I’ve never been accused of being a shrinking violet, a wall flower or someone who does not reach out in times of need. Yet, often I find that days will go by and I haven’t left the house or I have chosen not to speak about something that is causing me worry. Indeed, I have recently noticed that I have a tendency to isolate myself.
I think that I assumed that as we age, we have less need to be social. I have heard myself make this claim to those around me. It’s as if I was almost convincing myself, and them, that spending time alone is the preferred pursuit. I would usually be met with quiet agreement and then a description of their book club’s trip to Sardinia. Clearly, I am in the wrong book club!
To be honest, socialising has increasingly felt like it takes a lot of effort. What is more, when I am tired, overwhelmed, sad or apathetic, the thought of connecting falls off my radar. Yet, research tells us that, in all actuality, connection is exactly what we need. Connection and community help us feel a sense of belonging, boost our mood and even provide a bit of what Domyo Burke calls “positive peer pressure” or the inspiration and support to engage in healthy behaviours, such as going for a walk, sitting in meditation for the whole 20 minutes (!), or even simply washing your face.
I experienced this first hand when I got a text from a friend asking me to go for a walk. I knew that I needed to go for a walk; I knew that I needed to wash my face 😉, yet I tried to put her off. Thankfully, she is a good friend who refused to say no. She showed up to my door, two coffees in hand and a warm presence to lean on. It was just what the doctor ordered. It was also enough to inspire me to rejoin my Sunday Sangha, a gathering from the Mindfulness Association’s Wisdom course. And you know what? I feel connected, supported and much less alone.
So, if you need a nudge, a friend at your door with two cups of coffee, let me be it. The Mindfulness Association has a vibrant community of mindfulness practitioners. Some have bucket loads of experience, some are just at the beginning of their journey. However, we all have a place to belong to- together. Why not join us for some community meditation? Or if you are part of our membership and/or teacher membership, why not join us for our weekend gathering and one of our retreats? After all, it’s good for us!