At the beginning of April I set the intention to have a face-to-face interaction with each of my 24 neighbors. But as April turned into May I still hadn’t taken action on my challenge. Quite simply, I was scared. Not because I suspected by neighbors were incinerating bodies in the basement, but because I was afraid of violating the unspoken but very real norm of privacy, and the unmentioned, but very palpable code of silence that governed our community. In the face of engaging in a simple, but profoundly countercultural act, I completely froze.
In pursuit of connection, community, and a world built on belonging
Not all scholars agree that loneliness and social isolation are new or growing problems. It may be that loneliness is just an inevitable part of the human condition. So what do we really know about these phenomena? Are they actually on the rise, or is it all in our heads?
I often feel that community is something I have thought more about than almost anyone but have less of than almost everyone.
So in 2019 I decided to take on a series of challenges designed to help me break out of an individualistic, self-focused mindset, and walk my way back to community, connection, and relationship. I called it Project Reconnect.
What is it about our culture, habits, and daily lives that makes it so hard to feel connected, enmeshed in supportive community, and whole? These are the questions that I’m attempting to answer as I experiment, reflect, and write about what I’m learning.
Though this project began in a pre-pandemic world, it is remarkable how resonant it feels as we look to a post-Covid future.
And so, Project Reconnect continues—under circumstances that make experiencing deep connection feel more challenging and elusive than ever. Today my ambitions are humbler, my approach a bit gentler, and my starting point more vulnerable, more raw. Indeed, what felt like an urgent endeavor in 2019 feels like a burning fire of need in 2021—both personally and collectively.
So join me—let’s reconnect, and together create a world built on belonging.