I spent this past weekend with someone very near and dear to me at what I can only describe as a summer camp for adults. And I want to share my learnings from this incredible experience.
For one of the activities, each of us was required to climb a 40-foot pole and walk across a tight rope. We held onto nothing but ropes spaced approximately 10 feet apart. And, no, overcoming any fear of heights was not the most incredible part of this event. There were four other people in our group- women who neither of us had ever met. The most incredible part was the degree of camaraderie between us and our investment in each other.
We cheered with such sincerity and hope as, one by one, we took that uncertain walk. As though we were watching our kid ride a bike for the first time. Nobody was here for competition, all we gave was support and encouragement. What mattered was our collective success.
My recent travels and this weekend experience have led me to reflect deeply on community. And the need to make our bonds real, tangible, and felt.
So often we become consumed with the “self” – our own wants, needs, and concerns – that our lives become a single player game. At best, we suffer from a bit more anxiety. At worst, we pit the world against us when times get hard, believing that our suffering is due to the neglect and wrong-doing of others. Trapping ourselves in a cycle of despair.
Though the rejection of community or connection is the worst thing we can do for ourselves, I admit my own tendency to do this. When things go wrong, it’s easier for me to be the victim and count the obstacles I’m up against. It keeps me from admitting any personal error.
But whatever fleeting comfort being alone gives me is nothing compared to the sense of love and security a community provides. When I recognize all those who support and accept me, when I admit my fears, faults, and flaws to them, I emerge from the hard times stronger. And, more importantly, I am better able to love and support them.
This week, I want you to build the bonds of your community in a real way. It doesn’t matter how old we are or whether we’re spending a weekend at camp or a getting through a tough day. We all need someone to cheer us on when we feel like we’re barely holding on, 40 feet above the ground. Verbalize your goals to someone else and ask them to do the same. And affirm that by working together, we are far greater than when we work alone.
Unconditional Love, Accountability, Community
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community