Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Power of Authentic Presence: Why Community Matters

by Elizabeth Venart

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its Being;
Otherwise, we all remain too frightened.
- It Felt Love – from The Gift: Translations of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinksy

Authentic connection – to ourselves and each other – is at the heart of resilience. From the first moment I imagined creating The Resiliency Center, community was always at the forefront of my mind. We are stronger together than any of us could be alone, and we crave opportunities to connect and feel understood, soft landing places during life’s difficult times and strong foundations for our risk-taking and growth.

Isolation can breed loneliness and depression, and wearing a mask in the company of others can be as isolating as sitting home alone. When we do not have places where we can show the myriad colors and sounds of our true self, we may fail to see the universality in our struggles. When we do not have places where we can show up authentically – and be accepted for who we are – then we can feel alone, isolated, and unhappy. We long to be seen and to connect. The growing addiction to social media actually reflects this need, yet it often fails to meet the need it highlights.

In a world increasingly oriented around virtual connection, some people feel more courageous in sharing their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and beliefs – and others feel shut out of the conversation or shut down in the midst of trying to engage. Behind a keyboard, we may feel brave to express some facet of our identities, but how fully are we able to share the vast range of our experiences as human beings?  And, if we are only sharing a small piece of our full experience through social media and yet social media has become a primary way in which people do connect with each other these days, how connected do we really feel?


There is a power in connecting with others face-to-face, in seeing and being seen, in sharing and listening and learning together. The Resiliency Center offers many opportunities to do just that - from meditation twice weekly to movement classes, spiritual poetry gatherings, groups for teens and new moms, and a monthly mindful knitting circle.  We look forward to seeing you - and connecting - soon.  

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