This weekend was the first after the end of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. I anticipated feeling a bittersweet (to borrow this term from my daughter) mix of relaxation and sadness (which I most definitely did to some degree), missing new friends, fun, and newfound skills. I instead found myself quite busy with a flurry of activities in and around town, and instead of feeling overly sad that our antics were over, I feeling a profound feeling of contentment in what transpired.
Our weekend started off on Friday with a fundraiser named "Internal Heroes, Hidden Pain." This was not just any fundraiser, but was educational, inspiring, awareness-raising, and absolutely amazing. Our new friends and neighbors are one tough family. This event opened eyes to the struggles of these wonderful people, personally, as well as gave so much information on the early intervention and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury, spinal cord injuries, and CRPS-RSD, i.e., Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, of which they have been living after a series of events and a traumatic car accident. The event was interspersed with music, music and more music. So many talented young students from The Music Makers, Main Street Singers, and family and close friends graced the stage. There was so much love and support in that auditorium that night! My eyes were not dry for much of the night, I admit.
I was not only enlightened as to these disorders, but I truly felt blessed that a community can come together as friends and as strangers to help, to connect, and to heal. I am a true believer that this is what a community does.
We live in a westernized world where individualism is touted as a strength, and we raise our children to go out, seek, and prosper on their own. Overall, we find it admirable when people can rise from ashes on their own, and create something of themselves, and be successful in some way. But we often forget that there are family and there are friends, and a thousand other aquaintances, inspirations, and muses that the person has had help them along their way. This is such an important point to always remember.
We, as human beings, are social creatures. We need each other, and it is quite alright to need one another. As much as each of us might think we should always be strong in difficult times, or even that we should keep things to ourselves, and not ask for help or just support in times of need, we should always remember that connectedness is what makes us human. To go against that is against our own nature. It's survival. It is what made us be able to be here today, and will help us be here tomorrow.
We also too often fear closeness. We may fear intimacy, or getting to know the "unknown." We may fear merely saying hello in a grocery store, or getting to know a neighbor. We may cringe at trying something new, or going to a new place. We like familiarity, and staying in our comfort zone. It's safe, right? Yet, meeting new people, learning of their happinesses and adversities (without judgement or pity per se) should not be scary. It's a real part of life. We may even make a new friend along the way, or we may have an "AHA!" moment which catapults us to a new level of thinking. Amazing things happen when you are open to new experiences and people. That is one of the beauties of life.
In my Health Coaching practice, I learned to call these important elements of relating our "primary foods." These are the things that nourish us first, before our nutrition and actual foods. These are our relationships, our families, our interconnectedness to things and beings outside ourselves. If these are not in balance, our "food" and other areas will never be. We can never truly be happy.
As a "returning bird" (a term I just coined for those like myself!) to this town, who did not think I would ever come back, nor probably even stay very long again, I feel proud and sentimental to be a part of this interconnected community. I love my neighbors. I love and feel privileged that I have family nearby. I love that a town can come together to support individuals, selflessly, and I hope to see this only grow over time for the sake of the next generations who call this fine place "Home."