The powerful energy of community has saved me during these challenging times. Perhaps it has for you as well?
What a blessing, the many forms of belonging I’ve recently had the privilege to experience — from rich professional and neighborhood rendezvous to the online Midlife Magnificence Facebook group I created, I’ve managed to relish the soothing, satisfying balm of us humans meaningfully coming together. They’ve been times richly-laden with the sharing of stories, struggles, support, and successes. Miraculous things have occurred during these beautiful, simple moments of connection.
Author Brene Brown once shared a story about a village where all the women would go down to the river to wash clothes together. When they all got washing machines, there was an outbreak of depression because of the absence of doing things together. It was the absence of community.
I believe in the magic of community, and the cozy comfort it offers, as an experience worth pursuing in as many forms as possible. Community matters, especially as we navigate times of increased isolation, because these times can also merge into periods of acute loneliness. We are wired for connection. We long to belong. When we have such, we are all the better for it. Our hearts, minds, and souls are fed. This is because thriving happens in community. We feel seen, heard, and understood.
Perhaps too frequently, our desire to feel like a valuable part of a group remains unconscious until we find our special community. Experiencing this ignites awareness of how much we’ve missed and needed it. We discover with great delight the personal impact of being part of a group. There’s truly nothing better than the energy of inclusion and of developing meaningful relationships.
Communing for Pleasure
I’m writing this piece the morning after a deeply satisfying evening spent on my front porch with two of my neighbors. As a sweet little community of three, we communed for four delicious, heart-opening hours. We were three vibrant, interesting, visionary women of different ages and backgrounds brought together, in part, because our houses rest side-by-side.
Yet, living on the same street is only one small aspect of what brought us together and super- charged our conversation. Wine and treats were the backdrop, yes. However, it was our curiosity of spirit and openness to listen, share, and learn from each other that really juiced me up. In other words, one valuable aspect of allowing oneself to experience community is the pleasure of personal expansion it brings each participant. To feel and be felt in relationship with others is no small thing!
Community with Purpose
During these turbulent times we are living through, the opportunity to be part of a group experience organized around a given topic or specific purpose is a deeply empowering example of community. Anchoring oneself amidst a gathering of like-minded souls is a great way to describe the entrepreneurial mastermind group I’ve enjoyed this past year. Imagine it: ten powerful, spiritually-centered female business leaders from all over the USA virtually coming together every week for an entire year. We’re women committed to up-leveling and growing our practices. Talk about being incredibly inspired and supported!
I must additionally mention the sweet joy and generosity of spirit I experienced while being part of this team of dedicated, professional goddesses. We truly got to know each other. We shared business aspirations. We cheered and celebrated each other every step of the way — every little win or courageous personal stretch recognized and appreciated.
The work momentum that was created, especially during days when the isolation of COVID-19 realities kept us physically apart, was truly invaluable. We profoundly impacted each others’ lives as we shared our expertise and business wisdom. We had many laughs and great fun, too, in the process of furthering careers.
Here’s a special shout-out of appreciation here to our Femme Genius Mastermind leader, Carla Samson, who was brilliantly instrumental in creating our group and guiding us ever-forward in our growth. Sometimes a community evolves from the desire one individual has to call others of similar mindset together.
And as icing on the cake, our little group was finally able to come together in person at a summer retreat to mark the close of our year-long partnership. What an absolute joy to meet off-screen at a beautiful cottage on a lake in Brooklyn, MI. We savored a long weekend playing together while also masterminding on our businesses. Pleasures included meditation and movement practices, delicious food, paddle boarding, swimming, a long walk, movie-watching, a beginner’s rapping lesson, time in the sauna, and toasting with glasses of prosecco while watching the sunset. Community at its finest!
Community for Support
I can’t resist also mentioning here a Facebook community — my Midlife Magnificence Group — I started a year ago. I had a deep desire for women like myself to have a place to come together and share notes on this unique time in our lives. I believe that we discover more about ourselves when we vulnerably and courageously share personal realities and stories.
In this group, I offer posts to facilitate discussions and wisdom about midlife. The group members share posts, thoughts, and feelings too. Together we make our way, supporting each other to dare greatly during this precious time in our lives. We cheer each other on, and commiserate when necessary. Most importantly, we remind each other of all that’s yet to come. We nudge each other toward dreams yet realized, toward standing powerful and radiant in our full magnificence. For there is still so much more music ready to be played inside each of us!
So Many Needs Met
We are not meant to go it alone, dear ones! Time spent in community is time well spent. The experience of community is an opportunity to have some of our most essential needs met. Our need for love, support, encouragement, recognition, and fun is part of coming together. We ache to be seen, heard, and to feel we belong. We need to let ourselves have this pleasure tenfold, this pleasurable balm of community!
This article was also published in The Brick Magazine.