The power of community

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve slowly felt myself coming back to life.

And I know exactly why: a HUGE piece of my holistic happiness puzzle was massively missing during the ISO weeks of COVID-19 and now I can feel it’s slowly finding its way back, and that’s COMMUNITY!

Shit does it matter. Way more than so many people imagine. Maybe I feel it because I live alone and rely so much on community to fill my cup of human connections. But we were all designed to be together, to be social. As human beings, we thrive on company. It lifts us up, fills our heart and gives us purpose. And no amount of self-care and mindfulness in other shapes or forms can make up or substitute for that. Believe me, I tried!

Community is EVERYTHING!

It might seem like nothing. That ritual of heading out to a busy cafe, restaurant or bar and soaking up the energy, smiles and laughter of the people you’re with and the strangers around you. Hearing the music, the vibe, the buzz! The gym or your yoga studio may feel just like something you do for fitness, but you choose to go do that in a group for a reason. Connection.

For me, connection and community is a massive driver in everything I do and I MISSED IT. It’s having business meetings, attending or hosting regular health and wellness events where we all get to exchange ideas, updates, advice, support and just sit in a space with a bunch of peeps that align and sit on my juicy level and share an awesome experience. It’s having guests in the studio with me and Cal for our podcast face-to-face. Being able to chill before and after we record and connect for the first time or the first time in a while. It’s popping over to my sister and bro-in-law’s place on a Friday or Saturday night for a feed, chat, some wine and quality time and cuddles with my nephew. It’s heading down to the beach at 6.30am every Wednesday to jump in the water with a bunch of fellow young, high-on-life locals that are just as slightly “woo woo” as me to laugh, connect, share, drink coffee and learn about each other before we go about our day.

Community is also what drives courage and beauty amidst hardships. You only have to look at some of the wonderful actions that have come about due to COVID-19…

(Pic above is courtesy of @cold_nips – thanks guys!!)

Nurses and health professionals finally getting the recognition and appreciation they deserve. Teachers going above and beyond to help students (and parents!) cope and get through school work. Instagram starting Support Small Business hashtags for stories so you can mention your favourite places and help them get through these times. Proud and loyal residents getting down to their local eateries to order coffee and take-out not because they have to or need to, but because they want to do their part to keep these places running. People buying classes and online memberships from their gyms and studios to support them while being closed. The supermarkets opening earlier for the elderly and many giving their time to shop on behalf of their elderly neighbour or family member or drop things round, to protect them from going out. Local online groups and movements being started like The Alliance by Modern People and Happiness Aid Live by Happiness Co – both of which I’ve had the pleasure of being part of and contributing my knowledge, expertise, face and GRATITUDE to. By making someone smile, I smile.

Banging of pots and pans in NY during Thank You hour. The Italians singing through their windows and balconies in the evenings to cheer each other up and remind one another they aren’t alone.

These are all acts and representation of community. And each of these little communities or entities are like extended groups of family. And family is EVERYTHING!

When I looked up words and meanings and phrases around community, this one by Jesse Jackson sung to me:

“Let nothing and nobody break your spirit. Let the unity in the community remain intact.”

In times of celebration, your community is there to share in joys and, in times of challenge – like these recent times of Corona Virus – it’s there to lift and keep your spirit afloat. There is a lot to be grateful for right there.

And this is why as life as it was pre-COVID slowly resumes, and online options for pretty much everything and anything we need still make it easy to never leave the house unnecessarily, we still will. Don’t ever underestimate or forget the power of community. We are wired to connect.

“Different cultures have different beliefs about how important social connection and interdependence are to our lives.  In the West, we like to think of ourselves as relatively immune to the sway of those around us while we each pursue our personal destiny.  But I think this is a story we like to tell ourselves rather than what really happens.” Scientist Matthew Lieberman