muck and messiness of life, it is then that we most need each other. We are here to lean upon one another and lift each other up. Yet, nurturing those connections throughout life takes some energy. It is easy to become so busy that we inadvertently lose touch with one another. This is normal. So, who do you want to ensure you stay connected to and how will you choose to maintain those bonds?
Some simple reminders and ideas on staying connected:
- When you think of someone, why not take a moment to reach out and let them know you are thinking of her/him – take the 5 minutes to send an email, a message, write a quick note card to pop in the snail mail (who doesn’t love to get real mail!) or, the most direct, pick up the phone to say hello or leave a voice message. The simplest actions have immense power and huge impact
- Call up a positive memory of being with loved ones and you will find that the feelings and smile of that shared experience fills you with gratitude and generates a deeper sense of feeling connected despite any physical distance
- Schedule in regular (weekly/monthly) meetups with a dear friend. If he/she is a distance away, then why not take advantage of the luxury of technology – Skype and Face time are beautiful options to draw us closer to each other. We often let distance come between us. There are advantages to living in such a technology-driven, interconnected and cyber networked society. So, use that technology for real-time connection and to “see” your loved ones.
- Find a group or club that centers around your interests – connecting with new friends over a shared interest builds community
- Start your own club or group around a passion of yours. Finding one or two other friends who are open to committing with you makes it a little easier.
- Volunteer and share of yourself with others – a surefire way to connect and feel good
- Re-connect with yourself. Be in nature. Look up and around you. Notice your surroundings and listen and take in the sights, sounds and elements of your environment. We ultimately feel more grounded when immersing ourselves in nature – whether that be a walk in the city park or a hike in the mountains
- A playful challenge: While walking down the street, try to catch the eyes of others and smile. Unfortunately this is not always met with a positive response. But when you do make a fleeting connection with a stranger, and the other person smiles back at you, that simple exchange and acknowledgment of one another is a shared connection and a beautiful thing – a moment of spreading some joy and love.
How will you find time to connect to yourself and to your “tribes” today?
Go enjoy and appreciate one another!
Rebekah Kane, Founder of Tell a New Story Coaching, coaches and empowers people through job, career and life transitions with less stress, more balance, ease and joy. www.tellanewstorycoaching.com