Down by the River…..Progress…..or is it? Inventions to make our lives easier so we can fill up our time doing “more” of anything else? If anything has brought this to the surface it’s been the pandemic. Even for those who know how to find meaningful work, most have lost their true connections by working remotely, by cooking and eating alone, by not sharing moments with those closest to us. I am an extrovert but who relishes my alone time and until recently has felt the isolation not of my doing. The one saving grace is having Zoom and Facetime where we can interact with others. It’s helped me, but I am very concerned with those who do not have access.

Check on your elders and those you know who are languishing in their remoteness. Many have no family looking in on them. For myself, my tribe does reach out, but I still struggle and then shift gears. Music is my go-to for serenity and peace and dance is for joy! BE THE LIGHT!

The words below are poignant and have captured our current failings and given food for thought on how we can be better. Community. It begins with us.

I think it was Brene Brown who told a story about a village where all the women washed clothes together down by the river. When they all got washing machines, there was a sudden outbreak of depression and no one could figure out why.

It wasn’t the washing machines in and of themselves. It was the absence of time spent doing things together. It was the absence of community.

Friends, we’ve gotten so independent.

We’re “fine” we tell ourselves even when in reality we’re depressed, we’re overwhelmed, we’re lonely, and we’re hurting. “We’re fine, we’re just too busy right now” we say when days, weeks, months, and years go by without connecting with friends. I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine. It’s so easy to say even when it’s not true.

We’ve become so isolated and it’s hard to know how to get back. It’s so hard to know how to even begin to build the kind of relationships our hearts need. And I think In our current culture, it’s just not as organic as it once was. It’s more work now.

Because you know, we have our own washing machines. We don’t depend on each other to do laundry, or cook dinner, or raise babies anymore. We don’t really depend on each other for much of anything if we’re being honest.

In Brene Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness, she says that being lonely effects the length of our life expectancy similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. I don’t say that to freak anyone out, but to let you know that the longing for connection is LEGIT. I think we’ve treated friendship like a luxury for far too long; friendship isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

We don’t want it. We kind of need it.

Be independent. Be proud of it. But be an independent woman who realizes the value and the importance of opening the door to other good women.

You can do it alone, but you don’t have to. Islands are only fun for so long.

There is true magic when women come together and hold hands and share ideas and share stories and struggles and endless bowls of salsa. You use your gifts, and I’ll use mine, and then we’ll invite that girl over there who brings a completely different set of skills to the table we are building, and we’ll watch together as something miraculous unfold.

Author: Amy Weatherly
Art: Darcy Lee

I will never wash clothes again without thinking about my sisters in arms. Be the light for them! We’re easy to find since we are everywhere!

Down by the River
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