Systems of care, systems of love
My phone reminded me that this time last year I was getting ready for a breathtaking trip to Mexico with what I thought would be a small group of friends. I ended up discovering an ever-growing, interconnected web of friendships, as strong and malleable as the roots of redwoods.
"I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world", says the poet Rilke.
And while I can't wait to travel and meet new friends, this week I have been reminded of the circles that don't reach wider, but deeper. Relationships that don't sparkle with excitement and novelty, but carry a velvet groundedness that speaks without words, a knowing. In our small Point People community, we recently witnessed so many big moments - a wedding, losses of loved ones, a celebration of a mother-to-be. It has been so touching and beautiful to see our group come together to architect care, again and again.
We operate in systems of care, and these are also systems of love. Love! We so rarely use this word in communities, and yet it is the biggest gift that community has to offer. A few weeks ago, I attended the most beautiful celebration for a dear friend and her future baby where all guests shared a blessing - heartfelt words, poems and songs spanning across many languages and traditions. For all of us, it was an honour to be invited to such a special (virtual) room filled only one feeling - love.
I'll leave you with a Celtic wisdom from poet John O'Donohue:
Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul.
I really loved this conversation between Ezra Klein and Alison Gopnik on care, child development and love.
I also discovered neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky through the Ezra Klein show and really enjoyed this episode which taught me a lot about anxiety. Sapolsky also mentions the importance of real (aka slowly emergent) social support as a tool to reduce anxiety.
Conversations communities around me are exploring at the moment:
How can we close the year meaningfully?
What are some of the best tools, rituals and practices for reflecting on the year and planning the year ahead?
"Is it me or I have very little energy to see people?"
What does the science of chaos teach us about serendipity?
As you saw in the last newsletter, I borrowed an idea from my lovely friend Mattan - a tiny list of thankyous.
So, today I want to say thanks to:
Gemma Milne for the wonderful catch-up and exciting me even more about the ethics of futurism - please share your learnings!
Aba, Daisy and Sarah for joining me in another great conversation about the future of the community role
My friend and colleague Kiran for a much-needed virtual coffee in a chaotic week
My beloved Point People for everything that you do
Georgie for organising a wonderful walk in central London - the lights were stunning!
Paulina for always bringing joy and craft into everything she does
Casper for the amazing virtual choirs
Justine for the thank you note that made me cry
I'll be slowing down over the holidays and I'll have more time for phone catch-ups! If you want to have a virtual coffee - give me a shout!