You are not an island.
This past year and a half have been a reminder to me that I need people. Not just any "people" but people who hold steadfast to the same values as I. In fact, in the early days of the pandemic, my yearning for a community was so powerful that I started one of my own. I cheekily named it the "Squad" and for a year and a half, every Wednesday we met engaged in profound conversations that gave me the comradery that I craved. Every week for 75 weeks, I sat perched in front of my computer and led empowering and educational conversations on topics from the enneagram to racial healing (and everything in between).
Through this act of communion, 25 human beings that never would have connected in the "outside" world became the best of friends. And what's more, 2 weeks ago, I packed up my car and headed to the upper region of Wisconsin. Nestled in the thicket of ancient elms, I prepared to meet my community in person.
I hosted a 3-day retreat for these strangers (yet dearest friends) in the hopes of continuing our colorful conversations in the flesh.
"PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE, ARE THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD"-Barbra Streisand
When the first car arrived, my stomach was riddled with knots. Will this online community I created translate seamlessly into the "real world"? Three familiar faces sauntered out of the car. They were a bit disheveled and disoriented from a day of travel. As our eyes met, something powerful happened-there was no distinction between time and space. My dearest friends were here-and the reunion was life-changing.
WHY IS A COMMUNITY IMPORTANT?
Here are my top reasons for not doing this thing called life alone-
Collective Wisdom- There is collective wisdom in surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals. This does not mean a homogeneous community of same-minded thinkers. It simply means that the group has a similar set of core values as you do.
Pushing Our Limits- A powerful community pushes us to think differently and do more. A genuine group of authentic humans gently nudge us to reframe ideas that we have long held.
Support And Belief- The side-effect of participating in the empowering space of a community is that you create a tribe that understands your story. When your path gets rocky you have cheerleaders reminding you of your strength.
Borrowed Motivation- Quite often, I came to our weekly meetings depleted and well, lacking the energy I needed to focus. The energy that poured out during each session provided me with an electrifying feeling that motivated me to do better each day.
New Ideas- Isolation, especially during the pandemic, often leads to a narrow way of thinking. The exchange of ideas allows for a fresh perspective that elevates our thoughts and actions.
Doing life alone deprives you of the rich tapestry of stories fellow humans have to offer. Doing life alone keeps you stuck in the monologue of your current situation. The power of having the strength of your community behind you allows you the access to believe bigger and do better. After all, isn't life better together?