Loneliness is the plague of the 21st century. Despite having more tools for connection than we’ve ever had, we are more isolated than we have ever been. Our traditional communities are evaporating. The rapid changes in technologies and transportation means that local interactions don’t happen like they used to. In addition, we have moved away from the idea of a lifelong marriage and working at the same company for 30 years.

So where do we find community now?

Community takes on all kinds of different forms. From cross fit groups (no joke, there are more CrossFit gyms in the world than Starbucks in the US) knitting clubs, to book groups. When they are good, they are powerful and life affirming.

“Sense of community is a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together” McMillan, 1976

At Keystone, we ask people to be vulnerable to help find community.

Often people think that you can only be vulnerable when you are familiar with another. We think it works the other way around. By being open and actively listening to others being open, fast tracks a shared sense of humanity. Like all relationships, communities also require work. Communities are like gardens. They require care and feeding, and they are subject to constant change. New members of the tribe will join the community from elsewhere, bringing their differences. Modern-day tribes must be fluid, flexible, and have open boundaries. Communities that last are groups of people who keep coming together over what they care about. But what happens when you have to accept new people in a group though? For a start, we think you have to be exposed. Finding your tribe is great but being tribal and polarised is not. The attitude to cultivate and practice is one of approval. Start with yourself and then start to practice approving of others exactly the way they are. Instead of looking for others just like you, try looking at who is in front of you as the soul requires diversity.

Dr. Anne Davin explains this wonderfully,

“When you place your attention on others around you as a vulnerable observer, witnessing who is in front of you, rather than who you imagine is in front of you, you are pulled out of your loneliness and isolation into a present, intimate moment with another person, even if that person is a stranger to you. As a vulnerable observer, you can find new depth in your social landscape, and the possibility of remaking who you are at your core through observation and sharing yourself with others. The magic occurs when you allow yourself to be transformed by your encounter with another who isn’t “just like” you.”

We want to work with you.

Part of the strength of our community is being able to work with you. From the beginning, we co created the programme and some of our expert facilitators were also participants. With our new online journey, there are many unknowns and apprehensions but then I remember how much I love to help people realise their dreams and my anxiety turns to excitement. The Keystone programme is also another chance to meet more inspiring, talented women and keep the community growing and thriving. We all crave belonging and a sense of community. We are not meant to be alone. We deserve both solitude and connection; these are not opposites as much as they are rhythms of our soul and we look forward to getting to know yours.

Want to connect or comment? I would love to hear from you, please get in touch.

By Dani Trudeau

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