"So where I started was with connection. Because, by the time you're a social worker for 10 years, what you realize is that connection is why we're here. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it's all about. It doesn't matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice and mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is -- neurobiologically that's how we're wired -- it's why we're here. So I thought, you know what, I'm going to start with connection. Well you know that situation where you get an evaluation from your boss, and she tells you 37 things you do really awesome, and one thing -- an opportunity for growth? (Laughter) And all you can think about is that opportunity for growth, right. Well apparently this is the way my work went as well, because, when you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they'll tell you their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. And when you ask people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection."
the video is long-ish, but worth the watch. If the video doesn't load in your email, click here.
Another point about connection, from David Brooks' May 16 NYT column:
"In “Born to Be Good,” Dacher Keltner describes the work he and others are doing on the mechanisms of empathy and connection, involving things like smiles, blushes, laughter and touch. When friends laugh together, their laughs start out as separate vocalizations, but they merge and become intertwined sounds. It now seems as though laughter evolved millions of years ago, long before vowels and consonants, as a mechanism to build cooperation. It is one of the many tools in our inborn toolbox of collaboration. "
How amazing and fascinating are humans?!
[thanks to jana for the video and merav for the article]
Recently, I was asked what community means to me, and how I integrate myself into a community.
I spoke about Midrasha and Free the Children, my first real communities and about, how, I have been gifted this extraordinary skill to collect people, really strong, beautiful humans, wherever I go, and then, if/when I leave their physical space, I have the ability to keep them in my life.
That being said, when I will look back on this year, my second full year of living in DC, community is what I will remember. I have felt like I belong here, and that feeling is a direct result of these moments:
A Rosh Hashanah dinner for 30....
My apartment being filled to the brim with new and old friends...
Being supported through:
And stupid mistakes...
And silly adventures...
Having a surprise party thrown for a birthday falling just after a break up:
And friends from the west all transported within a few hours of each other to the east:
Knowing that, whether my heart is broken or swelling in love, people are there to prop me up when I physically cannot.
Being able to have a conversation with a friend just by a glance, being part of everyone rallying around a friend during addiction or abuse, or seeing a familiar face each time I step outside, this is what home is.
This year began with the loss of my grandmother. Such is life, but I would have given anything for life to have changed the rules in this one instance. Yet, how lucky I was when I came back to DC after the hardest goodbye, to find them:
There’s no way she would have let go if she hadn’t known I was in good hands.
So thank you, DC.
When I can’t be there
I am so glad to be here:
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