The Power of Community

A few weeks back, I deactivated my Facebook account. It was a practice for lent and a challenge to break my addiction to the social media devil and outside approval. I found myself attached to ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ and spent a good portion of my day checking the FB to see if I could get a boost of dopamine through my phone or computer screen. This Sunday, I logged back on after realizing that everything can be therapeutic or poison depending on how you use it.
The past few weeks away from the FB, I connected more to human beings, new friends and old buddies, than I have in a long time. It was wonderful and total bliss. Everyone I interacted with I either met face to face or through email or a phone call. This past week, my friend Melisa and I hosted a film crew who had their World Premier at SXSW. I met the director/producer of the film after telling my story about my parents on the American Pilgrims of the Camino FB page. She contacted me after sending my mom encouraging words, her film Walking the Camino and sweet messages along our journey. When she called to tell me that they had been asked to debut Phil’s Camino for SXSW, I immediately wanted to be part of it.
Yesterday, we had a sweet Pilgrim’s Brunch for the crew, Phil and Rebecca, and all the local Austin pilgrims. We were even fortunate enough to Have Pat Haggarty of Lavender Country, the first gay-themed album in history, perform acapella in my backyard!
And while Annie, Jessica, Todd, Karin, Doug and the rest of the Phil’s Camino crew were having their dreams come true, I was having mine. My dream of having an “Austin Albergue”, of people communing at my home to commune, eat, drink and be merry, came true and though it felt like everything was chaotic and scattered, it came together beautifully. I even told Annie that I could die now, that my life felt complete at that moment. The only thing that would have made it even more perfect, would be having my family of origin there with me as well.
This is my goal, to have more of these events, planned and unplanned, to have more connections away from the screen and my phone. To feed both strangers and people I love. I truly believe that revolutions can happen when people come together in the name of love and in the presence of food. We simply have to put aside our differences and find the common ground, which in the end is always love and kindness. We’re all in this together, I can’t say that enough. Hate, war, isolation, abuse, neglect has no place when you come from a place of love and compassion.
So for this, I’m infinitely grateful to FB, that it brought me to people that I would have maybe never have met, but I probably would have someway, somehow as that is how the universe works. And I believe I’ve healed my addiction to social media. My plan is to post and respond only, not peruse and stalk or procrastinate. We’ll see how it works out.
If you get a chance to watch Phil’s Camino and These C*cksucking Tears, both really beautiful and inspiring short documentary films during the festival, I highly recommend it. They are both powerful in their own right. One speaks to the power of following your dreams, perseverance and not allowing your circumstances to keep you from accomplishing what is in your heart. The other about singing your truth and not sneaking, as it ‘ruins your immortal soul’. Amazing stories, check them out for sure.

And now onto SXSW, the ultimate opportunity for connections to humans from all areas of the globe. Let’s do this!!

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