I had one of those kind of weekends that is incredibly life affirming and reminds you that all is right in the world. I celebrated my birthday, a friend’s birthday at a kirtan, and one of my favorite people and co-teacher’s got married on Sunday! Birthdays always prompt a certain level of self-examination and checking in with where you are in your life. I had been feeling disconnected and really wanting for some more intimate bonds in my life.
I believe New York is probably one of the loneliest cities in the world. We are millions so it is the kind of awful loneliness like you get when you are in a bad relationship. Never alone and yet never really seen, heard or witnessed to.
And that word-loneliness! It holds so much shame and humiliation and self-judgment! Who wants to say it out loud, let alone admit to another person that you might be feeling that way? So I pledged support and deepened intimacy to two people that I love a lot. It was a tender moment. Almost childlike. Not weird. Wonderful to just set that intention to provided and be provided for and see what happens.
We get into trouble when we don’t have deep bonds. It can be as damaging to our health as smoking or eating junk food everyday. Something happens to us when we are not nurtured.
"Community building is the most important action of the 21st century...We should learn to do things together, to share our ideas and deep aspirations in our hearts...We need each other in order to practice solidarity, freedom, and compassion so that we can remind each other there is always hope."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
If you are searching for deeper bonds, here is an excerpt that I wrote for a great online magazine called The Numinous. These are just a few ways to begin to build community for yourself and find your people. It can be the one of the biggest pillars of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I am using woman and she in this excerpt but please substitute yourself in. This is for PEOPLE of all genders.
The wise woman always begins any endeavor with grounding herself, strengthening her spirit and tapping into her intuition. You have everything you already need inside to find your new tried and trues or deepen existing relationships. These won’t be ordinary friendships. These will be inner circle-the faces at births, deaths, weddings, funerals, breakups, breakdowns, the highest highs, the lowest lows and everything in between.
The first place to start is with your current people. Who do you hang out with that leaves you feeling more alive and inspired? Who do you hang out with that leaves you tired and happy to be going home? Notice your energy around your friends and let it guide you. Of course we all go through things and won’t be upbeat all the time. This one note emotional style isn’t preferred if you want to be truly intimate and connect with someone. However, for the most part the vibe should be good and you should be able to be completely yourself. See who you resonate most with and give a little extra sugar to these ladies. Engage with them, care for them, check in with them. With all of this electronic communication, we are sorely lacking in intimacy. Call your sweethearts. They might be startled at first but they will be delighted.
I do not buy into the “women are catty” myth. Women want to be loved, supported and accepted. If they are being catty or competitive, it’s usually because they are insecure, anxious, or afraid. You don’t have to be a therapist but some women have been knocked around more than others and are wary. If you can feel their kind heart through the bravado, stick with them and see how good it gets when their ice melts a bit.
Look for women that can hold space for each other’s personal development. The unevolved woman is going to be fearful and say you’ve changed. The evolved woman is going to know you have just released another block to reveal more of your authentic self. She will always be curious about your process and the depths of your emotional life. She will ask you about your deepest desires and sit thoughtfully with your answers. Your combined fertile energy will be powerful fuel for both of your lives.
Create and practice ritual together. Cast spells of support, love, and understanding through spending time next to each other on your yoga mats. Sing your truths out and shine those heart chakras far and wide with kirtan. Meditate together. Honor the phases of the Moon with a circle. Cook together and feed each other. If you do energy work, heal each other. Spend time in nature appreciating Mother Earth-swimming in oceans, climbing mountains, and watching sunrises together. Sit in silence and allow the other to exist in complete acceptance with you.
Don’t keep your best girls a secret. If you have many special one on one friendships and are craving a coven, get these ladies together! Introduce your golden girls to each other in a supportive bonding environment. Cherry pick the group. Have a house party, get some snacks, make a signature cocktail and watch everyone fall in love.
As hostess (aka acting High Priestess of the Coven), devise a ritual to unite the group. At my last birthday party, I invited 16 women to come over and celebrate in my home. Some of them knew a couple of the others but they were all coming together for the first time. As we sipped Organic Pear & Vanilla Bean vodka cocktails, I asked everyone to write down their most outlandish wish for the New Year. I had some special “flash paper” that poofs and instantly disappears when you touch a match to it.
Have fun and leave a comment below to tell me how you build community!