The world, well before the pandemic, is facing an epidemic of loneliness and disconnection. 54% of Americans say no one knows them well; and 46% say they always feel alone. It is revealing that English has no words like the Zulu word Ubuntu (I am because we are) or the Filipino word kapwa (awakening to other as myself) or the Alaskan greeting Aang-Waan (hello, my other self), or the Sanskrit phrase 'Vasudev Kutumbhakam' (whole world is my family).
How can we help each other remember and re-member? Sanctuary of the Heart volunteer crew invites you to join our Welcoming Strangers Pod, and co-create our collective experiments towards deeper connection.
Technology has increased the quantity of our connections, but dramatically diluted the quality of our connections. Trust levels around the globe have been plummeting for decades now. Suicide-related inpatient visits are skyrocketing for children ages 1 to 17. One in four families is dealing with substance abuse, one in five with mental illness. Traditional levers of markets and media simply haven't been able to solve this problem -- because there is no quick fix. If it were as easy as exchanging email addresses and phone numbers, Facebooks of the world would've reconnected us by now. If it were as easy as creating a new narrative, we'd actually believe those bumper stickers that say, "Strangers are just friends we haven't met."
When we don't feel safe, our Autonomic Nervous System shifts from platforms of connection and social engagement to platforms of defense. Biologically, this involves two distinct neural systems: the Sympathetic system (fight or flight) and the Dorsal Vagal system (shutdown). Individual humans have bodies and the Japanese suggest that a culture does too; it is called a cultural soma. When a culture excels in disconnection, its collective body shift from platforms of connections to platforms of defense. The modern world is living in a cultural body that is based in a stress response. It has normalized fight/flight (stress) and shutdown (disassociation). --Natureza Gabriel Kram
Yet, our biology is wired to connect. We need each other. Science informs us that all our family trees are deeply connected via a "genetic isopoint". Like so many other species, we long to find safety in our nest and then release it to soar into the guidance of a collective "murmuration". How will we help each other shift from platforms of defense to platforms of connection?
In a way, all our pods lead with this inquiry of designing for noble friendships. And yet, this pod will feature various first-time experiments. We invite you to co-create with us!
HOW IT WILL WORK:
- Join the pod by completing the form below. Note: no contact information will be exchanged through our platform to preserve the safety of our shared space.
- To start, all podmates will create a profile with responses to five compelling questions about your practices for holding differences and cultivating serendipity. This will serve as your introduction to other "strangers" in the pod.
- You'll be invited to reflect on periodic prompts on a shared feed. And as the Pod starts, you'll be asked to identify "strangers" (via podmate profiles) you'd like to learn more about.
- Our technology will help create small "Pod Rooms" of 3-6 strangers with varied interactive formats ("speed meeting", 1-on-1 breakouts, etc.), to engage with each other with compassionate curiosity. Note: These gatherings do not constitute or substitute for, and should not be viewed as, the rendering of medical, psychological, emotional support or other professional services by any organization or individual.
- After each Pod Room, all participants will submit a reflection form about what they learned from welcoming a "stranger" -- which will be shared with everyone else in the Pod. That reflection will also enable you to join future Pod Room with a different set of strangers.
As Sister Marilyn Lacey shared in our orientation call, "Love does not insulate; love chooses to be with. Love does not coerce; it can only invite."
To join, simply fill out the form below and you'll be emailed the follow-up steps!
Sorry, registration for this pod isn't open at the moment. View Upcoming Pods