Whether it’s Covid, forest fires, extreme heat waves, hurricanes, flooding, pandemic unemployment, or increased polarization in our communities, the last few years have been difficult for us all. Most people have experienced some sort of loss, hopelessness, or grief during this time. Despite any other ideological differences we may have others, these are feelings that almost everyone around us has been experiencing to some degree. The antidote is simple but it is easy to forget when the world feels like it is falling apart around us.
Connection is the Antidote. There are many forms of connection. It can be a moment to slow down and connect with one’s own breath or a quiet space with one’s self. It can be time in nature connecting with the land, a waterfall, the clouds, a sunset, a starry sky, the sound of ocean waves, a babbling brook, the smell of a flower, or colorful leaves animated by the wind. It can be a shared moment with your pet or a rare glimpse of local wildlife. Maybe it is that feeling of awe that one gets from a great piece of music, an inspired painting, or beautiful poem. For many of us the best form of connection is with other humans, friends, children, elders, or family that we love.
Connection allows us to feel that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. It can give us a feeling of belonging or fill us with a sense of awe. It can make our individual struggles seem less overwhelming and give us glimpses of light in dark times.
How many times have we heard the words, “social distance” in the past 18 months? None of us should be even mildly surprised that our increased isolation due to the pandemic or natural disasters is influencing our social, emotional, and mental well-being.
There is a silver lining. Some positive things that we might gain from isolation are a sense of deepened compassion for ourselves and each other as well as a lot of inner strength and resilience. If absence makes the heart grow fonder then we will all have a profound appreciation and gratitude for the simple act of connecting with the people, places, and things that we love. Sometimes solitude and quiet time can allow us a more clear reflection into ourselves.
Whatever your experience has been, most of us can agree that we are living in extraordinary times and it can feel like an emotional roller coaster.
Together we can lift each other up and form support networks that will allow us to weather this and any other challenges we may face in the future. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day and October 10th is World Mental Health Day but we need to do more than dedicate a day to each of these important topics. We need to cultivate communities of care, support, and compassion that stretch 365 days per year. This needs to be a global movement that evolves and grows for decades to come.
Pledge for Life is a campaign that is dedicated to this cause. It is a simple act of friendship with those that we love. It begins with people to people networks. The ongoing campaign is supported through an easily shareable website, a mailing list that provides tips, tools, and resources for personal resilience along with practices to increase mental health. Everyone who joins the mailing list, shares the website with their friends, or adopts new self-care habits is directly and positively impacting their community. The short 1-minute video below tells how this campaign began.
I hereby promise to connect with a friend or family member if I am feeling helpless, isolated, afraid, or suicidal. I vow to also be there for them if they should ever need a friend when they are feeling hopeless and down.”
-Pledge for Life Website
Connect Universe is a global empowerment movement founded by Sam Beard that aims to inspire a more connected and conscious world. Using innovative and cross-platform media individuals have an opportunity to share their “Connect Moments”. These “Connect Moments” are transformational experiences and pivotal realizations that have altered the course of people’s lives to inspire them to become positive change-agents. This practice of presence and connection shifts our focus away from old stories of isolation, conflict, and polarization while reorienting us to collaborate on creating something better.
On September 21, our social media launch, we’ll show the world that our strength is COLLABORATION. By going beyond silos and egos, we’ll announce eight global partners. Each has the goal of impacting one billion lives — each in a different area with a different focus.” -Sam Beard Founder and President, CONNECT Universe.
Cultivating peace within will allow us to maintain inner balance and calm in the face of adversity. It will also allow us to respond consciously rather than react emotionally when challenges arise. That’s why the centerpiece for the September 10th to October 10th campaign is The International Day of Peace on September 21.
From Covid to Connection. Just as the global pandemic has shown us how a virus spreads we also find that inspiration, love, and compassion are contagious too. We are all interconnected and we are all part of the antidote in these changing times. You can be part of this good medicine by helping us share this article and related campaign materials online.
Both of these integrated campaigns are powered by Unify, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reminding people of our shared humanity so that we may create a more coherent global community. Unify will be sharing inspiring content on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags #PledgeforLife and #WSPD.
Science tells us that our climate is changing and that we may be seeing more extreme weather, flooding, heat waves, hurricanes, and forest fires as a result. We are also facing extreme polarization socially and politically. More than ever we will need to have inner peace, resilience, and a feeling of connection in order to face these challenges with confidence. Let this campaign be a starting point for the much needed healing in our personal lives, our communities, and our planet.