We are in such dire need of community and belonging. We're divided across almost every line - culture, gender, race, political preference. Our President creates more dissonance and unrest every time he takes to the microphone or Twitter. Digital obsession wipes out connection with each other IRL (in real life).
It's no coincidence live storytelling, like the Moth, is so popular right now. Or solo performances, music festivals, live theater, comedy shows. Or something like Daybreaker - the early morning, totally sober dance party I went to a couple weeks ago, held in 25 cities around the world. Their mission? To bring connection through dancing among hundreds of strangers, with reckless abandon. Yes!
And the science backing all of this is expansive. Neuroscience of Storytelling, Community Psychology, Expressive Arts Therapy. And I love what researchers are uncovering in their studies of Neurocardiology- which studies the brain/heart connection and the effects of the thousands of neurons in our hearts. Neurons! The nerve cells best known for controlling thoughts...in our brains. But there they are in our hearts too, creating a symbiotic, two-way communication flow between our heart and our brains.
Or consider the social cognitive research findings that directly associate social pain with physical pain. The fascinating idea that our brains process the feeling of, say, being left out or shamed the same way it processes back ache or a scraped up knee. Brings phrases like, "hurt feelings" and "broken heart" into new light, doesn't it?
Alright, I'm done nerding out on the science.
My point is that community is not a nice-to-have, despite the respect our culture hands out to leaders and innovators who "go it alone". The admiration we have for those who stake claim to ideas/companies/movements as a product of their own doing rather than sharing the spotlight with their teams (think Larry Ellison or, ahem...Donald Trump). When in reality, most of our country's heroes are surrounded by groups of equally brilliant, all-star players who help bring their big idea to the world.
We need one another not only to survive, but to thrive. Yes, even amidst the wild and craziness that is our world today - with all the barracks and sidelines, all the digital mayhem and fear. We're bigger and brighter than all of that and we deserve to honor our collective
I've been on a personal mission this past year to seek out and cultivate new tribe members to join me in unleashing our creative aliveness. And it's funny how things work: Life was good. Friendships were solid. Things were steady and good. And then WHAM! The universe came along with balloons and a banner that read, "Surprise!" and the most beautiful group of women showed up in my life. I mean, just last week, I've had coffee chats, voiceover workshops, writing dates, and lunchtime ideation sessions with brand new friends. And I've gotta say, I haven't felt this lit up in a long time.
So let's keep storytelling, dancing, going to festivals and lovin' up on one another.
We are in charge of our personal joy. And our connection.
I encourage all of us: Connect.