Community bonding counteracts perilous time

Gethsemane Garden, Chicago IL / Terry Edlin

President Trump’s shameful and embarrassing decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement makes an even stronger case for community bonding.

Unless you are a big, rich corporation, we only have each other.

As we know too well, these are perilous times. The president has unleashed hateful forces and encouraged violence when mental illness is widespread but often unrecognized, untreated and even mentally ill people can buy guns. That should be unbelievable but it’s true.

As we have become more polarized, our customary civility no longer binds or even protects us.

The sane and effective response is more belonging, not more guns. Now more than ever, we need each other. In earlier times, colleagues would often socialize after work. These days, many people don’t even go to jobs. Spending too much time alone, with only your thoughts and no one to reflect them back, people get weird. That’s why the Geneva Conventions ban solitary confinement.

This comment from a recent post speaks of the need and the difficulty.

I always feel connected when I read your newsletter. I am currently struggling with the loss of a nine-year friendship, and I have to force myself to get out there and meet new people. For my well-being, feeling part of a community is essential and I am not feeling part of a community right now which is painful. I have hope though that I will take the risks needed to feel part of a community again. Your writing gives me hope.

How do we cultivate the sense of belonging that is essential to our well-being?

Turning off the television or throwing it out altogether is a good start. Then, find a community that you could resonate with and stick around long enough to see if it does. Give it time to see if you become comfortable enough for friendships to take root and flourish. Don’t stop there. Cast your net wide by dabbling in many communities and be on the lookout for people who could become your tribe.

Meetups© are another way to meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter who could well brighten your outlook and broaden your horizons. Meetup lists 1,958 groups near me. That’s a lot to choose from.

Eating together is wonderful for bonding and potlucks are the way to go – everyone shares the effort and the expense. The offerings are often homemade and delicious. If you are invited to a potluck, go! If you don’t cook, take something that you want to eat and others will want to eat it too.

Lastly, don’t give up. A good friend appeared out of the blue last fall. We connect on many levels – spiritual, political, environmental, lifestyle, thriftiness, and occasionally cook for each other. She may not know how positive her impact has been.

You never know what’s around the corner. It could be something really good.

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