Creating Community In A Disconnected World
As a society we are on a precipice. We are at the edge of an evolutionary leap, a potential rebirth that is predicated on how enlightened we die (figuratively and literally).
The fairy tale is over and the wizard behind the curtain is the one staring at you in the mirror.
We are focused on the superficial of our lives, only seeing what can be observed, the concrete, the tangible. The news outlets spoon feed us what they believe is important – or simply anything that will trigger an emotion no matter how negative. We can no longer tell truth from fiction. We have forgotten why we came here and who we really are.
We cannot explain the feelings we have of loneliness and aloneness despite living in a hyper connected world. The internet has become our café where we meet to exchange information, to share our trials, to throw a bit of humor into each other’s day or to demonstrate what we believe by a simple, non-committal click of LIKE. When we feel helpless we send prayers over Facebook appeasing our guilt or distracting us from our sorrow.
Little wonder there is emptiness. We have forgotten how to have real conversations. We are disconnected not only from each other but from the earth and everything in it and beyond it.
We have lost sight of what is only visible to the heart.
In Mark Nepo’s book, More Together Than Alone: Discovering the Power and Spirit of Community in Our Lives and in the World he writes:
The word community derives from the Latin, commun, meaning “common.” The same root informs the word communicate (to share our understanding, to have understanding in common) and communion (to share our experience, to have experience in common). It’s not by chance that the word community contains unity. Our possibility is rooted in the very word. For community is an ever-potent seed waiting for our effort and care to animate what we have in common, so we can share our understanding and experience in our time on Earth.
A Deeper Conversation
As I sat on my balcony overlooking the Pacific I reflected on my work of last week. I facilitated a personal retreat for a woman who came to reconnect with herself, someone who’s job is global and challenging, requiring her energy, time and commitment in what is often dangerous circumstances.
When she first wrote I was struck by her honesty – perhaps more accurate words should’ve been vulnerability and courage. She came with a burning question around her future and her purpose, how to grow into the potential she knew lay dormant inside the shadows of her being, longing to be aroused and brought to the light. She could see that spark within herself even as the space around it was shadowy and dark.
These are the significant conversations that take place here in this refuge we built with Nature as the container for essential life questions. Our approach - Convivencia – means to be in community with or as I prefer to say, to be human together. Mark Nepo in his book speaks to a shared experience that unifies us, it connects us to one another. “It’s not by chance that the word community contains unity”, he says.
We are no longer sharing our stories. We are only sharing our opinions, our biases and our ideas, but not our stories.
Stories create a sense of community. I see myself in your story and you see yourself in my story. Our individual and collective stories emerge like a hologram, one an element of the other transforming into a misplaced puzzle piece when not held as the larger human story (community).
When we experience ourselves in community we lose the fear of the “other” who may not be like us but nevertheless holds experiences that can nourish our life and help us grow. These are what I call “encounters” – this synchronistic joining together to share the elements of our lives so we can all generate more life, more growth and more purpose.
Nepo goes on to say:
Trust, courage, and the ability to listen are the agencies of heart that allow us to rejoin. These are the qualities that each soul has waiting within it like golden seeds to be watered by the strength of our kindness. This is the purpose of community: to water these seeds and to join and rejoin.
Only by looking into the mirror and beginning a dialogue with your Self will you begin to open to a deeper conversation with the “other”. Yes, it’s starts with you, and me, and each of us, watering the seeds within to move through this dying experience into a renaissance of light and consciousness where the strength of the individual becomes the thread weaving the tapestry of community.
My Invitation to You
If you’re a social entrepreneur or someone committed to a deeper conversation with your Self, join me for a personal retreat to discover how your potential, talents, experience and passion might serve to ignite the changes needed in your community.