Letter from Co-Publishers
Kendra & Jacqueline, Co-publishers
December carries the joy of holiday festivities, traditions and rituals that call us into community, providing meaning and connection as we gather with others to reflect, celebrate and share. As I consider the year we are leaving behind, I find my own examples of community in gatherings with friends old and new, within an intentional small group, in a weekly class among fellow yogis…letting myself be seen, learning and changing, with the intention of providing the same freedom and space for others to explore and grow. Such benefits of community along with companionship, collective wisdom, grace and love offer a most liberating experience of life.
When asked by Parvati Magazine what community means, poet, spiritual adviser and author Mark Nepo said, “The word community derives from the Latin, commun, meaning 'common'. The same root informs the word communicate (to share our understanding, to have understanding in common) and communion (to share our experience, to have experience in common). It’s also not by chance that the word community contains unity. So, community is the history of how we help each other live. All things are connected. The art of community is discovering how. In this way, community becomes the art and science of understanding and engaging the life-force that moves through everything.”
Within our pages this December, you’ll find tips on simple giving, breathwork to help manage stress, healthy vegan treats, and evidence of community everywhere as we highlight leaders in their fields, a local high school’s efforts to care for those in need, a non-profit that inspires creativity through recycled goods, and Linda Sechrist’s uplifting feature, “The Emerging Power of ‘We’: Awakening to the Evolution of Community.” She offers thought-provoking insight that collective wisdom, collaborative change and the need to evolve from a culture of “me” to a culture of “we” may be the key to addressing the major challenges that confront humankind. We find community not just in the most intimate spaces of our lives, but as we join with others to build a better world.
Being a part of a community, whether it be among our extended family, close friends, within a spiritual body or working alongside those who share common ground or goals, allows us to experience safety, connection and belonging. In his book, The Body Keeps The Score, renowned trauma specialist Bessel van der Kolk suggests that, “Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart.”
As we approach the holidays this year, may we all take a deep collective breath, letting go of unrealistic expectations, allowing the heart to be part of our intentional gift-giving, opening to the possibility of creating new, perhaps simpler and more meaningful traditions and extending ourselves just a bit further to experience more deeply the loving relationships around us.
Together as the Natural Awakenings’ community, may we inspire one another to feel good, live simply and laugh more. With full hearts we wish you joy!
Kendra and Jacqueline