Since the beginning of time, people have gathered together — community, religion, family, sports, birthdays, church.
Existing together physically has significance and potency – so much so that without it, we suffer.
Over the past few months, as words like social distancing, PPE, stimulus checks, and coronavirus have become part of our households’ normal conversations, the ability for our villages to thrive has been challenged.
I have devoted the past few years of my life to creating safe, sacred spaces for people in my community – both physically and virtually. It started as a way to bring more resources to pregnant women and new families, and turned into something much greater.
I realized very quickly that it wasn’t just new mothers who felt unsupported when it came to their transition into parenthood.
People feel unsupported every day.
Whether it is as a result of a big life decision like buying a new house, getting married, or getting a divorce, being affected by addiction, or simply feeling like they are not enough in a world that tells us constantly we have to be more, The Village began to attract people from all walks of life who felt isolated, and who felt as if they belonged nowhere.
As the message got out that our village accepts everyone and judges no one, it began to grow. Our in person meetings began to turn into jam-packed sessions full of new faces each and every week, and our digital community expanded.
Now, as COVID-19 has forced us to practice physical distancing — true isolation — I am beginning to witness the need for villages now more than ever. Additionally, I am extremely grateful that building my own personal village has been something I have been doing for a while now. Without it, this season would be incredibly difficult.
When we are required to distance ourselves from the things we enjoy doing, from the people we love, and from the normalcy of life, something interesting happens as we find ourselves in stillness: We have no other choice but to face the parts of us we have been running from. And when that happens, it is easy for us to begin to feel crazy, uncertain, and like we are not enough, or that we are doing things wrong. Add to that the sad reality that many of us do not have adequate support among our friends and family, and we have a recipe for disaster.
Over the years, I have had all kinds of people join us at retreats, events, and meetings. There is one thing I can say without a doubt: As humans, we all experience shame around some of our truest feelings — so much so that we will never even speak of them. Whether it is shame around being in a toxic relationship and mental health issues, or the shame and guilt that comes with being successful and wealthy when everyone around you is not, there is this weird thing that happens when we don’t have a supportive group of people to share with… and that weird thing can spiral us into some scary and dark places.
I know this to be true because I have personally experienced it, and I have been a witness to similar experiences of others. Simultaneously, I have had the privilege to witness massive transformations occur. Just as something dark and scary can happen when we have no one to support us, something unbelievably beautiful and miraculous can happen when we have the momentum of a supportive and loving village alongside us.
As we navigate this unprecedented time, I urge each and every one of you to find your village. Reach out to the people who inspire you. Fill your social media feeds with positivity and content that makes you feel good. Connect virtually with friends using tools like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. Devote time to process your emotions and to move your body. Above all, do not forget that we are all in this together, trying to do the best that we can and we are all more connected than we think.
If you would like to join our Village or are looking for support, please consider visiting www.thevillage15401.com to see what we are all about and to get access to our calendar that includes virtual events and meetings.
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