Did you know this time we are living in is being called "The Age of Loneliness"?
Yes, we have such prosperity with our technological advances—many of which I am super grateful for and rely upon on a daily basis.
We can connect to each other with our phones and laptops with texts, tweets, social media posts, emails, and the like. We can access information so easily and be able to respond quickly to events or causes that need our attention and dollars. Over the past year, I myself have been grateful for the ways technology has allowed me to become a more informed, activated, and charitable citizen.
And yet, studies continue to show that we are the most lonely and disconnected from each other we’ve ever felt.
When I read that, it feels so true in my entire being. This sense that, despite our ability to “be connected” at any time, we are feeling that ache of belonging more than ever.
Today, we exist so much apart from each other. When you think about the span of humanity—how long humans have been alive and walking on this earth—this concept of isolating from each other in our own homes with fences, gates, and locks is a relatively new concept.
British activist George Monbiot calls humans “mammalian bees” who have depended entirely on each other since our earliest ancestors walked this earth.
We lived in tribal units, where the well-being of the greater collective was the measure of health. This modern-day impulse to self-sustain away from your community in a fenced off house in the suburbs has taken us a long way from the tribal mentality.
These days? We’re busy.
In all our ambition and effort to be more productive and fill the blank spaces in our calendars with errands and email inboxes and mindless social media scrolling, we’ve lost those opportunities for repeated spontaneous encounters that build connection and friendship.
Friendships are things we choose to do, while obligations of family, career, spouses, etc. are things we have to do.
But we’re here now. We’re alive in this time and space where loneliness and disconnection is one of our greatest struggles.
So I ask all of us: How can we refuse to default to the status quo of isolation?
How can we bring back community connection with deep intention, knowing we are the most connected and busy we’ve ever been as a species?
How can we make where we live more conducive to community?
One way I’m trying to do my part is through gathering women in circle—the way our great-great-great-grandmothers once knew how to do. I’ve craved it so much in my life, that I’ve created it in my own community and help other women do it in theirs in my program GATHER.
Because I’ve realized we can no longer assume deep friendship and community connection will come into our lives. We have to be part of creating it ourselves—in the communities we live in. We may be in the Age of Loneliness, but we can do our part to make sure our communities thrive and no one is left behind.
I’d love to hear from you! What are you doing in your community to bring back these feelings of connection? Share in the comments below.
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