A dear friend of mine basically forced me out of my new house a few weeks ago to go to a party in Malibu on the sand. Sparklers. Amazing people. Waves crashing. I had about four hours of sleep from the massive moving day- highly extraordinary for a person like me whose brain melts without eight hours. I felt so fantastic and recharged, it was like I never even moved. While I have been in love with being home for a very long time, something in me “clicked” and I have been out, socializing, ever since. Every facet of my life has been rejuvenated in the process!
Today I was very lucky to see an idea mentor of mine. Big thinker. Big fact-gatherer. While when I heard the words “grestest innovation of mankind” spoken this double PhD from Yale- Sociologist and Cultural Anthropologist- friend of mine, I thought he was going to tell me about quantum particles and 3D printers and incredible computers and the like. In fact, this wildly brilliant man instead told me the story of the very beginning of time on this planet that we are aware of in history.
There was a clan culture back in the day of hominids (think: apes) , but in the shifting tides and melting ice and migrating that happened over time to populate more of the Northern Hemisphere, the Homo Sapiens (those who became us, today) evolved. What set the Homo Sapiens apart? How did they survive?
Well, that’s the greatest innovation of mankind for its survival: the ability to form community.
While you can read a bit more about my above poorly-told history of early modern man here, and in much more of Anthropology- the important innovation that secured survival was community.
In community, there was organization, inter-dependence, and connection to others. Leaning on others as they leaned on you. A sence that the whole had a greater chance for survival that the smaller parts.
Community and connection are our most primitve innovations and still one of the most important ways to thrive.
I looked at my friend and said, “Dude, this is a very big idea you have given me.”
“No,” he added in his nonchalant knows-everything voice, ” it is a fact.”
Of course, when I heard this FACT I thought about how lucky I am to have such amazing friends- and so many of you- as an ever-expanding community. I also realized in a little reflection that every time in life that I struggled, it was because I lacked a community that I could connect to in a meaningful way.
Finding your people is a big part of life. Cultivating community is a tremendously powerful force. In the world of Maslow and Self-Actualization (*you can read more about that here), without connection to a larger group and a sense of belonging you struggle to really express all of your abilities in a broader sense.
Social life is a big part of survival. I also learned in this awesome afternoon that demographers (those who study statistics in populations) often say that it matters less how smart you are and matters much more how connected you are. Of course, we translate this in modern life to say that ” It’s not what you know, its who you know.”
In a broad sense, a bunch of smarmy and insincere social climbers may spring to mind. This isn’t real connection in the sense we are speaking about. Forming bonds with people in sincerity is the kind of connection that is life-altering.
This works on many levels. While on the larger tier of “denting the universe”, it is a network of people who unite to make huge movements happen in society. Thinking of my mother with no “solid” job for decades and a huge social sphere, her survival depended in part on a social network of people who gave her opportunities to work.
Technology is not a substitute for live, in-person, community. Much of the innovation since the earliest man has served to make life much easier in many ways, but not without its drawbacks. Do you remember the pictures of black skies in your History textbooks talking about the pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution in America? Innovation has all sorts of variables. Looking down at a phone and texting while a real, live person sits across from you sharing a meal is where I see black skies forming around modern technology.
I saw an old boyfriend of mine who spend the entire two hours with me on his phone, sending emails. There is a time and a place for computers and all sorts of devices. I constantly ask myself if I am over-using them, or using them as an escape from intimacy.
(*Side note on this: its why TV’s are not good feng shui for bedrooms!)
Some people feel that social media has diluted social connection, while others have found soulmates on Internet dating sites. Community on blogs, sharing information, forging connections around the world with people, Skype, FaceTime… I love it all. But taking time to visit your local coffee shop, grocery store, shop the farmers market and see friends up close and personal are a very big deal that is well-work taking the time for!
How connected do you feel to your own community? Do you feel connected to the people around you? Have you lost your connection to groups and social spheres that fed your imagination, your desire to contribute? Can you expand your world to include more social activity that is enlightening, exciting, creative, supportive… and really fun?!
Re-connecting, finding new connection, getting inspired to be a part of life again in a new way— this is all extremely exhilarating! Moreover: it is essential to your survival!
Explore. See. Do. Create. Imagine more peace. Create bonds to things that make you feel excited. And… have a lot of fun!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!