What we crave: connection & community
Recently after speaking at a women’s leadership conference on work-life balance, I was approached by a woman from the audience, her eyes were filled with tears.
She said while sitting listening to me talk about the importance of building a support network (read more), she had a light bulb moment. Even though she attended a monthly girls’ night out, a book club meeting and was involved in her neighborhood association, what she is really missing is a deeper sense of connection and community with others. Her heart was longing for conversations saturated with meaning and authenticity.
I hear this everywhere I go from men and women all over the world: successful professionals, other parents, men who are seeking new ways of being and women at the retreats I lead.
We’re moving so fast, attempting to navigate the demands of a 24/7 world that rarely slows down and leaves us feeling largely malnourished. We’re juggling too much and are socialized to be superficial in our day-to-day interactions, which leaves us starving for what we most crave:heart-felt connection, dialogue around what keeps us up at night, the chance to matter and the opportunity to connect with others who are as interested in our “inner life” as our “outer life.”
When I started the Personal Renewal Group Program for mothers in 2002 (read more) I didn’t realize how palpable the need was to “gather the women.” Today, fourteen years later, I believe when we circle up, connect with one another and share on a deeper level in an empowering environment –this has a huge ripple effect and society as a whole benefits.
Where is your soft place to fall? Who do you go to, to share what’s in your heart, not just what’s on your mind? What organizations or groups support you bringing forth the best that is within you? Where do you feel connected to a larger community? Where can you show up warts and all (as my mentor says) and be the “real” you?
My mentor Dr. Richard Miller, creator of the powerful meditation practice Yoga Nidra iRest says we all have four basic needs: to be seen, heard, connect and belong. As I get older I see that all the mastermind groups, women’s circles, retreats and long teas I make time for are not a luxury, they’re like oxygen (particularly in our current times). And we must create the time and space for this type of connection if we’re to live sustainably.
We were not meant to live in isolation; we’re meant to be interconnected. And as dramatic as it may sound, I believe the future health of our planet will be largely dependent on our ability to create truly meaningful, intentional community with one another.