We try to do so much alone. And yet there is little that we, as humans, have accomplished without others. As individuals we don’t have the resources, physical or emotional, to make it all happen by ourselves. Even if you manage to get the important stuff taken care of, you’ll burn through your most precious resource eventually – you.
So it’s funny that our human nature can work against us to disconnect us from people. We make up stories, about them or about ourselves, we’re ashamed of something, we’re “too busy.” One way or another, we’re programmed to withdraw.
Our connection with other people is not trivial. Not only does nourishing a community make much more possible, it creates a far more nuanced and interesting world to live in. All by yourself the world looks one way. You can try to see it all, but from the vantage point of one, things can get very skewed. Other people bring richness and color. Other people quite literally bring a new world to you.
Out of habit, fear, or judgment we often miss out on the depth that connection brings. We muddle through with tentative hellos, polite nods, and quick, courteous exchanges. We might even notice the missed opportunities and the chances not taken, sometimes even making the separation more stark, having seen it pass right before our eyes.
Then there are the times when it happens. Connection. Spontaneously something opens. Life blooms before your eyes. Something is born in a moment. It is as satisfying as a meal for a starving man. Real connection can fill you up you beyond your imagination.
Even knowing this, we are building a world that moves us faster and farther apart than ever before. We immerse ourselves in technology that allows us to communicate without connecting. To send messages that can be crafted to hide who we are and what we are feeling. We “talk” more and say less. We convince ourselves that quantity is quality. We substitute convenience for connection.
But this is only a choice. It is not our destiny. The beauty of humanity is that we all crave connection. Sometimes all it takes is to ask. Someone is waiting right now. It will take some courage, but you’re up to the task. Make the call. Let them know you miss them. Stop by and have coffee. Invite someone you’ve been thinking about to dinner.
This thing we call community is strengthened by communion. It is a fabric we weave between us. Each connection is a thread that binds us together. It was started before you were born and will continue after you are gone. What you do now to enrich your life will ripple through the lives of today and the lives of tomorrow. And it all starts by reaching out.
Your Practice This Week is to Reach Out
What does that mean? Every day, you will reach out to connect with someone important to you:
- You must reach out and they must know you reached out in order to earn credit for the practice. That means if you call and they don’t answer, you must leave a message.
- You may use electronic forms of communication but it must be to set up a phone call or an in-person date in order to count.
- If you have a regular phone call, meet-up, dinner, etc., you may count it for the day, but we ask that you take a moment to reflect on what it brings to your life. You might consider sharing it with the person you’re connecting with.
- Don’t forget co-workers!